General Statements

Annan, Kofi
U.N. Secretary-General
United Nations

"None of us is born intolerant of those who differ from us. Intolerance is taught and can be untaught -- though often with great difficulty. But in this area, as in others, prevention is far preferable to cure. We must work to prevent intolerance from taking hold in the next generation. We must build on the open-mindedness of young people, and ensure that their minds remain open."

"Today, such programmes are more important than ever. Clearly, we need to use education to advance tolerance and understanding. Perhaps more than ever, international understanding is essential to world peace -- understanding between faiths, between nations, between cultures."

Becraft, Michael
Former Acting Deputy Commissioner
Immigration and Naturalization Service

"The growth in international education has significantly benefited the U.S. economy and brought continued recognition of the superiority of the U.S. higher education system. Foreign student programs have been found to serve U.S. foreign policy objectives by exposing nationals of other countries to the institutions and culture of the United States, by helping to cement alliances with other countries, and by transferring knowledge and skills to other countries, particularly developing countries."

Beers, Charlotte
Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs
House International Relations Committee

"Fulbright academic exchanges and other professional exchanges must continue. We are using the contacts we earned over the years with exchanges and scholarships to develop a whole new level of diploma and speaking between moderate Muslims and the United States… We have to be mindful that we are in a long- lived engagement to reach new audiences in different ways."

Clinton, Hillary Rodham
Current U.S. Secretary of State
United States

"Whether it’s a summer course, a semester immersion, or a degree program, study abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a young person’s life. International students enrich classrooms and communities with their ideas, perspectives, and culture. And when they return home, they bring new knowledge, new perspectives, and a deeper understanding of the world."

Daft, Douglass H.
Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
The Coca Cola Company

"International education ignites a passion for understanding other people and their perspectives. That's one important benefit to working or studying abroad - and it's essential to success in our increasingly diverse world. Students with international exposure come to understand the value of dialogue between people from different cultures and between people with different points of view. They also gain an understanding of the importance of relationships. Relationships are the foundation for meaning and success in life. They are also the foundation for strong businesses, especially businesses that care about creating mutual benefit."

"For almost three decades of my career at The Coca-Cola Company, I lived and worked in Asia. From Singapore to Tokyo to Beijing, I learned about different local cultures by living and working in those cultures. It gave me a profound respect for how people are different, and also for how we are the same.

Those experiences shaped my career in a powerful way - by shaping an appreciation for the cultural and intellectual diversity in our world. I'm fortunate today to have the opportunity to lead a company that is one of the most internationally diverse organizations on earth. We operate in nearly 200 countries, do business in some 125 languages, and employ people from over 215 different nationalities. Respecting and understanding the fundamental value of diversity is vital to who we are and the way we do business. Understanding and valuing different cultures has shaped my ability to lead our business, and it's an absolute imperative for anyone who works at The Coca-Cola Company."

Duncan, Arne
Current U.S. Secretary of Education
United States

"Therefore, we must work together to give all of our students an outstanding education, which includes learning about our global partners – their cultures, histories, languages, values, and viewpoints. We must focus on integrating international perspectives into our classrooms. It is through education and exchange that we become better collaborators, competitors and compassionate neighbors in this global society."

Gilman, Benjamin (R-NY)
Former Congressman

“In my years of experience with our nation's foreign policy, I see that the most enduring influence is achieved through our international exchange programs. People-to-people contact - the seeing, doing and interacting - is how we learn to appreciate similarities, differences or other ways of doing things. Exchanges provide forums for new ideas, training opportunities and the chance to build support networks. Professionals, high school students, academics or mid-level government officials all benefit from the experience of interacting with their international counterparts. This exposure to a world outside of one's home country leads to greater understanding, which is particularly important for the emerging democracies where people are looking for a lifeline to secure reforms and freedoms.”

Ki-Moon, Ban
Current U.N. Secretary-General
United Nations

"That is what I would like to ask you. As a global citizen, the world depends upon your leadership, your vision. I am a leader of today, but you are soon going to be a leader of tomorrow. Prepare yourself, try to be imaginative and visionary - cultivate yourself and try to be a global citizen. That is what the United Nations wants - that will ensure that you will be living in a better world for all."

Joyce M. Randolph
Executive Director
University of Pennsylvania, Office of International Programs

“Today, we must not be paralyzed, either physically or mentally. Not only must daily routines be taken up again, but we should also unlock our thinking—to realize that, now more than ever, it is important, indeed essential, to remain open to the world. Americans and citizens of other countries would be foolish and unrealistic not to remain ‘on alert.’ But, in the long run, to reach the goals of security and peace and prosperity, an absolutely essential factor is increased international understanding, greater tolerance for other cultures and beliefs, and enhanced familiarity with people who may initially seem uncomfortably foreign.”

Lantos, Tom (D-CA)
Former Ranking Member
House International Relations Committee

"We must...increase educational and cultural exchanges with the Middle East and South Asia and promote educational programming in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries that lack access to basic education."