Remarks of Ambassador Pamela L. Spratlen on the International Education Week

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, Assalomu Aleykum, Zdravstvuite.
Before I begin, I would like for us to take a brief moment of silence to commemorate the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.  They were the latest reminders that while we are focused on a bright and positive future today in talking about education, not everyone shares this view.

President Obama called what happened an attack on the civilized world.  Let us remember victims and redouble our efforts to keep our minds clear for positive work together as we build a more united and secure world.

Today we are commemorating International Education Week, which is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.  It is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

International Education Week is one of many ways that the U.S. government promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment, and that attracts future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Over the last 16 years, thousands of events have been held around the world during International Education Week, showcasing the benefits of international education and exchange.

Throughout the week, the Embassy will host daily events to inform Uzbek citizens about different opportunities to study in the United States. Today you will hear about U.S. government exchange programs, and our alumni will share their experiences in the U.S.  During the week, we will talk about the college admissions process. The EducationUSA center will hold a viewing party for students to take part in a virtual college fair, and at the end of the week everyone is invited to the movie night event!

I want to give our alumni the most time to share their experiences with you, but before they speak, let me give you my top 10 reasons why I believe in international education, especially study in the United States.

  1. Academic Excellence:  International education positions individuals to develop the skills and competencies necessary to succeed in the global community of the 21st century.
  2. Educational Innovation:  From the use of computers in schools to the proliferation of massive open online courses or MOOCs, the United States has been an innovator in higher education for over a century.  We are proud to be the training ground for many who created and also benefit from today’s most important technological innovations.  We build skills.
  3. Prosperity:  International education builds and sustains a more secure, and prosperous world that benefits the global community.  Through international education, students cross socio-economic, cultural, political, religious, and geographic borders.  Connecting countries through international education helps to open markets and increase trade.
  4. Cultural diversity:  Study abroad programs allow students to achieve academic advancement, experience new cultures, learn a new language, and expand personal goals.  They have the opportunity to do this in classrooms full of students from all over the world.
  5. Mutual understanding:  Unfortunately, few Americans know about this beautiful country.  When you study abroad, you have the chance to experience a different culture and a different educational system.  It also allows you to be Ambassadors of Uzbekistan to the United States and to share your country’s rich traditions, culture, and history with Americans.
  6. Personal Networks:  Exchange program participants become aware of a world beyond their borders.  They gain new perspectives and begin to establish networks that will enhance their individual prospects in the global marketplace and future potential as global problem-solvers.  Connected networks among people and communities are necessary to solve global challenges and help countries compete in a world economy.
  7. Language competency:  Demand for English language skills is expanding here in Uzbekistan, as English increasingly represents a gateway to higher education and a path to job opportunities in our globalized world.
  8. Great value:  There are thousands of different types of universities in all 50 states.  Considering study in the United States gives students access to a wide variety of institutions from our most prestigious, elite institutions, to entry level institutions that offer great value and personal attention for the time and money.
  9. Lifelong Learning:  A commitment to lifelong learning is now deeply embedded in the higher education culture of the United States.  Students who study abroad will have opportunities to continue their educations, whether online or through specialized programs at their universities or others for an entire lifetime.
  10. Giving back:  When students return home, they will be bringing a whole world with them.  They will have grown in knowledge, world understanding and will have a whole new friendship network.  They will embody the best of the original culture and the higher education culture.  Most of all, you will have the opportunity to help yourself, your family, your community and country achieve the great potential I see here every day.

Today I am pleased to announce that a record number of students from overseas studied in the United States this year. Almost a million international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. This is the highest growth rate in international student enrollment that we have had in the last 35 years.

I am also pleased to note that the number of students from Uzbekistan increased by 6%. This represents the highest growth rate of students studying in the United States from all of Central Asia.

E’tiboringiz uchun tashakkur!  Thank you for your attention!  Спасибо за ваше внимание!