West Virginia hosts U.S. State Department seminar on international education and safety

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission today hosted a national conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council focused on international education and safety. Nearly 120 attendees representing more than 60 higher education institutions and organizations nationwide discussed issues related to the health and security of college students, faculty and higher education staff traveling abroad.

This event comes as the Commission works to increase the number of West Virginia students going abroad through the statewide “Global West Virginia” initiative. The Commission encourages student participation in International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP), which provide access for every qualified public university student to 140 study-abroad destinations in 35 countries at the same cost as studying in West Virginia. In addition, the Commission facilitates summer study abroad experiences and is developing innovative state-to-state partnerships with Puebla, Mexico and Shanxi Province in China.

“We are working to provide every West Virginia student enrolled at a public college or university with the opportunity to acquire international experiences or perspectives. This is an important element of our students’ degree studies as they prepare for careers in an increasingly diverse economy,” said Paul Hill, the Commission’s Chancellor. “As we accelerate our efforts in West Virginia around international education, we also must ensure our students’ safety when they take advantage of global learning opportunities.”

Today’s seminar was one of only two such events sponsored by the Overseas Security Advisory Council nationwide each year. Featured speakers included Montserrat Muñoz, Director for Academic Innovation with North America, AMEXCID, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico, who leads a scholarship program that has allowed nearly 300 Mexican students to study in West Virginia during the past year; and Lee Tablewski, Director for 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, which offers competitive study-abroad grants to higher education institutions.

For more information on West Virginia’s statewide international education efforts, visit www.studywv.org.