Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Zimdahl Galt’s Remarks at NAFSA Simon Award Ceremony

(As prepared for delivery)

Good evening and thank you, Dr. Brimmer, for that warm welcome and introduction.

It is a pleasure to join NAFSA during International Education Week to recognize American higher education institutions for their outstanding and innovative work in the field of international education.

First, I would like to acknowledge Martin Simon. Thank you for joining us this evening as we celebrate this year’s award recipients, and once again honor your father’s dedication to international education.

I’d also like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Brimmer for inviting us to participate in this ceremony. 

We at the U.S. Department of State recognize NAFSA as a leader in promoting the internationalization of higher education around the world.

We value our collaboration with NAFSA, based on our shared commitment to bringing educational opportunities to both American and international students whose lives will be forever enriched by their exchange experiences in classrooms and communities.

Thank you also to our colleague Lenore Garcia, a Fulbright alumna herself, for your longstanding cooperation with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

It is a pleasure to congratulate the leaders and representatives of the institutions honored tonight with NAFSA’s 2017 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization and Spotlight Awards.

This year’s awardees – Florida State University, Santa Monica College, the University of Iowa, the University of Pittsburgh, Spelman College, Texas Christian University, and the University of North Texas – showcase the strength and diversity of American higher education and exemplify the innovative nature of U.S. colleges and universities.

It is an honor to be here with you to celebrate your remarkable work in internationalizing your campuses.

Each year, International Education Week and the Simon Award ceremony provide us with an opportunity to reflect on how American colleges and universities advance our national interests, and support students – both international and American  – as they become the next generation of global leaders.

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.  We achieve this goal through exchange programs like the Fulbright Program, the Benjamin A. Gilman and Critical Language Scholarships, and our EducationUSA global advising network, as well as many other initiatives that build capacity and promote linkages among higher education institutions worldwide.

We rely on, and partner with, organizations like NAFSA and our colleagues in the U.S. higher education community – at institutions like those being honored here tonight – as we strive to make international educational experiences more accessible to students everywhere and increase opportunities for collaboration between higher education institutions in the United States and across the globe.

Yesterday we announced the release of the 2017 Open Doors Report on international student mobility. This annual study, which is sponsored and funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and executed in partnership with the Institute of International Education, helps us to track academic mobility between the United States and other countries  and serves as an important way to measure the internationalization of the field.

I am pleased to announce that once again this year we have seen increases in both the overall number of international students who chose to study in the United States and in the number of Americans who studied abroad.

According to this newest data, over 1,078,000 international students enrolled at U.S. institutions – an increase of more than 3 percent over the previous year. Similarly, more than 325,000 Americans studied abroad – representing an increase of nearly 4 percent.

We know that when American and international students have the opportunity to learn alongside – and from – each other, they transcend stereotypes, expand worldviews, and connect in ways that benefit us all.

As these students go on to become leaders in science and technology, business and commerce, the arts, civil society and government, they will become part of a network of international colleagues who are well positioned to collaborate in addressing the shared global challenges of the 21st century.

Economic opportunity, good governance, energy security, and global security can only be advanced by committed individuals, institutions, and nations working together to find solutions.

Again, I would like to thank NAFSA and acknowledge the tremendous successes of this year’s Simon Award winners.

We at the State Department look forward to continuing our work with you in support of international educational exchange and outreach to U.S. and international students and institutions.  Thank you.

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Speech Details


Jennifer Zimdahl Galt

Speech Location

NAFSA Simon Award Ceremony

Date given

Tuesday, November 14, 2017