The value of international scientific exchange in our increasingly interdependent world is of utmost importance. The controls used to regulate international travel of students and scholars, including the technology alert list (TAL), export controls, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and Visas Mantis security checks have been implemented to reduce any potential security risks to the United States posed by international visitors. However, such potential gains in security come at a high cost. The controls have created an unwelcoming atmosphere and are eroding trust with our colleagues around the world. Special efforts need to be made to ensure international visitors do feel welcome in the face of these necessary security measures. If the cancellation of conferences and loss of collaborations continues, the United States may lose its traditional role as a convening power, and this would have grave and lasting consequences.65


The exchange of students among countries is considered a central feature of international relations and foreign policy by US government leaders, as illustrated by the following statements:

The relationships that are formed between individuals from different countries, as part of international education programs and exchanges, can also foster goodwill that develops into vibrant, mutually beneficial partnerships among nations.66

–President Bush, 2001

America’s educational institutions attract talented future leaders from around the world. International students and scholars benefit from engagement with our society and academic institutions and we benefit enormously from their interaction with our society as they help our citizens develop understanding and knowledge that enriches our lives, increases international cooperation, enhances our national security, and improves our economic competitiveness.67

–Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004


See Jane Lubchenco and Goverdhan Mehta. 2004. “International scientific meetings.” Science 305:1531; and “Organizing an international meeting in the United States.” International Visitors Office Web page, National Academies Board on International Scientific Organizations,


George W. Bush. 2001. Statement for International Education Week 2001 (November 13),


Colin L. Powell. 2004. Statement for International Education Week 2004 (October 15),


“Foreign Students Yesterday, World Leaders Today.” Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State. Available at

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