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International Studies? Funding for Whom?

Reader comment on item: [Middle East Studies:] Wasted Money

Submitted by Gary Goode (United States), Jul 2, 2003 at 10:47

It's been almost 20 years since I first set foot on Syracuse University campus, and at that time my impression of the "International Studies" facilities where that they were for foreign students. The building was always full of foreigners, had decor that was distinctly foreign, served foreign food and seemed to be in the service of those foreigners.

Now, this country was founded on the principle of what I call the "Price is Right" syndrome, which loosely means "Come on down!" especially when referring foreign students attending domestic universities, and indeed, when the "Price is Right".

However, in my naivete at the time a glimmer of thought entered my mind that something was not quite right with the resources and facilities of a domestic educational institution being used by a foreign student to obtain an education, then exported that education out of the country to be taken back to that student's respective country. I felt this was not an appropriate use of educational resources, especially those resources publicly funded. As a disclaimer, my opinion may have been clouded by the fact that I was working my way through college delivering pizza, and it wasn't driving any Mercedes as I saw many an affluent foreign student driving.

We as a country see little benefit from this activity, and now it is even more so since we have seen education exported from this country to be used in nefarious ways in other parts of the world. One only needs to look at where the top germ scientists in Iraq got their educations. We are our own worst enemy in these cases.

So I would ask you the question, from my own possibly ill-informed opinion, just who exactly these international studies are intended to benefit? And how does that differ from who they ultimately end up benefitting?

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