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Hockfield attends University Presidents Summit

At the invitation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, MIT President Susan Hockfield is meeting with higher education leaders from around the nation today to discuss the need for government to work collaboratively with the non-governmental sector on the future of U.S. higher education in the global arena.

Hockfield is among more than 120 university leaders attending the two-day, first-of-its-kind U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education in Washington, D.C., which began Thursday, Jan. 5. President Bush attended part of the meeting yesterday.

"Through the summit, Secretary Rice and Secretary Spellings and their respective departments want to reach out to college and university presidents to reinforce a common interest in attracting foreign students and scholars to U.S. institutions," said Karen Hughes, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. "Of equal importance is seeking investment in educating globally competitive U.S. students to work in fields of international interest."

The issue of openness to foreign students is an important one for Hockfield, who in her inaugural address last May pledged that the MIT community will "work toward intellectual openness around the world and work to preserve the vital flow of international students and scholars, who contribute so much to our universities and our society as a whole."

Former MIT President Charles M. Vest, who is also attending the conference, has been a champion of the need for openness on campus.

Summit attendees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and a range of institutions, both private and public, from major research universities like MIT to community colleges.

Attendees are discussing how to attract foreign students and scholars, how to encourage more American students to study abroad, how to reach out to underserved populations and the nature of the visa and regulatory processes, among other topics.

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