international

Japan's Regional Universities Struggle

Many regional universities in Japan -- especially private institutions -- are struggling to meet enrollment goals, The Japan Times reported. The population of traditional college-age students in the country is declining. And demand keeps increasing to study at universities in Tokyo.

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Chinese Paper Blasts UCSD for Dalai Lama Invitation

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein called for an apology and a retraction after a state-run Chinese publication, the Global Times, published an article condemning the University of California, San Diego, and its chancellor for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak at its recent commencement. Some Chinese students at UCSD protested the decision to invite the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Chinese government regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist who wants to divide Tibet from China, while the Dalai Lama has said he wants autonomy for Tibet, not full independence.

The Global Times article explicitly notes Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s status as an Indian-American and says of the invitation to the Dalai Lama, “Khosla must bear the consequences for this.”

“Don't naively believe that China will acquiesce to the chancellor of UCSD. His support for Tibet independence will affect his personal and the university's exchanges with China. Chinese universities will take cooperative programs with it into prudent reconsideration,” the article says.

“It's suggested that relevant Chinese authorities not issue visas to the chancellor and not recognize diplomas or degree certificates issued by the university in China.”

The Global Times is known for its nationalistic content, and one analyst of Chinese media, David Wertime, recently warned against interpreting its articles as government policy, writing in Foreign Policy that the paper is “not a mouthpiece for Beijing.”

In a statement issued last week, Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said she finds “it unconscionable that a reporter for the Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, would threaten UC San Diego and its chancellor and students for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak.”

“The newspaper should immediately apologize and retract the article that not only threatens to withhold visas from Chancellor Pradeep Khosla but also suggests the university would be punished by withholding students,” Feinstein said.

UCSD issued a statement in response to the article. “The University of California, San Diego, has always served as a forum for discussion and interaction on important public policy issues and respects the rights of individuals to agree or disagree as we consider issues of our complex world,” the university said. “Our 2017 speaker, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, carries a message that promotes global responsibility and service to humanity that is of great interest to the UC San Diego community and to our students as they enter their professional lives.”

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Spring Data Show Increase in Foreign Students

Many U.S. colleges reported drops in applications from international students for this coming fall, but for this past spring, at least, international student numbers continued to grow, increasing 1.7 percent, from 1.16 million in May 2016 to 1.18 million in May 2017, according to new data on F and M student visas from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The overall increase in international students comes despite a 19 percent drop in the number of students from Saudi Arabia, the fourth-leading country of origin for international students in the U.S. after China, India and South Korea. Many colleges have reported declines in numbers of Saudi students that they attribute primarily to changes in the government’s large-scale foreign scholarship program.

Other notable changes include increases in enrollment of students from Vietnam (up 6 percent), South America (up 6.5 percent), India (up 7 percent), and Nepal (up 18 percent). The number of students from South Korea fell by 7 percent.

The student visa data encompass students at all levels, including high school students and students enrolled in vocational programs. About three-quarters of all international students on F and M visas -- 76 percent -- are enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs.

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Cutting the federal budget for language programs threatens America's security (essay)

When I was a student in Nanjing University in China in the early 1980s, a professor there told me that if I spoke no Chinese at all, I would always be a metaphorical window shopper in his city, admiring the goods on display from a distance on the street. But after investing the time and effort to become proficient at Mandarin and knowledgeable of Chinese custom, I would be invited by the shop owner to come inside and enter the room where his real treasures were kept.

I have had many occasions since then to reflect on the wisdom of my professor’s advice and encouragement. As the deputy commander of the UN security force in Panmunjom in Korea, defense attaché to China, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan and the United States ambassador in Kabul, I have found myself at the intersection of cultures and languages -- often when the stakes were much higher than a mere trip to the local shop. Yet the lesson has withstood the test of time and experience: a working knowledge of another culture, its language and norms, its history and ideals, is often the difference between a failed and a successful mission.

Over the past three years, I have been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning, a group convened in response to a request from a bipartisan group of congressional representatives and senators. Our final report, “America’s Languages,” provides ample evidence to support the notion that proficiency in English, although crucial to our global success, “is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world, nor the needs of individual citizens who interact with other peoples and cultures more than at any other time in human history.”

For all of these reasons, I am particularly concerned that the budget recently released by the White House proposes elimination or drastic cuts to international education and study abroad programs, many of which were already compromised by the previous administration. The president’s budget proposes eliminating the funding for language education in the Department of Education, which had already been cut by 43 percent in the Obama administration. It recommends a 55 percent cut to the exchange programs in the Department of State. While a modest increase of 3 percent is proposed for the Defense Language Institute, the president’s budget also proposes a 20 percent increase in enrollments. These and other proposed cuts threaten our national language readiness -- which, as we saw in the aftermath of the attacks of 2001, is a significant factor in our ability to respond to international challenges.

Although they are saddled with abstract names which make them seem distant from the concerns of people outside the Washington Beltway, Title VI of the 1958 National Defense Education Act and the educational exchange programs in the Department of State are critical to our nation’s ability to teach languages vital to our national security and economic growth. The Language Resource Centers and the National Resource Centers funded through Title VI help support more than 20 vital Department of Defense language programs, foreign area officer training for the U.S. Army and advanced language education for federal employees in dozens of government agencies. Ultimately, if such programs are cut, we will be less able to communicate with and understand our allies and potential adversaries abroad, and would be severely hindered in our negotiations.

Until recently, there has been strong presidential and congressional support for these programs -- from the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy through the George W. Bush White House years, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld helped lead the National Security Language Initiative, an unprecedented effort to ensure adequate levels of funding. These leaders knew that market forces alone will not attract young talent to study critical-need languages, including those of strategically vital and unstable regions like Southwest and Central Asia.

Throughout my career, I have been keenly aware of both the immediate operational and strategic value of language skills and cultural knowledge. These programs, which represent a small and vanishing percentage of the federal budget, need to be funded. We cannot afford to become a nation of window shoppers.

Karl Eikenberry is an Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow, director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative, at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and a professor of practice at Stanford University. He served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 until July 2011.

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New government system rates British universities on student outcomes and teaching

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Controversial effort sorts universities into gold, silver and bronze. Some prestigious institutions didn’t get gold.

Trump Directs Changes to Cuba Policy

President Trump on Friday signed an expected memorandum directing the creation of new regulations rolling back travel rights to Cuba and restricting financial transactions with entities linked to Cuba’s intelligence, military and security services. The order bans individual, self-directed "people-to-people" travel, but 12 general categories of authorized travel -- which encompass travel for organized study abroad programs and for professional research and conferences -- will continue to be permitted.

The U.S. embassy in Havana, which opened in 2015, will remain open.

“Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America. We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba,” Trump said Friday in Miami. But academic groups opposed the rollback of President Obama’s policies toward greater engagement with Cuba.

“Regressing to past travel and trade restrictions with Cuba will only pull America back into a 50-year-old failed policy of isolation with the island nation and restrict our ability to learn from one another,” said Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, which called on Congress to pass legislation repealing restrictions on travel and trade to Cuba.

Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, issued a statement expressing concern “about President Trump’s announcement that he will walk back relations between the United States and Cuba, and the potential negative impact on cooperation between scientists in our two countries.”

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University of San Francisco is diversifying its Chinese student body by using a Chinese admissions test

Two years into an unusual approach to international admissions, University of San Francisco finds that it's working.

Canadian College Loses Millions on Branch Campus

A community college in Ontario lost 6.2 million Canadian dollars (about $4.7 million) on its failed branch campus in Saudi Arabia, the CBC reported. Algonquin College announced last August that it was withdrawing from its male-only campus in Saudi Arabia three years into a five-year contract, saying it was unable to reach an agreement with its partner that would meet its financial goals. The faculty union had questioned why Algonquin was running a campus in Saudi Arabia in the first place, in light of the country’s human rights record.

The 6.2 million Canadian dollars includes both operating losses and a loss of 3.7 million Canadian (about $2.8 million) in costs associated with exiting the deal -- a figure that an Algonquin administrator said may yet rise as final bills are negotiated. Algonquin says it has already paid the campus's approximately 100 employees for monies owed.

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Trump to Announce Changes to Cuba Policy

President Trump is expected today to direct changes to American policy toward Cuba, including by stepping up enforcement of the statutory ban on travel to Cuba for tourism-related purposes and by eliminating an option for Americans to travel to the island for individual people-to-people exchanges outside the auspices of an organized group, according to senior White House officials. However, 12 other forms of travel -- which would include various forms of academic travel -- will continue to be permitted.

"There are 12 categories of travel that are permitted still, but that one of the individual people-to-people travel was one that was of the highest risk of potential abuse of the statutory ban on tourism," a senior White House official said Thursday. The 12 forms of authorized travel to Cuba include travel for professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; humanitarian projects; and activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes.

President George W. Bush cracked down on academic travel to Cuba, virtually stopping study abroad to the island, but regulations promulgated by President Obama in 2011 and 2014 opened the way for vastly expanded academic exchanges, as did the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015. The category of individual people-to-people travel that is slated to be eliminated was only added as an authorized option in March 2016.

Nothing will go into effect immediately: White House officials said Trump will direct the secretaries of commerce and Treasury to revise the regulations, and nothing will go into effect until those regulations are promulgated. In addition to travel, other changes will include a prohibition of direct financial transactions involving Cuban military, intelligence and security services, with some exceptions. The Associated Press reported that the expected changes will ban transactions with a military-linked corporation that operates dozens of hotels and other tourist facilities. Travel to Cuba by U.S. airlines and cruise ships will continue, however.

White House officials described the policy changes as in keeping with Trump’s promise to restore U.S. restrictions on Cuba unless it provides political and religious freedom for its people, though the expected changes are limited in scope and do not reflect a full reversal of Obama-era policies toward increased engagement and restored diplomatic relations.

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British election has restored debate on free tuition

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Young voters, angered over what they must pay to attend universities, were a big part of the Labour Party’s revival.

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