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IIE Opening Minds Blog


For over 100 years, IIE has been at the forefront of international education. The Opening Minds blog is IIE’s take on how this field continues to change. Here the Institute’s leaders will explore international educational exchange, global student mobility, institutional partnerships, international development, and other topics and trends that are shaping higher education around the world.

    Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO, standing in front of an IIE logo wall.

    A World Transformed

    IIE continues to see concrete reasons to be optimistic about International Education. Allan Goodman shares his thoughts.

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    Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Risk, Uncertainty, and the Future of Global Education

    In 2020 we have seen a pandemic, the suspension of travel, and disruptions to education that were once unthinkable. But what has happened to opportunities for global learning? What is on the horizon for the field of study abroad? The Asia Institute Chairman and CEO Bradley A Feuling shares results of recent surveys on the future of international study abroad.

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    IIE Supports Global Outreach for World’s First Artificial Intelligence Focused University

    IIE acts as a partner for global recruitment and outreach for the first class of students at the innovative Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI). The university is the first graduate-level, research-based university dedicated solely to emerging technology in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing.

    Higher Education Initiative's Sara Ezzat Ali

    International Women's Month: USAID Programs at IIE

    The Institute of International Education (IIE) ends this month as we began, celebrating international women and the work we are privileged to do with them. We are honored to partner with the United States government to promote international women’s education and related opportunities. Through the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), IIE implements programs around the world that promote women’s access to education, research, and the workforce.

    The students on the study tour after the visit of the dairy unit.

    Innovation in Agroeconomy Grows More than Just Crops

    Edouard Tiendrebeogo, Agroeconomist, shares his year as an awardee of the IIE New Leaders Award for Mutual Understanding. He founded the Bagrépôle Food Cold Hub Project as a way for farmers to keep their vegetable products fresh until prices on the market are good enough for them to sell.

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    Study Abroad Stories Inspire a New Generation to Lead with Languages

    With language skills in urgent and rising demand among U.S. employers, the next generation of Americans is relying more than ever before on multilingualism, cultural competence, and other 21st century skills in order to succeed both personally and professionally in our increasingly interconnected and global society.

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    Embedded Programs as a Model for Increased Study Abroad Access

    Over the past several decades the landscape of education abroad has seen a shift. Although junior year abroad and lengthier semester exchange programs were once the norm, short-term, faculty-directed programs have quickly dominated the scene. IIE’s most recent Open Doors report indicates that of U.S. students who study abroad, 65% of them do so on a short-term program (summer or eight weeks or less).

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    SHERA Program Director Reflects on IIE Summit 2019 and Bi-national Research Partnership Development

    In February 2019, Prima Setiawan, Program Director for the Sustainable Higher Education Research Alliances (SHERA) attended the IIE Summit in New York and participated as an expert panelist. At the Summit, Prima provided expert insight in research collaboration and bi-national partnership development as a panelist in a session called Research Partnerships as Drivers of Innovation. Prima recently reflected on his experience at the Summit and shared key take-aways and lessons learned in this interview.

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    Dreams are Bigger than Challenges

    IIE announced it would provide grants to 59 Venezuelan students studying at U.S. colleges and universities to help them cover educational expenses. Due to Venezuela’s current political and economic instability, it has become increasingly difficult for Venezuelan students to pay for their education and remain enrolled in their degree programs.

    Kartini Day 2018

    SHERA Celebrates Women’s Contributions to Transportation Innovation

    In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the IIE-implemented Sustainable Higher Education Research Alliances (SHERA) program is proud to commemorate Kartini Day by reflecting on last year’s celebration, showcasing the role of women in shaping the science and technology (S&T) field in Indonesia, and organizing an event this year to highlight the important advances in Indonesia’s transportation sector and the role of women in leading these innovations.

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    Bridging the Divide: Create Harmony on Campus

    Today, it is more important than ever for higher education institutions to foster a safe and reassuring environment for international students – both for the benefit of developing a global and inclusive learning environment and to effectively model diversity and collaboration for tomorrow’s global citizens and workforce. Terra Dotta CEO Brandon Lee provides recommended best practices to create a more supportive and inclusive campus environment for international students.

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    Safer and More Inclusive Universities

    The president of Ethiopia, government officials, university representatives, and female students convened a forum in Addis Ababa to discuss the need to make Ethiopia's universities more welcoming and inclusive for women.

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    Education for a Better Future

    During a January visit to Ethiopia, Edith Cecil, IIE Senior Vice President, Government Programs; Susan Silveus, IIE Regional Director for the Middle East & Africa; and Ethiopia Abebe, Director, IIE Ethiopia had the honor of meeting with the President of Ethiopia, Her Excellency Sahle-Work Zewde, at the official palace in Addis Ababa to discuss IIE's work advancing educational opportunities for girls in Ethiopia and Liberia.

    Participate in the Story Corner at the IIE Summit

    Participate in the IIE Summit Story Corner

    How should the field of international education evolve in the next 50 years? Attendees of the IIE Summit are invited to participate in the Story Corner, available at the IIE booth in the main exhibition hall on February 18th and 19th.

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    Cultivating Global Stewards: Transforming Theory into Practice

    Study abroad is an excellent way to cultivate students as global citizens and help them engage with nuanced realities and questions. In this post, Dr. Carlise Wynne explores lessons learned from the University of North Georgia’s biannual, three-week student trip to Botswana and South Africa.

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    Letter from Bangkok

    As artificial intelligence transforms consumer markers, Allan Goodman imagines what education abroad could look like a decade from now.

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    New Kid on Campus: Make Way for the International Partnership Manager

    Clare Overmann, Director of Higher Education Initiatives at IIE, explores the emerging role of the international partnership manager at colleges and universities. As higher education institutions continue to realize how important this role is, the international education community needs to share experiences and good practices, provide trainings and workshops, and work together to clearly define this nascent role.

    IIE PEER, Students at University

    Join the Movement: Help Your University Build Inclusive Admission Practices

    Higher education institutions can play a key role in providing these desperately needed opportunities to help the most vulnerable youth continue their education. But what does it really mean when we say colleges and universities can play a key role in this endeavor? IIE PEER and AACRAO explored this and other questions during their Best Practices in Admitting Displaced ad Vulnerable Student Populations on U.S. Campuses workshop last month.

    Participants of the MacArthur Midwifery Program Leadership Event, October 2018

    Improving Maternal Health in Mexico

    Women in Latin America face disproportionately high odds of experiencing maternal health challenges. With support from the MacArthur Foundation, IIE's Latin America and the Caribbean office is leading the Midwifery Training Scholarship and Capacity Building Program to strengthen the midwifery model and to improve maternal health in the country.

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    International Education Week 2018

    International Education Week is November 12 – 16, 2018. Follow @IIEglobal and #IIECelebratesIEW2018 to learn more about our work to promote and to advance Access & Equity, Student Mobility, Higher Education in Emergencies, International Partnerships, and Scholars as Drivers of Innovation.

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    Connecting Countries by Leading Research: Lessons Learned from the Global Innovation Initiative

    The Global Innovation Initiative (GII), a four-year grant program enabling U.S. and UK researchers to work closely with their peers in Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia beginning in 2014, supported 37 multilateral research collaborations, 21 of which were UK-led. The resulting partnerships focused on pressing global challenges such as the environment, food security, health, and urban development. Read on to learn about best practices in research collaboration across borders.

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    Embracing the Future, Despite the Uncertainties

    Vivek Mansukhani, Head of IIE India, ponders the future of the world of work and the role that higher education will play in preparing young people for a rapidly changing economy.

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    Education Matters

    The world faces the greatest refugee crisis it has ever seen. According to the latest United Nations Refugee Agency Report, more than 68 million people have been forcibly displaced globally. Hear directly from professors and students about why it is essential that students impacted by the crisis have a chance to continue their studies.

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    A Man Called John

    Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, shares his thoughts on the life and times of the late Senator John McCain.

    University of Colorado Springs

    How to Make the Most of Community Partnerships in Your Own Backyard

    Just as colleges and universities are increasingly globally connected these days, so are many local organizations. For an institution looking to expand its global reach, looking to nearby organizations can yield some great results. Dr. Mandy Hansen, Director of Global Engagement and Senior International Officer at the University of Colorado, Colorado Spring (UCCS), shares some of the outcomes from productive partnerships her school developed within the local Colorado Springs community, and best practices that can be applied by schools more broadly.

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    How Are Housing Issues Impacting Internationalization in Europe?

    One of the most basic aspects of studying abroad, securing a place to live, can also be the most challenging. Familiarizing yourself with some of the potential risks and the options out there is a wise move before selecting housing for your stay. Read on to learn more about what to be aware of in the housing market landscape for international students studying in Europe.


    Disruption and How We Must Adapt

    Many sectors are changing rapidly in the face of technological innovations and social transformation, including higher education. Change does not always need to be feared and if leveraged the right way, could ultimately be a force of good, Dr. Allan Goodman writes in a new post on IIE's Opening Minds blog.

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    DCPS' Bold Innovation in Study Abroad

    The Washington, D.C., public school system made history when it was the first to adopt a system-wide effort to send 8th and 11th-grade students abroad through fully funded scholarships. More than 1,000 students have since gone abroad since the program launched in 2016 to great success.

    Evening sky in Kholesiwal, Chitwan, Nepal

    Creating Connections Through Fulbright in Nepal

    When Lily Clarke received a Fulbright grant to study in ethnomycology and community-managed forests in Nepal, she found that her education continued well beyond her field of study.

    Meet the Winners of the 2018 IIE Photo & Impact Story Contest!

    IIE is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 IIE Photo & Impact Story Contest! In March, we asked current and past participants of IIE-managed programs to submit their photos and impact stories that demonstrated power of international educational exchange.

    2017 Open Doors

    On the Matter of Charts - Charts Matter

    In recognition of the first ever International Chart Day, celebrated in the nation's capital on April 26, 2018, IIE team members walk the reader through IIE's history of data visualization and chart making. Learn about best practices in creating accurate, compelling and interpretable data visualizations.

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    Opening University Doors to Refugees

    Due to internationalization efforts in recent decades, colleges and universities are prepared to welcome globally mobile students to an unprecedented degree. They must capitalize on this capacity to assist the millions of displaced students whose educations have been disrupted in the refugee crisis, Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, writes in a new blog post. Providing access to postsecondary education for refugees and displaced people worldwide is key to helping them rebuild their lives and societies strained by war and conflict.

    AIEA Reception 2018

    Lessons from Fulbright: Internationalizing the Campus

    Fulbright programs can help internationalize campuses of all category and type, from community colleges to research universities. IIE's Senior Advisor to the Fulbright Scholar Program, Dr. Maria de los Angeles Crummett, shares lessons learned from a panel discussion at the 2018 AIEA conference.

    Students at Johns Hopkins University connect with students at the American University of Beirut through virtual exchange

    Transcending Borders with Virtual Exchange

    Virtual exchange makes connections between students in far-flung corners of the globe a reality, writes Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute. The Stevens Initiative connects students from the United States and Middle East.

    Samantha Martin CEO and founder of Via TRM

    Making the Right Choice with New Technology

    With the dizzying array of new technologies available, it can be a challenge to decide which fits best for your needs. Samantha Martin, CEO and founder of Via TRM, offers some suggestions on how to make technology work for you.

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    A Seat at the Table: Including Indigenous People in Biocultural Exchange

    Jeremy Coats, Foundation Programs lead, discusses the importance of including more indigenous people in biocultural exchange with Diana Hernández Hernández, an English teacher from Oaxaca, Mexico, who attended a Textile Arts conference in Peru through IIE's Indigenous Biocultural Exchange Fund (IBEX).

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    International Exchange: Not a Zero-Sum Game

    Peggy Blumenthal, Senior Counselor to the President at IIE shares her thoughts and discusses research findings on international student participation in U.S. higher education.

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    Shining a Light on Student Mobility in Brazil

    As higher education becomes more globally competitive, more countries are seeking to gain an edge by internationalizing their higher education sectors. In this blog, Chelsea Robles, a Research Specialist at IIE, explores this phenomenon specifically as it relates to Brazilian students, and shares findings from our recent study, Higher Education and Student Mobility: A Capacity Building Pilot Study in Brazil.

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    Lessons from IIE’s Latest IFP Alumni Tracking Study Report

    Since 2013, IIE has carried out a longitudinal tracking study that explores the personal and professional trajectories of IFP alumni. Andrea Brown Murga, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at IIE, shares her perspective on the subtle and complex ways a fellowship program like IFP can make a difference.

    IIE staff at NAFSA holding sign

    Five Ways to Work With Us

    Celebrate International Education Week with IIE! Today's theme is Work with IIE, and this post from our Chief of Institutional Development, Jonah Kokodyniak, details five ways to do just that. Read and share how IIE's global team of experts can help you harness the power of international education.

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    Jordanian Outreach to Scholars and Students Promises Hope in War-Torn Region

    Since 2002, IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund has assisted 726 scholars from 58 countries, 116 of whom have been placed in Jordanian institutions, including Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). In this post, IIE's CEO and President, Allan E. Goodman, shares reflections on SRF and the role that Jordan in particular has played in preserving scholarship and thus, a human foundation upon which Syria and other conflict ridden countries and territories can rebuild.

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    10 Great Reasons to Study Abroad

    IIE is a proud supporter of International Education Week, November 13-17, 2017. Share with students these 10 Great Reasons to Study Abroad, brought to you by Generation Study Abroad.

    Gilman Scholar Kristie Dinh

    Celebrate International Education Week with IIE!

    IIE is a proud supporter of International Education Week, November 13-17, 2017. Join the celebration by sharing the impact of international education exchanges in your life and the world.

    I am Generation Study Abroad

    Why I'll be at the IIE Summit this October

    Gretchen Cook-Anderson, from Generation Study Abroad commitment partner IES Abroad, shares why she'll for attending the IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad in Washington, DC.

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    Coming to America

    In a new blog, IIE's President and CEO, Dr. Allan Goodman shares his advice to incoming international students to U.S. universities.

    Araz Khajarian at her university

    World Refugee Day Spotlight: Araz Kharjarian

    From Damascus to Rhode Island: Salve Regina University rising senior Araz Khajarian shares how she managed to earn a scholarship that would bring her to safety.

    Image: Collete Agnese at NAFSA

    Meet IIE at NAFSA 2017

    IIE team members will be presenting during the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference & Expo in Los Angeles. Find out where IIE's booth is located (#1211), and which topics IIE team members will cover during the concurrent sessions and poster fair.

    HER graduating student presenting her group's poster on community impact of the HER program, July 2016

    Empowering the next generation of Ethiopian leaders

    In 2013, IIE launched the Higher Education Readiness (HER) pilot program for under-served girls in Ethiopia. Four years later, IIE's Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact has documented the profound effect the program has had on its participants.

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    Is Generation Study Abroad Making a Difference?

    We are seeing that through our collective impact, the Generation Study Abroad network is making steady progress to reach our goal of doubling study abroad by the end of the decade.

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    China's Role in International Education by the Numbers

    Chinese students account for a third--the largest proportion--of the more than one million international students on American campuses across the country. There are over 34,000 Chinese students in American high schools, and many others coming for summer camps and in “bridge” programs.

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    Experiential Learning and the UAE

    Experiential learning is an emerging trend in U.S. higher education, and I learned at the conference that our global peers throughout the world are also utilizing experiential learning in their educational programs to further the development of key sectors, academic fields, and professional skills.

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    Letter from Tbilisi

    Georgia's Minister of Education and Science, Aleksandre Jejelava, is embracing what I consider a more positive educational nationalism–-a drive to internationalize higher education institutions, faculty and student bodies.

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    Women Enhancing Technology: Three Years of Impact

    The WeTech program is a set of innovative activities that provides training and builds networks for girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) across the world. For the past three years, WeTech has opened up new life possibilities for young females, preparing them for and connecting them to STEM opportunities.

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    International Education and National Policymaking: How Does It Work?

    While the impact of international education on career and personal development is indisputable, evidence on the impact on the national public sphere, particularly in marginalized communities, has yet to be ascertained. How can international fellowship and scholarship programs influence policymaking?

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    Celebrating Tunisia's National Women's Day

    Each year on August 13th, Tunisians celebrate National Women’s Day. For many, it’s a day to acknowledge what they have achieved for women’s rights, while recognizing and continuing to fight the many challenges that still exist against gender equality.

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    Reflections on a Cuban Study Tour

    This summer, four American University graduate students traveled to Cuba to conduct an evaluation of IIE’s Cuba International Academic Partnership Program as part of a faculty-led group project. This collection of short observations highlights how each team member also grew personally from the experience.

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    Shimmer on a Cloudy Day: Reflections on IIE's HER Program

    The month of July is a rainy one for Ethiopia. For IIE and the graduates of the Higher Education Readiness program, however, the 28th of July stands out as a bright and remarkable day where we got together to celebrate 100 girls who successfully graduated from high school and the HER program.

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    IIE's Long-Term Commitment to Serving Refugees

    Since its inception, IIE has sought out ways to support students and scholars in need when their home countries were in times of war or internal discord. Today, the Scholar Rescue Fund is answering this call by encouraging universities to provide scholarships to qualified Syrian students and offering funding to host institutions that offer temporary positions for Syrian scholars.

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    Insights From the G7 International Higher Education Summit

    We had the opportunity to represent IIE and U.S. higher education at the G7 International Higher Education Summit last month in Tokyo. Through our roundtable dialogues, meetings, and presentations several key insights rose to the top as the current trends and challenges facing global academic mobility.

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    Empowering Voices and Contributing to HER Impact

    The report "HER Initiative to Lead Change: The Power of Education" shows how IIE is making a difference in Ethiopia, affecting the lives of the next generation of women and contributing to their academic and personal success.

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    Letter from Cape Town: Finding Shakespeare

    In my remarks at the British Council's "Going Global" Conference, I noted how ironic it was that the only surviving piece of paper that contains something written in Shakespeare's own hand is a scene about refugees.

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    Top 5 Ways IIE is Building Networks Across Africa

    Through programs like ACE for Women’s Leadership and Higher Education Readiness (HER), IIE harnesses the power of international education to address major challenges facing the world today.

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    We Are the Lucky Ones: A Partner’s Reflections on the IIE-SRF Forum

    On April 29th, I sat on the 12th floor of IIE’s New York Headquarters, humbled to be a part of the 2016 Scholar Rescue Fund Forum, "Scholar Voices and University Action." Surrounding me were highly accomplished individuals from education, human rights and government sectors, paired with persecuted scholars from all around the globe, each with a story to tell and a profound determination to make an impactful change.

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    Why the Refugee Crisis is so Unique

    Over the past two weeks, the Institute has been asked to make a series of presentations on how higher education can respond to the current refugee crisis. As has been true in the past, the Institute is seen as active on the front lines when there are higher education emergencies, where students and scholars need to be helped and rescued.

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    Catchers in the Rye: Education and Extremism

    Perhaps education has for too long been looked at as a panacea for the world's problems, however this role as “catchers” is one that we should rally around as central to our vocation as educators.

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    IIE Joins Girls CHARGE!

    This past September IIE joined the Clinton Foundation and the Brookings Institution’s Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education (Girls CHARGE)--a collaboration of over 50 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals and governments all committed to improving learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls globally.

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    Letter from New Hampshire

    The University of New Hampshire joined us as a Generation Study Abroad partner, aiming to increase from about 750 students currently studying abroad to 1,500. This is part of the UNH Global 2020 strategy aiming to make international learning and experience central to education.

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    The "Delivering Higher Education to Syrian Refugees" Workshop: A Rare Moment of Guarded Optimism

    It is widely recognized that without an educated generation of future leaders, the rebuilding of Syria will be impossible. Additionally, we know that as millions of Syrians settle – potentially permanently – in Europe, North America, and parts of the Middle East-North Africa region, education presents an important alternative to crime and radicalization. These realities have led to a substantial increase in international programming to support higher education opportunities for Syrian refugees.

    Keeping the Doors Open to International Students

    In a powerful commentary piece in Times Higher Education, Keeping the Doors Open to International Students, Rajika Bhandari, IIE’s Deputy VP for Research and evaluation, noted that “the release of this much-awaited annual data was tragically book-ended by the terrorist attacks in Paris and by statements from several governors in the U.S. declaring that they would close the doors of their states to Syrian refugees because one of the Paris attackers posed as a refugee.”

    Letter From San Bernardino

    On Friday Dr. Allan Goodman visited the Cal State University campus in San Bernardino (CSUSB. The university president, Dr. Tomas Morales, had invited Dr. Goodman to speak at a symposium that day on International Education. He and many others during the day expressed that what happened on Wednesday made the need for international education and exchange even more important. So far six of the school's Alumni have died as a result of the terrorism.

    Measuring the Impact of Our Important Work

    IIE has devoted the entire issue of the newly released IIENetworker to an exploration of impact and relevance. Articles look beyond what is happening and how toward a deeper exploration of whether international education matters and why.

    Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES): Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week

    Zina Ammar grew up in Gafsa, Tunisia, where she learned how to make the region’s famous Margoum carpets from the women in her family. Zina eventually started her own carpet-making business. Hoping to grow her business, Zina enrolled in Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Financial Education trainings at the Women's Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) Center for Women’s Business Development in her community.

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