NAFSA CEO Applauds White House for Opening Nation’s Doors to Refugees


Statement by Marlene M. Johnson, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators


Rebecca Morgan, 202.737.3699 x4449,

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2016– In response to Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the country will begin resettling 110,000 refugees in the United States, Marlene M. Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators issued the following statement:

“NAFSA: Association of International Educators applauds the Obama Administration’s recent announcement to resettle 110,000 refugees in the United States and urges the Administration to focus on steps to ensure that refugees who seek higher education anywhere in the world, have a path to do so. Whether by providing educational opportunities at U.S. colleges and universities or by providing assistance in online educational opportunities for displaced Syrians in other nations, we believe that the United States can play an important role in fostering opportunities for all.

“A commitment to fostering peace and security through international education demands that we go beyond providing the basic necessities of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. As an association that was founded to respond to the needs of European students following WWII, we recognize that in order not to lose a generation of minds to the ravages of war and terror, we must educate them. These students are among our greatest foreign policy assets, for it is through their time here that they come to understand our country firsthand before becoming the world’s future leaders.

“It is imperative that we provide those who want to continue their education with the means to do so. If we fail to offer educational opportunities to qualified refugees we risk fostering the isolationism that helps to drive anti-Western sentiment. On the other hand, ensuring that they have an opportunity to continue their education will build good will and cross-cultural understanding that enhances our own national security. Clearly, we must choose the latter.”

Read NAFSA’s complete letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.