Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Foreign Students and Visa Issues

For a long time, Lance Fortnow has been warning us about the problems facing foreign students and scholars (of which your humble blogger is one) trying to visit the US, stay here, and travel to scholarly meetings. Nitish Korula, an Indian student who recently got admission to the Ph.D program at UIUC, has been chronicling his suffering as he navigates the student visa process.

Although this may not be news to those of us in research/academics, it's nice to see discussion of this problem spreading beyond the confines of academe. Today at Talking Points Memo, one of the most widely read blogs on the Web, John Judis discusses this issue.

Lance mentioned the cold war and how countries tried to keep their scientists from coming here: this quote is from Judis's post:

During the Cold War, American officials discovered that one of the best ways to promote democratic capitalism at the expense of communism was by luring foreign students to American colleges. Some of these foreign graduates returned home to become the leaders of reform movements in their countries. Others stayed in the United States and contributed their skills to the great postwar boom. The same reasoning that prevailed during the Cold War should prevail during the war on terror. The United States should be eager, one would imagine, to expose students from abroad to democracy and religious pluralism, as well as to take advantage of their skills.

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