U.S. Department of State to Host University Summit

University presidents from across the country are convening in Washington D.C.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will co-host the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education January 5-6, 2006, in Washington, DC. The Secretaries will engage leaders of U.S. higher education in a renewed partnership to strengthen international education, emphasizing its importance to the national interest. Secretaries Rice and Spellings have called this Summit, organized by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to initiate a dialogue on the need for government to work collaboratively with the non-governmental sector on the future of U.S. higher education in a global arena.

"Through this Summit, Secretary Rice and Secretary Spellings and their respective Departments want to reach out to college and university presidents to reinforce a common interest in attracting foreign students and scholars to U.S. institutions," notes Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. "Of equal importance is seeking investment in educating globally competitive U.S. students to work in fields of international interest."

Summit attendees will represent the full richness and diversity of the higher education system in the United States, coming from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and will include leading public and private Ph.D. granting institutions, as well as community colleges, historically black institutions, Hispanic-serving institutions, religiously affiliated institutions, and women's colleges. Also invited are the principal presidential higher education associations and the heads of the federal science and humanities bodies.

Among other topics, the Summit will focus on how to attract foreign students and scholars to the United States, as well as how to encourage more American students to receive part of their education abroad. In addition, participants will discuss marketing of U.S. higher education programs abroad, reaching out to underserved populations, understanding visa and regulatory processes, cooperating to meet exchange priorities, and utilizing fully the international education resources of community colleges. The Summit will also draw attention to the key investments required to strengthen international higher education for Americans, including increasing access to study abroad, encouraging non-traditional study abroad locations, strengthening non-traditional language acquisition, developing coherent international strategies at U.S. universities and colleges, and engaging the public and private sectors in a shared national vision for the future.