On International Education, the Obama Administration's Rhetoric Doesn't Always Match Reality

On International Education, Obama's Goals and Reality Differ 1

Mandel Ngan, AFP, Getty Images

President Obama, speaking at Cairo University in 2009, promised to increase educational exchanges between the United States and Muslim nations. But such pronouncements are not self-executing, international educators say, and the mechanics for carrying them out can be problematic.

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close On International Education, Obama's Goals and Reality Differ 1

Mandel Ngan, AFP, Getty Images

President Obama, speaking at Cairo University in 2009, promised to increase educational exchanges between the United States and Muslim nations. But such pronouncements are not self-executing, international educators say, and the mechanics for carrying them out can be problematic.

In 2009 President Obama thrilled Chinese officials when he pledged, during a visit there, to nearly double the number of Americans who study in the country over the next four years. Warmed by the goodwill gesture, the Chinese government created a special scholarship for American students who wished to be part of what became known as the "100,000 Strong Initiative."

Less than three years later, angry front-page editorials in the Chinese media blared scathing criticisms of the