LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas is joining higher education institutions across the country to celebrate International Education Week, which runs through Nov. 17.
A joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, the week promotes programs that prepare those in the U.S. for a global world and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.
“While many of us promote and celebrate international education each and every day as part of our chosen profession, International Education Week is a wonderful time to come together as institutions and as a nation to reflect on the power and impact of this work,” said Charles Bankart, KU senior internationalization officer.
According to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, which was released Nov. 13 by the Institute of International Education and is funded through the U.S. Department of State, the United States welcomed more than a million international students in the 2022-23 academic year and nearly 189,000 students studied abroad in academic year 2021-22.
This fall, 1,743 international students from 117 countries enrolled at KU, a 2% increase and an addition of six countries from the previous year. According to the Open Doors Report, the more than 9,000 international students who studied in Kansas last academic year contributed $246 million to the state’s economy.
KU is a state leader in internationalization efforts. The Open Doors Report found that KU students accounted for more than half of those who studied abroad from Kansas higher education institutions in academic year 2021-22 with 930 KU students going abroad.
Overall, KU was in the top 6% of U.S. higher education institutions for the number of study abroad participants, ranking 44th out of 759. Also in the 2021-22 academic year, KU was in the top 20 of all U.S. institutions for the number of Gilman Scholarship recipients with 28 awardees.
In academic year 2022-23, KU led the state in the number of students who received U.S. Fulbright Student Awards, representing five of the state’s six award winners.
“KU does an amazing job bringing the world into our classrooms, research labs and community spaces. We are equally proud of our sustained success in getting students, faculty and staff beyond U.S. borders to better inform and connect their work and learning with the world,” Bankart said.
In recognition of the impact international education has on Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly signed a proclamation recognizing International Education Week and that international education, exchange and public diplomacy “play a critical role in U.S. foreign relations for today and tomorrow.”
“Kansas takes pride in its international education programs and recognizes the importance of international education,” the proclamation read.
International-themed events held this week include a talk on U.S. policy toward Ukraine, a two-day symposium on Druze studies, an international trivia event and a presentation and reception for the KUIA Advisory Board International Research Award winner Rafe Brown, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.
Throughout the week on social media, International Affairs will be sharing stories from the KU community on the power of international education.
“Our efforts to instill a global mindset in all members of the KU community distinguish us, and I am so proud of the globally engaged university that we have become,” Bankart said. “It is not easy work, but it is important to our vision of building a more peaceful, equitable and compassionate world.”