November 16 marks the start of International Education Week (IEW) 2020. IEW is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, which provides an opportunity to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences. This celebration highlights the benefits of international education through the stories and experiences of alumni and institutions who participated in international exchange programs.
Receiving international students from diverse backgrounds at U.S. institutions and encouraging U.S. students to study abroad strengthens ties between the United States and countries around the world. Exchanges also develop the relationships between people and communities that are necessary to solve global challenges.
Through exchange programs, all students involved share their culture, gain a new perspective through engaging with their peers, and develop cultural understanding. The State Department sponsors numerous scholarships to help eliminate any financial barriers students may have so that they are able to develop these important skills in an increasingly connected world. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is one of these programs, providing scholarships to enable American undergraduate students of limited financial means to take advantage of a study abroad experience.
The theme for IEW 2020 is “engage, resilient, and global.” As a global community, we are experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. However, the State Department remains engaged with our global community, resilient and committed to working with U.S. and international institutions globally. Despite the challenges, the State Department will continue its efforts to promote international exchanges – safely and securely – to enhance our national security and promote economic growth.
IEW 2020 will begin with the release of the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (2020 Open Doors) on November 16, which will provide statistics and insight into the number of international students studying in the United States and the number of American students studying abroad. The State Department will join the Institute of International Education (IIE), which implements the report, for a public release of this data at a virtual event on the morning of November 16.
Following the release of 2020 Open Doors, U.S. academic institutions will have the opportunity to showcase the stories and experiences of international exchange alumni as well as how they have benefited from international students studying at their institution. These exclusively virtual events will serve as a way to promote the mission of academic exchanges.
On November 17-19 at 11 a.m. EST, you can also join the State Department for the Inside IEW mini-series from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Facebook account. This IEW mini-series will feature alumni from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, the Fulbright Program and The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program.
Finally, you can share with us on social media how you plan to celebrate international education week using the hashtag #IEW2020.
About the author: Austin Clark serves as a virtual intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.