An Iowan will be among eight college and university presidents visiting Latin America later this month. Iowa State University President Greg Geoffroy says they’ll be meeting with students and leaders in higher education, the business community, and government officials.
The goal of the trip is to discuss future collaborations and encourage Latin American students to further their studies in the U.S. Geoffroy says he’ll especially promote Iowa. "I believe Iowa is a tremendous location for international students," Geoffroy says, "it’s safe and Iowans are very welcoming." The number of international students in the U.S. declined following the tough visa restriction imposed after 9/11.
"That discouraged many international students," Geoffroy says of the visa restrictions, "but those have since been relaxed a fair bit, almost back to the pre-9/11 level. The United States wants to send a message that we are welcoming to foreign students." Geoffroy says many of America’s most successful companies were founded by individuals who first came to the U.S. as students.
Iowa State University has several faculty members from foreign countries that came to the United States for their higher education. Geoffroy says the international students contribute "a great deal" to the classrooms here in Iowa. "They bring a rich diversity in terms of heritage and cultural experiences," Geoffroy says, "and as a consequence, our students benefit. They get to see, in many ways, the rest of the world through their interactions with people from other parts of the world."
Geoffroy, and the seven other college and university presidents, will join U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on the trip. They will visit Chile and Brazil between August 18th and 24th. It’s the third such trip the U.S. Department of Education has organized. Other delegations have traveled to Asia and India.