President James Wright participated in a summit of higher education leaders cohosted by the U.S. Departments of State and Education on January 5 and 6. International education was the focus of the gathering, which brought together more than 100 college and university presidents representing a broad spectrum of the nation's higher education community.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings led the event, which took place in Washington, D.C. "Through this summit, Secretaries Rice and Spellings...want to reach out to college and university presidents to reinforce a common interest in attracting foreign students and scholars to U.S. institutions," said 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."
President George W. Bush opened the summit by announcing a plan to enhance the foreign language skills of American students. Under the National Security Language Initiative, Bush plans to request $114 million in the 2007 fiscal year. The Department of Defense would allocate $750 million from 2007 to 2011 for education in languages deemed "critical" to national security. Bush described the program as a "broad-gauged initiative that deals with the defense of the country, the diplomacy of the country, the intelligence to defend our country, and the education of our people."
Wright said he was pleased to be part of an effort involving the full spectrum of colleges and universities. "It was a privilege to participate in these discussions on a topic of national importance in higher education," he says. "The summit was an auspicious event, suggesting some real partnerships among universities, colleges, and the federal government in the work of strengthening our international programs and in recruiting international students. The Bush administration underlined the value of the summit by the presence of several cabinet officers at our meetings and by First Lady Laura Bush attending our Friday lunch."
"Our foreign study programs have consistently been a core component of the Dartmouth experience," says Wright. "We hope to continue to strengthen our off-campus programs and to work to recruit international students. We have historically recognized the need to engage the world beyond our campus, and that need has never been greater."
By LAUREL STAVIS
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Last Updated: 5/30/08