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Texas Tech Partners with U.S. Department of State

Texas Tech Partners with U.S. Department of State in Event To Help Protect Students Abroad

Bureau of Diplomatic Security

Washington, DC

Overseas Security Advisory Council Briefs Colleges and Universities on Student Safery and Security

Texas Tech University and the U.S. Department of State's Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) co-hosted a Health, Safety, and Security Seminar today in an effort to help colleges and universities in Texas prepare students and faculty for their overseas experience.

"Studying overseas can be a rewarding experience filled with life-long memories," stated Jackee Schools of the Overseas Security Advisory Council, which is part of the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. "But a crisis, such as a criminal or terrorist attack, natural disaster, or health scare can be devastating, especially to a student in a foreign country and unfamiliar culture."

Texas Tech Vice Provost Tibor Nagy, who served twice as Ambassador during his twenty plus years in Africa as a U.S. diplomat agrees: "As Ambassador, my primary concern was the safety and security of U.S citizens in my country of responsibility, and that remains my highest priority in sending our students abroad. While an international experience is becoming essential for today's students who will work in a globalized world, vulnerabilities are also increasing and we need to be more predictive and proactive in countering them."

According to a November 2007 report issued by the Institute of International Education, more than 223,000 American students participated in study abroad programs in 2005-06, including 8,900 students from universities in Texas.

The safety of American students and academic institutions is very important to the State Department. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has tasked OSAC with the creation of the Health, Safety, and Security Seminar to assist university security advisors develop programs and methods to handle an emergency or crisis overseas. The seminar is presented several times a year throughout the country.

Some of the issues to be discussed at Texas Tech University include:

- U.S. Government assistance to students abroad
- Health and medical environments overseas
- Mental and emotional health support
- Crime and safety
- Emergency preparedness and response training
- Crisis management planning

"There are many steps that people can take ahead of time to prepare themselves for any health or safety issue in a foreign country. The State Department, through OSAC and the Bureau of Consular Affairs, offers a wide range of resources that are readily available to academic institutions," noted Schools. "We want to let universities in Texas know how we can help them."

ENDS

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