During the post-war period, the International Educational Exchange Program has increasingly become one of the most creative and valuable means of international cooperation and mutual assistance between the U.S. and over 100 countries participating in the program. U.S. policy and support for the program are set forth in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (75 Stat. 535). Under the auspices of the Exchange Program, large numbers of foreign nationals come to the U.S. as students, visiting professors, lecturers and research scholars for educational assignments in U.S. colleges, universities, hospitals and industrial laboratories. As part of the same program an increasing number of U.S. faculty members and students go on educational assignments to foreign countries.
The U.S. scientific and engineering community and the Department of Defense, particularly through its extensive program of basic research contracts with universities, have benefited substantially from the doctoral and postdoctoral research of the foreign exchange scientists and engineers associated with these contracts. Defense industry contractors have also gained substantially from the participation of these highly qualified exchange scientists and engineers in industrial research and development programs during the 12-18 month practical training period generally permitted exchange visitors upon the completion of their academic studies.
Basic to the integrity and success of the Exchange Program is the fulfillment of the commitment that exchange visitors return home at the completion of their program and utilize to the benefit of their own countries the knowledge and skills acquired in the U.S. Scientific and engineering talent is an important national asset which participating countries lose, and can ill afford to lose, when their gifted students and research scholars wish to remain in the U.S. and are encouraged to do so by Americans.