(As prepared for delivery)
Thank you for joining us today.
The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is committed to building mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries around the world.
Today we are delighted to offer you an opportunity to hear from our colleagues at the Bureaus of Consular Affairs and Diplomatic Security about upcoming changes to consular safety and security information.
We know that this information is of the utmost importance to you as you plan exchange programs for your students.
We rely on – and partner with – you in the U.S. higher education community as we strive to make international educational experiences more accessible to students everywhere.
I appreciate this opportunity to tell you a bit about our initiatives in support of our shared goals around study abroad.
Whether you send or receive students or scholars on our flagship Fulbright Programs, educate students about opportunities through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, or support student participation in the Critical Language Scholarship program, you are a key partner of ours in making these exchanges a success, and in preparing American students with the skills they need to be successful in their careers.
In addition to supporting student exchanges, we at ECA also help institutions to build capacity through initiatives like our free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
ECA partnered with Arizona State University to develop this online course, which offers training to administrators and faculty seeking to establish or expand on best practices in building study abroad capacity.
We encourage you to visit studyabroadtoolbox.org [Study Abroad Toolbox DOT Org] to take advantage of this wonderful resource.
There you will also find a module on student health and safety, the topic of today’s talk.
You can also find information on this topic at our “one-stop-shop” website at studyabroad.state.gov.
I also want to mention our Capacity Building Grants Program. Through these grants, USA Study Abroad has funded nearly 150 programs in the United States and overseas to strengthen institutions of higher education, creating more robust study abroad opportunities for American students.
We will let you know about these grant opportunities as soon as they again become available.
When students experience the world and build international understanding, we create a safer and more prosperous world.
We want to encourage students to study in diverse places as they build this understanding.
This involves providing them with the most accurate and comprehensive information possible, to make the most informed decision possible.
Working with the State Department’s Bureaus of Consular Affairs and Diplomatic Security, we have organized today’s webinar for the U.S. higher education community, specifically the study abroad community, to preview upcoming changes to consular safety and security information.
We thank you for joining this virtual session and look forward to our continuing partnership in supporting student exchanges.