During my year in Iraq at the U.S. Embassy and in my current position in Washington, I have experienced firsthand the powerful positive impact of educational and cultural exchange programs on both Iraqis and Americans. People from both countries -- particularly youth -- have so much to learn from one another. An important shared goal of the U.S. and Iraqi governments is to find more ways to bring our citizens together.
The U.S. and Iraq discussed these exchanges at a recent meeting of the U.S.-Iraq Joint Coordinating Committee for Cultural and Educational Cooperation in Washington, co-chaired by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock and Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ali Al-Adeeb. American and Iraqi officials spent a productive morning reviewing our exchanges in the areas of higher education, primary and secondary education, cultural heritage, and youth and sports.
On February 22-23, the Iraqi Embassy in Washington (with support from the State Department) organized a conference that brought together more than 100 representatives of Iraqi and American colleges, universities, and higher education institutions, including presidents of ten major Iraqi universities. This conference helped the visiting Iraqi educators learn more about the U.S. system of higher education, while giving U.S. university representatives a chance to know more about Iraq's educational scene and to explore opportunities for partnership with Iraqi universities. Hundreds of young, bright Iraqis are currently studying on U.S. university campuses with support from the U.S. Fulbright Program and Iraqi government scholarship programs. Minister Al-Adeeb stressed that his government wants more Iraqi students on U.S. campuses, and is committing Iraqi government funds for hundreds of new scholarships.