(Nov 14 - 15, 2006)
U.S. Higher Education Delegation to Asia
Following a productive and educational visit to Japan, the U.S. delegation of university presidents, led by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Assistant Secretary of State Dina Powell, traveled to the Republic of Korea. They continued to highlight the U.S. as a higher education destination for Korean students, offering a diverse range of opportunities at thousands of colleges and universities throughout the United States.
The delegation leaders also stressed the need to encourage U.S. students to study in Korea. Throughout the visit both Secretary Spellings and Assistant Secretary Powell underlined the importance of President Bush's National Security Language Initiative, as Korean is one of seven critical languages as part of this initiative.
While in Seoul, the delegation met with students, university administrators, government officials and business leaders, underscoring the desire of the U.S. to strengthen relationships between U.S. and Korean colleges and universities and increase student and faculty educational exchanges.
Secretary Spelling announced during their trip that Korea had the largest percentage increase in students studying abroad last year, as well as the number of F-1 visas offered to students living in Korea. In fact, Korea is the third-leading country of origin for students studying abroad in the U.S. and over the last year, the number of F-1 visas issued increased by almost 21 percent.
Deputy Prime Minister Kim Shin-Il hosted Secretary Spellings and Assistant Secretary Powell for a meeting to discuss enhanced efforts by both the U.S. and Korean governments to foster more international education opportunities for students. The Secretary praised Korea for launching a new initiative, Vision 2010, aimed at achieving this goal for increased educational collaborations between Korea and other nations.
The delegation participated in an event with students at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, one of the world's oldest and most vibrant universities with a rich history and tradition. The Secretary expressed to the students that the doors of the U.S. are open to those seeking educational opportunities abroad. Dr. Karen Holbrook, president of The Ohio State University, invited students to participate in new and diverse educational opportunities and welcomed students to explore the opportunities U.S. colleges and universities have to offer.
While engaging with alumni of U.S. Government-sponsored exchange programs such as Fulbright and the International Visitors Leadership Program during a roundtable discussion, Assistant Secretary Powell urged them to encourage Korean young people to pursue similar opportunities and invited their input on how the U.S. can encourage more students to study in America.
Assistant Secretary Powell and the university presidents also engaged in a country-wide real-time online interactive forum sponsored by Café USA, a unique outreach tool of the U.S. Embassy. They answered a variety of questions on topics ranging from affordability of U.S. college tuition to Visa application procedures.
U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander Vershbow hosted a reception for the delegation, along with over 250 local government, business and education leaders. During the event, Secretary Spellings emphasized that the U.S. must continue to encourage more students to study in America and send more of our students abroad. She also highlighted the relationship between the U.S. and Korea and our strong tradition of university partnerships and educational exchanges. The U.S. has long been a destination for Korea students, and the delegation emphasized their desire to continue that cooperation in the 21st century.
The delegation also participated in a luncheon event with over 150 members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Seoul to highlight the role of U.S. and Korean business communities to help foster opportunities in higher education through their investment and support.
Following their stop in Korea, the delegation will conclude their journey with a three-day visit to China.
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