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Today, I’m compelled to express my unequivocal support for the international student community at D’Amore-McKim and Northeastern. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued policy guidance for the fall 2020 semester that impacts international students studying or intending to study at Northeastern and other academic institutions in the United States. International students on non-immigrant F-1 visas would be required to leave the United States if they attended schools that were operating entirely online. The policy also raises questions about whether international students who are currently in their home countries would be permitted to pursue their studies from U.S. universities remotely. 

First things first: As the communication from President Aoun made abundantly clear, international students on our campuses will be utilizing Hybrid NUflex, our innovative new instruction model for fall 2020, and are unlikely to be affected by the policy. As a matter of principle, because international students are an integral component of our community and taking a stand against this divisive approach to support our students is the right thing to do, Northeastern is also joining Harvard and MIT in their lawsuit against DHS in order to rescind the guidance. 

We live in a globally interconnected world. Isolationism is not a good strategy when we compete for the best student, faculty, and staff talent from around the world. Talent will just flow elsewhere to other countries. Also, while dealing with a global pandemic over the past several months, it’s become clear that the best insurance for cushioning future worldwide shocks is to build a strong global cooperation network. Therefore, inculcating a global mindset in our students is imperative. 

Northeastern is a diverse and truly global community by choice. At D’Amore-McKim, we pride ourselves on fostering our students’ global literacy, as we strongly believe that it prepares them for successful careers in the global economy. To that end, we have invested heavily in building a world class International Business and Strategy group within D’Amore-McKim, and we have a pioneering Center for Emerging Markets that studies and diffuses best practices throughout the world. Our students have opportunities for global immersion, including learning at our various global campuses and other experiential study abroad opportunities like international field studies, global co-ops, and Dialogue of Civilizations (DOC) courses.

Having a global student population on our campuses also reinforces this belief that multicultural immersion will lead to more successful career outcomes. International students are an important part of our fabric. They also contribute significantly to what makes higher education in the U.S. great.They bring their diverse ideas, talents, and perspectives and enrich classroom experiences for all students. By virtue of this exposure to a microcosm of the global world and learning from one another, our students – both domestic and international – gain valuable cultural agility that stands them in good stead in the global marketplace. This is our compact with the global society. 

Higher education institutions in the U.S. have been a dominant force for good in the world. Hence, we have always attracted the best and the brightest global minds – about 1.1 million students this year – who want to learn from world-class faculty and alongside diverse students. International students contributed approximately $45 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018. These students advance knowledge through research, become valuable employees in companies, and commercialize high quality ideas as entrepreneurs and innovators, thereby contributing immensely to our local economies. Students who live the U.S. values here and return home after their education become lifelong cultural ambassadors for our country, a soft power that is extraordinarily valuable in the long run. 

Our globality is our strength, and we are committed to being an inclusive community. We welcome international students from around the world, as they enrich our D’Amore-McKim community, and we will continue to support and advocate for our international students, faculty, and staff.

Raj Echambadi
Dunton Family Dean
D’Amore-McKim School of Business

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