Posts Tagged ‘Education’


Education Trade Mission Builds Ties Between United States and Central Europe

April 13, 2012

Adam Wilczewski is Chief of Staff at the International Trade Administration.

This week 12 regionally accredited U.S. academic institutions will take part in the first-of-its-kind education trade mission to Poland and the Czech Republic. The trade mission, which I will have the opportunity to lead, is part of a larger effort to increase the number of foreign students studying in the United States.

According to Times Higher Education, the United States is home to more than 4,000 accredited higher education institutions, and 14 of the top 20 universities in the world. Furthermore, the Institute of International Education reports there are more international students (in excess of 723,000) studying at U.S. institutions than anywhere else in the world.

University sign in autumn

(Photo iStock/Steve Shepard)

U.S. colleges and universities, such as those on this mission, place a prime importance on keeping their campuses internationally diverse, so that students can gain the most rewarding educational experience possible. And recent developments show that there is both great interest and opportunities for U.S. colleges and universities to recruit students from both Poland and the Czech Republic.

With the passage of new legislation last October, Poland is streamlining the education process—thereby raising educational standards that may further increase interest in study abroad programs such as those in the United States. Poland also has a high concentration of young students with keen interest in higher education. The country’s population of 38 million includes more than 5.5 million young people from 15 to 24 years of age, including 1.9 million students. Moreover, Polish students have a strong affinity toward the United States, and English is the first choice for a second language by almost all high school and university students.

Similarly, the number of Czech students with outstanding English language skills continues to outpace many of their neighbors in the region, improving the ability of Czech students to study at U.S. universities and colleges. And current exchange rates and the visa waiver program are making U.S. educational opportunities an increasingly attractive alternative.

Recognizing these trends points to the eagerness of the educational institutions from across the country to join me on this trade mission.

During the trade mission, our delegation will participate in student recruitment fairs in Prague and Warsaw to connect with students from European universities, secondary schools, and businesses. Trade professionals from the U.S. Department of Commerce based abroad will also be on hand to facilitate networking opportunities and meetings between our delegation and prominent Czech and Polish universities.

We look forward to visiting Warsaw and Prague, and with this, the goal of opening new doors of opportunity and cultural understanding for the next generation. By furthering the avenues to higher learning, we are also supporting economic growth both at home and abroad – and that is something to write home about.


Ideas for Prosperity: A Conference about Education and Cooperation in the Americas

March 22, 2012

Andrew Theodotou is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. Andrew is a sophomore at Georgetown University.

“People are our most valuable assets,” Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez pointed this out in his remarks to more than five hundred senior government officials, private sector leaders, university representatives, and students gathered at Georgetown University. The conference, held March 12-13, was officially titled “Making Latin America and the Caribbean a More Equitable Society: Education, Economic Growth, and Corporate Social Responsibility”.

The focus of the event was to facilitate a high-level dialogue on the importance of education as an economic driver for competitiveness.  The event attracted representatives from more than fifty universities throughout the hemisphere, many represented at the dean or university president level.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez speaks at Georgetown University during the Making Latin America and the Caribbean a More Equitable Society: Education, Economic Growth, and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez speaks at Georgetown University during the Making Latin America and the Caribbean a More Equitable Society: Education, Economic Growth, and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference

Each of the addresses, dialogues, and roundtable discussions specifically highlighted the need to cultivate human capital in the Americas. They encouraged cooperation between the public and private sector throughout the hemisphere to achieve this goal and stressed the benefits afforded to all parties involved.

Participants discussed new ways to foster social and economic development in the Western Hemisphere as well as initiatives that have already been put into place towards this end.

In 2010, President Obama launched the “Change the Equation Initiative”, a CEO-led effort to bolster education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Knowledge of these subjects has been identified as a key asset in today’s workforce and a powerful driver of economic growth. Many of our neighbors in the Americas have initiated similar efforts, such as El Salvador’s “Supérate”, a program sponsored by Microsoft which offers after school training in computer science and English language training.   Such programs demonstrate the increasing role that the private sector plays in improving our education systems and overall economic competitiveness.

A key focus of this event was President Obama’s 100K Strong Initiative, which seeks to increase the number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to 100,000 while attracting the same amount from the LAC region to study in the United States.  By increasing the number of foreign students studying in U.S. universities, this will create an increase in service exports for the United States and ultimately help stimulate domestic growth and job creation.  In addition, the event strongly focused upon forging new linkages across the hemisphere as a means of sharing best practices and identifying new ways to share research and collaborate.

Programs like these are motivated by the idea that weak education systems are a major barrier to socio-economic development, even in the United States. They are also built on recognition that cooperation is essential in the solution to this problem. If governments can work with businesses to promote workforce development, then a whole economy can grow. If businesses can play a role in teaching their workers today’s essential skills, they can create jobs. And finally, if students can collaborate with their peers in other countries, they will build a mutual understanding and facilitate positive trade relationships in the future.

The conference at Georgetown University aimed to advance these relationships, with hopes that they will fuel competitive economies and lead to a higher standard of living and greater social equality.


International Education 101: Upcoming Education Mission to India

October 7, 2011

Carrie Bevis is an intern in the International Trade Administration’sOffice of Public Affairs. She is a second-year student at the University of Virginia.

As a student attending a university with nearly 2,000 international students from more than 140 different countries, I know firsthand how much their experiences add to the richness of my education. As an intern in the International Trade Administration (ITA), I realize how crucial international education is as one of America’s leading service exports. In fact, international education is our fifth-largest service export, bringing in more than $17.8 billion each year from tuition and student living expenses (not including the number of students attending private universities, short-term training, and the like).

Therefore, the Department of Commerce is zeroing in on India for its next education mission October 10-15. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Promotion and Director General for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (CS) Suresh Kumar will lead the delegation of representatives of 21 U.S. graduate schools and four-year undergraduate schools to learn more about the market and to recruit bright, promising students. The education mission will stopover in New Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai where delegates will participate in student fairs to recruit students and develop relationships between U.S. institution and Indian consultants and institutions.  According to an Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchangein2010, nearly 105,000 international students from India studied in the U.S. last year. The majority attended graduate school programs, but the department expects a greater influx into U.S. undergrad programs in the coming years as well.

India’s enormous youth population is beginning to exceed the capacity of its current higher education system. Yet, higher education is a top priority within Indian homes. Accordingly, the Government of India expects its higher-education student population to nearly triple to 40 million students by 2020. Therefore, many Indian families are sending their children out of the country to finish their education, and their top choice is the United States.

U.S. institutions value diversity and varying prospective and insight from students around the world. On behalf of the ITA, I’d like to welcome international students to American universities. You’re in for the academic and personal learning experience of your life!




College Teachers Return to School to Learn about Exporting

September 9, 2011

by Doug Barry, a senior international trade specialist in the Trade Information Center.

A Basic Guide to Exporting is proving to be an indispensible tool in teaching tomorrow’s business leaders how to expand into overseas markets. The importance of its role as a textbook was clear earlier this summer at the International Business Institute for Community College Faculty held on June 6–9, 2011, at the International Business Center at Michigan State University–Lansing.

RELATED: Just One Place to Go to Learn about Exporting

The Department of Commerce’s Trade Information Center (TIC) presented one of the institute’s keynote sessions, which focused on business ideas, product innovation, and global sales. Business instructors from community colleges who participated in the TIC session received copies of the book. The faculty members received instruction on how to use A Basic Guide to Exporting and related online teaching tools in both new and existing business courses. The TIC’s participation in the institute was part of the federal government’s outreach efforts under the National Export Initiative (NEI). NEI, announced by President Barack Obama in January 2010, calls for doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and supporting millions of jobs.

Forty-five percent of all U.S. college students are enrolled in community colleges, and the Obama administration recently announced a program to prepare more students for jobs in the manufacturing sector. The relationship between preparing more students for jobs in the manufacturing sector and increasing exports seems clear: the more products the United States makes and sells to buyers in other countries, the more jobs will be generated. Perhaps what is new is the central role to be played by community colleges.

Participants in the faculty institute, which is funded by a Department of Education grant, admitted that they knew little about international trade or exporting when they first arrived. But by the end of the week, they were buzzing with new teaching ideas. This enthusiasm could be transferred to as many as 8,000 students during the next academic year. Several of the instructors said they would immediately add an export plan writing module to their existing business-planning unit. Others said they would use the numerous case studies in A Basic Guide to Exporting to demonstrate how a small company with a good business idea, product, or service can make it big in the global market. Still others said they were astonished by the range and value of assistance available from the federal government and particularly liked what the U.S. government’s export portal,, has to offer.


Leading the Way for Global Higher Education

March 31, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Today we depart for Jakarta, Indonesia for the first leg of the largest Commerce-led education trade mission ever. I am excited for this mission as we are bringing 56 colleges and universities to explore the opportunities to recruit international students to study in the U.S. as well as possibly setting up partnership and student and faculty exchanges.

I was excited to host my very first Twitter chat earlier today and I was happy to answer questions such as, how are foreign students studying in the U.S. an export and why were Vietnam and Indonesia targeted for this mission. To each, I answered that when foreign students come to study in the United States, their tuition and fees, as well as their living expenses help support the local economy in addition to the national economy. Education services ranks among the top 10 U.S. service exports, right between environmental services and safety and security. These two countries place a high value on higher education and have tremendous potential for sending students to the United States.  And, in Indonesia, boosting the number of Indonesian students studying in the United States is a top priority of the U.S. Embassy.

Building ties with international students not only helps our American students gain a greater level of international understanding—a critical skill for success in the 21st century global economy—but familiarizes future global leaders with the American people and U.S. society.