According to the committee’s analysis of responses to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey (see Appendix C), people who admire US science and technology and who visit the United States improve their attitude toward the United States substantially. Similarly, returnees who assume leadership positions at home may become strong foreign-policy and national-security assets for the United States. Scientists and engineers who have been educated here often return home with an appreciation of the egalitarian values of scientific research, democratic values, and the productivity of a vibrant capitalist economy. For example, among allies who have participated in an educational exchange program in the United States are Afghani President Hamid Karzai, Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, French President Jacques Chirac, King Abdullah of Jordan, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.68 Of course, one may cite examples of foreign students who find US culture offensive or have even become outright enemies of the United States or of Western culture. Historically, however, science has served as a bridge between nations and a means of communication that can transcend political barriers. A notable example was the continuing exchange of American and Soviet scientists throughout the Cold War.69


The participation of international graduate students and postdoctoral scholars is an important part of the research enterprise of the United States. In some fields they make up more than half the populations of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. If their presence were substantially diminished, important research and teaching activities in academe, industry, and federal laboratories would be curtailed, particularly if universities did not give more attention to recruiting and retaining domestic students. The next two chapters will consider national policies and exogenous factors that are likely to influence their participation.


Joseph S. Nye, Jr. 2004. “You can’t get here from there.” The New York Times (November 29).

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