academic exchange

Since its creation in the summer of 1946, the Fulbright program has become the “flagship international educational exchange program” of the US government. Over the past 67 years, almost 320,000 students, scholars and teachers have traveled internationally as part of the program’s vast effort to improve mutual understanding between nations. Understandably, given the profound effect these experiences have had on the lives of grant recipients, the Fulbright is often seen as among the most liberal, generous, and benevolent international programs of the US state.

In a Senate confirmation hearing this afternoon (July 30), Evan Ryan, President Obama’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), said that exchanges “capitalize on American strengths and appeals,” and that ECA is “the lifeblood of public diplomacy." Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ryan underlined the powerful role people-to-people exchanges play in advancing U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy goals.

In recent years a considerable amount of policy energy has been focused on ensuring the vitality and relevance of the U.S.-Japan security alliance. Now, with Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks (TTP), attention has refocused on the economic aspect. Somewhat less consideration has been paid to the fundamental foundation of the relationship: people-to-people exchange. Total human flow from Japan to the U.S. has declined significantly over the last 15 years, and while the numbers of U.S. arrivals to Japan have grown, they remain low.

Colombia doesn’t have a space program, but as of Friday, it does have an elite aerospace engineering team. RoboCol, a group of 15 assorted engineering students and two designers from the Bogota-based Andes University, finished fourth place out of 50 international participants in the Lunabotics Mining Competition held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its work on “Intensity”, a robot designed to traverse lunar terrain.

Thanks to the 2013 Chinese Training Program for EU Employees, some 30 officials got the opportunity to know more about China. Launched by the Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters) and organized by Beijing Foreign Studies University, the program, which lasts from July 20-28, is the first such cultural exchange platform in China designed for European Union employees, said Jing Wei, deputy director-general of Hanban.

The Organization of American States (OAS), the Mexican National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT) and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) signed today at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, an agreement to provide scholarship opportunities to 600 citizens of the Americas for master's or doctoral studies in science and engineering in Mexico, of which 100 will be earmarked for students from Central America and the Caribbean.

Summer exchange programmes are a vibrant way for universities around the world to swap intellectually stimulating dialogues, cultures, friendships and create memories. If one wants to learn outside the textbook and curriculum, learning from the ‘university of life’ through summer exchange experiences remains a very credible way for the international community of students. Linda Agnell, director of exchange programmes, American University of Sharjah, details how students can make the most of them.

Expansion is in the pipeline for Erasmus, the European Union’s higher education exchange programme. Since its launch in 1987, more than three million students have benefited from the system, which supports cooperation between 33 countries.

Pages