Representatives from 56 colleges and universities, including West Virginia University, have joined the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez on the Obama Administration’s first education services trade mission to Jakarta, Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam.

The trip is taking place from April 2-9.

David Stewart, associate vice president for International and Global Outreach and Michael Wilhelm, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars currently in Asia representing WVU.

This mission is in response to the U.S. Comprehensive Partnership with Indonesia, announced by President Barack Obama in June 2010. Obama has committed an investment of $165 million over five years to support higher education collaboration between the two countries. This partnership is supported by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and WVU. A letter of commitment has been sent to the President.

“As a land-grant research university, dedicated to expanding our global engagement, WVU is proud to support the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership,” said WVU Chief of Staff Jay Cole. “The potential for academic and economic exchange is tremendous and we look forward to making the most of these opportunities for the benefit of WVU and all of West Virginia.”

The mission, led by S�nchez is expected to bring more Vietnamese and Indonesian students to the U.S., as well as open the door for sharing faculty and research.

“The partnership involves an exchange of students, developing partnerships and projects in mining, petroleum, agriculture, education and public health,” Wilhelm said. “We are very fortunate to be chosen as one of the universities to participate in this mission.”

The mission will include education sector briefings, and a student fair at each of the three stops, with the option of matchmaking with potential recruitment partners, or networking with local schools and faculty. Mission participants will interact with the Foreign Commercial Service, the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ministry of National Education in Indonesia, as well as other education specialists and State Department advisors to discuss opportunities, challenges and marketing strategies for each market.

“The schools participating in this mission represent the best of what America has to offer international students,” said S�nchez.

More than 20,000 students from these two countries already attend U.S. colleges and universities. Tuition and living expenses from these students and their families brought in nearly $19 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2009-2010 academic year. Indonesia and Vietnam are key export markets for U.S. companies. Expanding educational opportunities for their students will provide direct benefits to U.S. companies doing business with these critical markets in the future.

“This partnership presents many opportunities for WVU. From the recruitment of students and student exchanges to collaborations in research and curriculum development,” Stewart said. “This will give WVU a global presence in this part of the world.”

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CONTACT: Dr. David Stewart, Student Affairs, International and Global Outreach