There is a lot going on in New Hampshire these days.
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.
There is high student interest. In just three hours the study abroad fair I visited attracted over 500 students ready to sign up. The State Department sent a representative from the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, NH to man a desk distributing applications. Next to it was a desk manned by the school's Office of the Registrar, who said, "we want to make it easy to transfer credits and assure students when they go we will be ready when they come back."
Later that day, the Confucius Institute sponsored a community fair to celebrate Chinese New Year. It was equally well attended, along with several pandas. The kids were having fun.
The next day, in Manchester, the World Affairs Council hosted diplomats to observe what was going on.
And yes, there was the presidential primary campaign. I spoke at the same podium that most of the candidates had in previous months. Folks were clearly relieved when I said I was not announcing my campaign to run for president. But I did say that if I were that kind of president, I would appoint a cabinet minister to be in charge of international educational affairs and provide a passport to all college students in honor of Abraham Lincoln signing the Land-Grant College Act. I mentioned that this would really be a full employment act for the National Passport Center. So my platform is jobs and international education. And for a moment, it was tempting to think about making a run.
UNH sees its future as an international one. In a few days almost everybody who came to the state for the primary will be gone. A few will return in four years. Meanwhile, thousands of international students will remain, and more UNH students will visit their countries than ever before. In the race to provide education for life and work in the world today, this is a way that everyone can win.