Office of the Press Secretary
(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
For Immediate Release April 19, 2000
April 19, 2000
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: International Education Policy
To continue to compete successfully in the global economy and to
maintain our role as a world leader, the United States needs to ensure
that its citizens develop a broad understanding of the world,
proficiency in other languages, and knowledge of other cultures.
America's leadership also depends on building ties with those who will
guide the political, cultural, and economic development of their
countries in the future. A coherent and coordinated international
education strategy will help us meet the twin challenges of preparing
our citizens for a global environment while continuing to attract and
educate future leaders from abroad.
Since World War II, the Federal Government, in partnership with
institutions of higher education and other educational organizations,
has sponsored programs to help Americans gain the international
experience and skills they will need to meet the challenges of an
increasingly interdependent world. During this same period, our
colleges and universities have developed an educational system whose
reputation attracts students from all over the world. But our work is
not done. Today, the defense of U.S. interests, the effective
management of global issues, and even an understanding of our Nation's
diversity require ever-greater contact with, and understanding of,
people and cultures beyond our borders.
We are fortunate to count among our staunchest friends abroad those who
have experienced our country and our values through in-depth exposure as
students and scholars. The nearly 500,000 international students now
studying in the United States at the postsecondary level not only
contribute some $9 billion annually to our economy, but also enrich our
communities with their cultures, while developing a lifelong
appreciation for ours. The goodwill these students bear for our country
will in the future constitute one of our greatest foreign policy assets.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to support international
education. We are committed to:
encouraging students from other countries to study in the
promoting study abroad by U.S. students;
supporting the exchange of teachers, scholars, and citizens at
all levels of society;
enhancing programs at U.S. institutions that build
international partnerships and expertise;
expanding high-quality foreign language learning and in-depth
knowledge of other cultures by Americans;
preparing and supporting teachers in their efforts to
interpret other countries and cultures for their students; and
advancing new technologies that aid the spread of knowledge
throughout the world.
The Federal Government cannot accomplish these goals alone. Educational
institutions, State and local governments, non-governmental
organizations, and the business community all must contribute to this
effort. Together, we must increase and broaden our commitment.
Therefore, I direct the heads of executive departments and agencies,
working in partnership with the private sector, to take the following
The Secretaries of State and Education shall support the efforts of
schools and colleges to improve access to high-quality international
educational experiences by increasing the number and diversity of
students who study and intern abroad, encouraging students and
institutions to choose nontraditional study-abroad locations, and
helping under-represented U.S. institutions offer and promote
study-abroad opportunities for their students.
The Secretaries of State and Education, in partnership with other
governmental and nongovernmental organizations, shall identify steps to
attract qualified post-secondary students from overseas to the United
States, including improving the availability of accurate information
overseas about U.S. educational opportunities.
The heads of agencies, including the Secretaries of State and
Education, and others as appropriate, shall review the effect of U.S.
Government actions on the international flow of students and scholars as
well as on citizen and professional exchanges, and take steps to address
unnecessary obstacles, including those involving visa and tax
regulations, procedures, and policies.
The Secretaries of State and Education shall support the efforts of
State and local governments and educational insti-tutions to promote
international awareness and skills in the classroom and on campuses.
Such efforts include strengthening foreign language learning at all
levels, including efforts to achieve bi-literacy, helping teachers
acquire the skills needed to understand and interpret other countries
and cultures for their students, increasing opportunities for the
exchange of faculty, administrators, and students, and assisting
educational institutions in other countries to strengthen their teaching
The Secretaries of State and Education and the heads of other
agencies shall take steps to ensure that international educational
exchange programs, including the Fulbright program, are coordinated
through the Interagency Working Group on United States
Government-Sponsored International Exchange and Training, to maximize
existing resources in a nonduplicative way, and to ensure that the
exchange programs receive the support they need to fulfill their mission
of increased mutual understanding.
The Secretary of Education, in cooperation with other agencies,
shall continue to support efforts to improve U.S. education by
developing comparative information, including benchmarks, on educational
performance and practices. The Secretary of Education shall also share
U.S. educational expertise with other countries.
The Secretaries of State and Education shall strengthen and expand
models of international exchange that build lasting cross-national
partnerships among educational institutions with common interests and
The Secretary of Education and the heads of other agencies, in
partnership with State governments, academic institutions, and the
business community, shall strengthen programs that build international
expertise in U.S. institutions, with the goal of making international
education an integral component of U.S. undergraduate education and,
through graduate and professional training and research, enhancing the
Nation's capacity to produce the international and foreign-language
expertise necessary for U.S. global leadership and security.
The Secretaries of State and Education, in cooperation with other
agencies, the academic community, and the private sector, shall promote
wise use of technology internationally, examining the implications of
borderless education. The heads of agencies shall take steps to ensure
that the opportunities for using technology to expand international
education do not result in a widening of the digital divide.
The Secretaries of State and Education, in conjunction with other
agencies, shall ensure that actions taken in response to this memorandum
are fully integrated into the Government Performance and Results Act
(GPRA) framework by means of specific goals, milestones, and measurable
results, which shall be included in all GPRA reporting activities,
including strategic plans, performance plans, and program performance
Items 1-10 of this memorandum shall be conducted subject to the
availability of appropriations, consistent with the agencies' priorities
and my budget, and to the extent permitted by law.
The Vice President shall coordinate the U.S. Government's international
education strategy. Further, I direct that the heads of agencies report
to the Vice President and to me on their progress in carrying out the
terms of this memorandum.
This memorandum is a statement of general policy and does not confer a
private right of action on any individual or group.