On behalf of NAFSA's Board of Directors, we are writing to share with you some important resources NAFSA has available to help support our membership during these difficult and tumultuous times in attracting, welcoming, and retaining international students and scholars. As your professional home, NAFSA is actively empowering you as advocates to raise your voices about the issues that matter, and constantly developing and disseminating resources to support you in the practice of your profession.

As tensions around trade wars with various nations rise, we stand firmly behind the principle that students and scholars should never be used as bargaining chips. Whatever the differences between our government and others throughout history, educational ties have always formed the foundation necessary to build mutual understanding and respect. At various points, our country has had tense relations with a number of countries we would now call allies, thanks in large part to the major role that academic ties and partnerships have played. If the United States continues to suffer declining enrollments of new international students, after already having experienced two years of consecutive decline, everyone loses. 

Our security as a nation, and as an international community, is interconnected, and our shared futures are mutually dependent, not mutually exclusive. NAFSA was founded on the idea that we, as a profession of international educators, can create an environment in which students and scholars can build mutual understanding and solve complex problems together. And over 70 years later, we are even more committed to that idea.

We stand firmly with you to make the world more secure, more peaceful, and more just through international education. To help support our members, we offer the following resources to help navigate these challenging times.

Esther D. Brimmer
NAFSA Executive Director and CEO

Ravi Shankar
NAFSA President and Chair of the Board

Resources to Advocate with U.S. Policymakers

NAFSA defends and promotes a more welcoming, more globally engaged United States. NAFSA launched the “Welcome to Succeed” campaign last year, and since then, a bipartisan group of more than 70 members of Congress have already spoken out supporting international education (the most recent list is available on NAFSA's blog). We invite higher education advocates to join the campaign through Connecting Our World, NAFSA's grassroots advocacy website.

NAFSA Executive Director and CEO, Esther Brimmer, DPhil, was recently interviewed by CNBC about China.

In early May, the presidents of more than two dozen New Jersey colleges and universities sent a letter to members of the state's congressional delegation, urging them to monitor federal policies they say have made it harder to recruit international students and faculty. We are aware of several other states that are crafting similar letters for their congressional delegations.

In late October last year, 17 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Judy Chu of California, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concerns regarding recent visa policy changes that affect Chinese graduate students in certain technological fields, decreasing their visa validity period from 5 years to 1 year. Connecting Our World advocates sent more than 400 letters to the U.S. House of Representatives and were instrumental in securing some of the members who signed on.

Resources on Supporting & Welcoming Diverse International Students and Scholars

As many of you know, NAFSA is committed to supporting the important work of thousands of advisers and practitioners in the field who continue to send the message of welcoming international students to the U.S. As of June 1, NAFSA officially took over the helm of providing oversight and administering the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign. We encourage new schools to participate in this grassroots campaign along with over 350 higher education institutions. 

Along with this campaign, we want to highlight resources that you may find useful in these challenging times:

Additionally, a new non-profit organization, USA: A Study Destination was recently formed to promote the U.S. as the premier destination. For more background on the study state consortia, please refer to this article On The Rise: State Consortia (International Educator).

Northwestern University and Yale University, among other Higher Education Institutions, have shared their response. 

Other resources include this resource page created for the most recent IEM Town Hall in February 2017. Additional relevant publications include NAFSA's International Parents Guide—College(2017) and International Parents Guide—High School (2018)

The Association of American Universities has also published several resources specific to science and security on U.S. campuses that you may find helpful: