international

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.

Scottish University Gains Approval in New York

A Scottish university has gained approval to offer degrees in the state of New York, the BBC reported. Glasgow Caledonian University opened a campus in New York City in September 2013 but has not been able to award degrees. The university has reportedly spent 5.6 million pounds (about $7.1 million) on its New York campus.

The university's principal and vice chancellor, Pamela Gillies, said she is "absolutely thrilled that we now have the opportunity to build upon our new research and business relationships in New York to deliver our unique programs, which focus on fair fashion, fair finance and sustainability."

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North Korea Releases U.S. Student, Reportedly in Coma

The U.S. Department of State announced Tuesday it had secured the release of a former University of Virginia student, Otto Warmbier, who has been held in North Korea since early 2016. Warmbier, who was accused by North Korean authorities of trying to steal a propaganda poster and sentenced to a 15-year prison term, is reportedly in a coma, according to The New York Times and the Associated Press.

Three other Americans are known to be held in North Korea, including two individuals who worked at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

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Survey of more than 1,100 U.S. colleges looks at state of internationalization efforts

Survey finds progress in comprehensive internationalization efforts. The top two priority activities for colleges are sending U.S. students abroad and recruiting international students.

Canada Eases Work Permit Rules for Foreign Researchers

Foreign faculty and researchers traveling to Canada to work on projects at public universities and affiliated research institutions will be allowed to stay for up to 120 days without a work permit as part of a new Global Skills Strategy announced Monday by Canada’s government. The umbrella association Universities Canada welcomed the development, saying in a statement it “will streamline the process for visiting academics, enabling the brightest minds from around the world to contribute to Canada’s research and innovation community.”

The statement from Universities Canada adds, “Canada’s universities also welcome the inclusion of leading researchers in the strategy’s dedicated service channel for processing arrivals to Canada. This immigration concierge service will be made available to Canadian universities’ top recruits coming to Canada as holders of federally funded research chairs.”

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Norway Seeks Ban on Full-Face Veils at Universities

Norway has proposed a ban on full-face veils in universities, schools and nurseries, the BBC reported. A bill would ban the wearing of the niqab and the burqa, both of which are worn by some Muslim women, and other face-covering clothing in university and school settings.

"These clothes prevent good communication, which is important for students to receive a good education," Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norway's minister of education and research, said in a statement quoted by the BBC. Most parties support the bill, but critics have questioned its necessity, as the full-face veil is not worn widely in Norway.

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