International Education Week

International Education Week 2023 is November 13-17. This initiative is a collaboration between the US Department of State and the US Department of Education that began in 2000 under the Clinton administration. President Clinton issued an executive memorandum where he highlighted the United State’s commitment to cultural exchange through international education. The first IEW was celebrated later that year and has been a cornerstone program of ISSS and Education Abroad offices around the country ever since.

As international educators, we welcome the opportunity to highlight why it’s important to travel outside of your comfort zone, meet and interact with people from different countries, and explore cultures that are different from your own. Cultural exchange leads to cross cultural understanding, which helps to make our world a more peaceful and welcoming place. 

If you don’t have the means or ability to travel outside of the United States, that’s okay! Remember that there are thousands of international students on college campuses all over the country who are eager to share more of their culture with you. The US is a country of great diversity, and many different cultures and customs can be experienced without the need to get on a plane. In particular, on a college campus, you have access to lots of resources and programs that are designed to build your understanding of other cultures and countries. IEW is a week that showcases this type of event and will make them even more accessible to you, so be sure to find out how YOUR school is celebrating.

Each year, a theme is selected for IEW. This year’s theme is “International Education is the Future,” a strong statement about the importance and impact of cultural educational exchange. Within the overall theme, the departments also select a focus for each day. This year’s daily themes are: 

  • Open Doors to the Future
  • You are the Future!
  • The Future is Global
  • Innovate the Future
  • Lead the Future

While the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (a bureau of the State Department) offers these themes, the ways in which institutions choose to celebrate IEW can vary widely from year to year and from campus to campus. 

Examples of events that you might see on a college campus during IEW include:

  • Study Abroad information sessions or fairs
  • Speakers covering current global issues
  • Events highlighting post-graduate international opportunities such as Peace Corps and Fulbright
  • Opportunities for international students to share about their home country and culture
  • International festivals
  • Travel photo and video contests

To see how some of our partner schools are celebrating, click the links below. Then, comment to let us know what kind of events your college or university is hosting this year, and how you’re planning to participate!

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