One of the most important things you can do to support international education is to advocate with your elected officials. In a report published by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) titled Communicating with Congress: Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill (CMF, 2011), 90 percent of congressional staff surveyed reported that if their boss had not arrived at a firm decision, individualized letters from constituents would have influence on the member’s decision, while in-person meetings with constituents was the most influential method of swaying a member on an issue. This study shows that members of Congress are particularly convinced by thoughtful, passionate, personal contributions by their constituents.
There are several things that you can do to be a voice for international education, including communicating with elected officials through letter-writing campaigns, telephone calls, and personal visits.
Real change comes when individuals and communities take the time to communicate with their elected officials, share real-life stories with them and with friends, and speak out publicly about the issues they care about.
Join Connecting Our World (CoWorld), an online community of individuals taking action to support public policies that strengthen and expand international education. Become part of a community of advocates around the world who are dedicated to making the world a better place through international education.
By joining, you will:
- Be part of a growing community of international education advocates.
- Receive action alerts on legislation and policies that impact international educational exchange for students, scholars, and institutions.
- Access sample letters that allow you to quickly and easily send personalized letters to members of Congress and the administration on these issues.
- Help promote the best legislation possible to further advance international education for students.
- Receive updates on advocacy campaigns.
- Motivate your colleagues to become involved in the political process.
- Access advocacy tools and tips to better understand and influence the legislative process.
For more information about CoWorld and to register, visit www.connectingourworld.org.
Identify Your Legislators
To find your members of Congress, visit the Take Action Center on Connecting Our World at www.connectingourworld.org. Begin contacting them now about your support for international education and understanding.
Advocacy at the State and Local Level
Meeting your state representatives is an important part of international education advocacy. Many critical education policy issues are decided at the state level, so let your local and state representatives know that you support international education. The federal level advocacy principles outlined in NAFSA's Advocacy Handbook (page 9) also apply to building a strong working relationship with your state representatives.
Get to Know Your Local and State Representatives
Visit http://thomas.loc.gov/home/state-legislatures.html to identify your representatives at both the local and state level of government. Talk with your representatives about your commitment to international education and understanding and the important role they play in educating the next generation of citizens.