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Cablegate: Usunesco - Fulbright Symposium

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Lucia A Keegan 11/08/2006 02:48:47 PM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS PARIS 07284

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: UNESCO
INFO: POL ECON AMBU AMB AMBO DCM SCI

DISSEMINATION: UNESCOX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB:LVOLIVER
DRAFTED: DCM: AKOSS
CLEARED: PA:JROLLAND

VZCZCFRI844
RR RUEHC RUCNSCO
DE RUEHFR #7284 3120943
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080943Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2942
INFO RUCNSCO/UNESCO COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PARIS 007284

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNESCO KPAO SCUL EAID
SUBJECT: USUNESCO - FULBRIGHT SYMPOSIUM
1. SUMMARY: Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and
Cultural Affairs, Dina Habib Powell, gave remarks at the Closing
Plenary Session of the Fulbright New Century Scholar (NCS) Symposium
in at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on October 24, 2006. The Director

General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura, U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO
Louise Oliver and U.S. Ambassador to France Craig Stapleton also
spoke at the conference, where thirty-one Fulbright New Century
Scholars from 22 countries gathered to present their recommendations
on improving higher education systems worldwide. END SUMMARY

2. In an indication of American commitment to global higher
education, Assistant Secretary Powell announced that the State
Department would continue its financing for another year of inquiry
into the issues of access and equity - the first time that the work
of a cohort of New Century Scholars has been extended beyond the
original yearlong mandate. Assistant Secretary Powell also announced
the creation of two new U.S. initiatives: an International Fulbright
Science and Technology Award, and an International Fusion Arts
Exchange Program. Both programs will enable young people from
different countries to come together for academic exchange at
American universities. After speaking at the closing session,
Assistant Secretary Powell met privately with the Director General
to discuss education issues in more detail, and hosted a lunch for
the scholars at UNESCO as well.

3. At the final Plenary session at UNESCO headquarters the scholars
discussed problems confronting higher education around the world -
including corruption, discrimination, and the rising cost of
education - and each of the working groups laid out a series of
recommendations for how such threats could be minimized. Their
proposals include creating national or regional evaluation bodies to
examine both the academic quality and physical infrastructure of
universities, developing curricula that reflect social problems,
setting clear standards for student and faculty conduct,
establishing mechanisms to ensure that low-income students have
access to higher education, and defining "reasonable" conditions for
foreign students to secure visas and study permits.

4. The closing plenary session was hosted by the U.S. Department of
State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, The French
Fulbright Commission and the U.S. Permanent Mission to UNESCO, with
the help and cooperation of UNESCO staff at all levels of the
planning. All UNESCO ambassadors were invited to the session, and
many of them attended.

5. COMMENT: Holding the closing plenary session at UNESCO provided
an opportunity to showcase USG efforts and policy in the realm of
higher education to a UNESCO audience. On a practical level, the US
Mission was able to broaden its contact base and develop more
cooperative relationships with the Education Sector and the Bureau
of Public Information. Several scholars noted that the program had
provided perspective-widening opportunities. A press release was
sent out to a wide base of US and UNESCO media contacts, and the
event was covered by the Chronicle of Higher Education, whose
journalist conducted in-depth interviews with several NCS scholars
and Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Farrell, and published a feature
on the symposium on October 25, 2006. END COMMENT

6. This cable was approved by Assistant Secretary Powell's office.

OLIVER

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