"When they [pandemics] end, international education is among the first activities to resume. It always grows. It always grows substantially, and I expect that the same thing will happen when we declare this virus conquered.”
Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO, Institute of International Education (IIE)
On Tuesday, November 17, as International Education Week 2020 commenced, International Student House of Washington, DC was honored to host our inaugural education symposium, The Prospectus on the Economics of International Educational Exchange in Times of Global Challenge. Welcoming our distinguished speakers and guests was Kalika Likhi, Associate at Invest India and International Student House alumna.
Following the publication of the Institute of International Education (IIE) and U.S. Department of State’s Open Doors Report, the House had the privilege of welcoming Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, to open our first conversation on the state of international educational exchange. Joining Dr. Goodman was Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of Meridian International Center. Dr. Goodman and Ambassador Holliday shared their insight as leaders in the field of exchange, Dr. Goodman noting that this is the 12th pandemic in the long history of IIE, and after each one, international educational exchange has grown. Ambassador Holliday concurred that exchange will indeed re-emerge, however, he also emphasized the importance of using this time of compromised travel to identify how we can better communicate the importance of exchange on the economy and society at large, not just those directly engaged in the field.
Ambassador Holliday shared, “There is a huge economic benefit to the U.S. in having international students come, but there is a large swath of the American public that still doesn’t quite make the correlation between these programs and their well-being and I thinks it’s incumbent upon us to look and reflect during this pandemic period on how we can do a better job on communicating that.”
Following their considered remarks, they engaged in conversation moderated by Tonija Hope Navas, Director of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University. Ms. Navas also shared about her work in expanding exchange opportunities to Howard students and the University’s plans for the future of international programs.
Our second panel on the economic implications of exchange brought together experts spanning sectors, including the tourism industry, U.S. visas and immigration, the business community, and Canadian higher education institutions.
The panel featured Scott Wayne, President of SW Associates, LLC, and former head of the North America office of the World Travel and Tourism Council, as well as former Chief of Communications at the UN World Tourism Organization; Jeff Gorsky, Senior Counsel, Berry Appleman &Leiden LLP and former Chief of the Legal Advisory Opinion section of the Visa Office in the Department of State; Miriam Feldblum, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration; and Denise Amyot, President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada. Each panelist brought unique information to the conversation, highlighting the restrictive nature of current visa policies and travel restrictions, the economic power of youth and students who participate in the travel industry, and the importance of educational exchange to our neighbors in Canada.
Lorraine Riffle Hawley, Senior Director of International Government Relations at Archer Daniels Midland Company and International Student House Board member, moderated the conversation and spoke about how influential her own student exchange experience was on her career.
We were immensely privileged to conclude the symposium by honoring Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY 17) and Stephen Lowey with our International Education Advocates Award for their decades of work to ensure a successful future for international relations and robust international educational exchange. Stephen Lowey noted the importance of his time in France as a college freshman participating in the Experiment in International Living in 1952. He shared about the life-long friendships that came from his experience, and how he then served as a trustee of the Experiment, a part of World Learning, for 35 years. Congresswoman Lowey shared about her experience actively working on the Hill to ensure education and exchange opportunities are accessible and funding is available.
International Student House Executive Director Daniel Bremer-Wirtig formally closed the symposium by once again thanking our sponsors, distinguished speakers, and guests. He also emphasized the significance of support by our sponsors, alumni, and friends, who generosity allow us to fulfill our mission. It is not too late to support the Symposium and international educational education exchange. We invite you to show your commitment to this critical mission and we welcome your continued support by making a donation today.
Thank you again for joining us and we look forward to welcoming you back to the House.