As the bid for the next president begins, one hot topic of conversation has been the definition of a real American citizen, and the question of how much of our domestic resources should be shared with foreign nationals.
There has been a lot of controversy about the idea of refugees and residents of poor countries coming into developed countries to use their resources for education and opportunity. However, in some cases, this becomes an opportunity for these people to bring technology, improvements, and hope back to their natal nations. Though many continue to argue for closed borders due to short-term job loss, there are other long-term benefits to our country as well as abroad that can be realized by keeping an open international educational community.
One fantastic example of this comes from war-torn Afghanistan. Ehsanollah Bayat, a young Afghan engineering student in the 1980’s, has dedicated his life to improving his home country, while establishing a thriving career in the US. According to the Ehsanollah Bayat bio, he studied at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and then went on to become a telecommunications giant. After starting his own Florida based telecom company, he used his success, wealth and knowledge to give back to Afghanistan. He established the first wireless infrastructure in the nation. He has also created radio and wireless companies there, to allow for nationwide access to media.
The US has a need, in many cases, to try and help solve international problems the “American Way”. While this often comes from a place of altruism, there is a need to enlist people who are intimately familiar with the culture, its subtleties, and the roadblocks and avenues which should be followed. By creating an educated community of foreign students who become familiar with the American way, we create a bridge between the two nations. Students afterwards have a distinct advantage, regardless of which country they end up in, in economic diplomacy to help solve complex international problems. They have a sympathy for and a knowledge of both countries, which allows positive solutions that can work for both nations.
There are other, more subtle benefits to the creation of an international learning environment. College students with dorm mates, classmates and greek siblings of other nations are exposed to the reality of people from other nations, and can learn to see past stereotypes. Major world events that happen during a college education timeline will be interpreted differently, and having friends from other nations can help people to become independent thinkers regarding what is best for world events, and to propose positive solutions for global harmony.
Fear of different cultures and nations has always been an issue, but the more exposure to a world that is less frightening and offers more opportunity to all that a developing mind can have, the more positives come out of it. A better quality of life in Afghanistan creates a safer nation, and happier people. This creates a safer world for all of us.