Education USA NZWhile I was in Washington last week I had a very productive meeting with my friends at the EducationUSA operation at the State Department.

I discussed the Embassy’s educational programs and efforts, and my DC colleagues filled me in on a variety of online and in-person resources available through their office to help international students seek schooling in the U.S.

Today I thought I’d share with you an interactive EducationUSA webpage that covers the five steps for getting from here to there:  (1) researching your options, (2) completing your application, (3) financing your studies, (4) applying for your student visa, and (5) preparing for your trip.

On the first screen you can select whether you are interested in an undergraduate degree, a graduate or professional degree, English language study, or short-term educational programs. Within whichever category you select, the site will move you through the above five steps, providing advice and links to the particular information that you need.

continue reading…

Yesterday was International Youth Day. Established by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, International Youth Day is intended to focus attention on improving the status of young folk, including with respect to health, education, substance abuse, conflict resolution, and employment. This year’s theme was Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth, framed as a global call to action to develop and engage in partnerships with and for youth.

International Youth Day logo.

This year’s theme is music to my ears. We have restructured Embassies Wellington and Apia to devote a quarter of our program time and funds to projects involving youth and education because, in my view, the best chance for addressing today’s biggest challenges is through properly preparing, mentoring, and empowering tomorrow’s leaders.

In her official International Youth Day statement, Secretary Clinton similarly emphasized the importance of empowering young people to effect change in their communities. She has spoken frequently and passionately about that topic.


As I mentioned before, the State Department has an Office of Global Youth Engagement and a Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues, Zeenat Rahman. Zeenat recently assumed that role from my good friend Ronan Farrow, who in turn had relieved my good friend Andrew Cedar. I’ve spent more time with the Special Youth Advisers than with most other DC-based colleagues, and I am a great admirer of the work they do.

From right to left: Emily Swan, Keoni Kealoha Maheloha, Mahinia-a-rangi Baker, Areti Metuamate, Kieran Brown, Edon Hoppener, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Hori Henare-Tamihana, U.S. Ambassador Huebner, Samuel Williamson, Horiana Irwin, Nick Chapman, Kate Stone, Andrew Goddard.

Secretary Clinton and I meet with several of my Wellington student advisers.

Social media is at the core of much of our youth outreach, and Zeenat has already jumped into a series of Google+ Hangouts with students around the world. These hangouts bring together diverse voices for intimate discussions about issues facing youth today, with an emphasis on what young people are doing and can do to address those issues.

One of my student advisers from Canterbury University, Dhamendra Unka, joined a recent hangout with Zeenat despite the 2 a.m. (New Zealand) start time. He shares below notes about the conversation in which he participated.

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Dhamendra Unka.

Dhamendra Unka.

Notes From a Hangout, by Dhamendra Unka

Recently, I engaged in a Google+ Hangout with Zeenat Rahman with 7 fellow youth council delegates from varying nations.  The discussion focused on key issues facing youth in each of the nations represented, and how the respective youth councils were engaging with these particular issues.

The broad theme of the discussion was to learn how the youth councils have engaged with their communities and governments to raise awareness and positive action in relation to various issues.

As I listened to some of the insights from students from Latvia, Uganda, Nepal, and other developing countries, the question arose in my mind: Are the issues facing youth in New Zealand as pertinent as those facing youth in Uganda? The answer to me was yes, these issues are as pertinent, but the way we respond to and engage with these issues may be inherently different.

The delegate from Uganda talked about community work he was undertaking in area of human development. He saw youth involvement as paramount to the development of Uganda. 51% of the population of Uganda are under the age of 18, therefore problems that face youth literally face the majority of the society.

US Embassy Youth Advisory Council.

The American Ambassador to Kathmandu with his Youth Advisory Council.

The student from Nepal raised interesting issues relating to de-monarchism and new social and political issues which have arisen in the process of building a new democratic Nepal. Youth in this context need to be interested in the development of the new systems to ensure the country’s future success.

In Mexico, there were questions around getting youth more engaged in political discourse, to potentially avoid messy elections and governing party term monopolies in the country. The youth council meets on a weekly basis, has an inter-university network, and uses Facebook to discuss and debate government policy, bills, and legislation. This makes youth directly part of the democratic process, it also heightens awareness about the society – this awareness has the potential to grow and spread, bringing much needed scrutiny and development.

Secretary Clinton Meets With Youth in Action Exchange Participants in Mexico. State Department photo by Michael Gross.

Secretary Clinton meets with youth advisers in Mexico.

She also touched on the problems with drug cartels, which not only take a terrible toll on the whole of the Mexican society, but also damage the lives of youth, and makes it difficult to support youth development and interaction when there is a lingering fear within the society.

The delegate from Latvia talked about the groups she was involved in which have educational and political aims to foster youth development and awareness. They also focus on getting youth involved in government and politics to make Latvia a more representative democracy and ensure a strong future base of voters.

Colin Graffy, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs meets with young leaders in Riga, Latvia.

Colin Graffy from the State Department meets with young leaders in Riga, Latvia.

The delegates from these countries presented similar themes of issues facing youth in their countries; civic and political engagement, development, and supporting democracy, problems we do not see in New Zealand on the same scale.

When it came to me, I talked about the fact that New Zealand youth do not face the same issues, and the problems our youth face are well serviced by countless community and government organisations. This is not to say we are without problems, but by learning a bit more about the sorts of issues others are facing I immediately started thinking more about what the youth of NZ might be able to do to offer support to youth communities abroad.

Members of the Student Advisor Group in Wellington meet with DAS Frankie Reed to discuss the future of US/Pacific relations.

Frankie Reed, current American Ambassador to Suva, discusses careers in diplomacy with some of Ambassador Huebner’s Kiwi student advisers.

I also started wondering if perhaps young people in NZ may take some things for granted since we often aren’t concerned with our ability to be involved in communities and have a say in our government. We assume these opportunities won’t be threatened. Perhaps this is an overly simplistic point of reflection, but it was a start to putting into action some of the ideas and theories for dealing with a more globalized world than I’ve learned about in classes. It was a bit of an eye-opener and got me excited to discover what the positive outcomes of these sorts of relationships can bring.

From this unique dialogue what I wish to achieve is support. I want to see New Zealand youth engaging positively with our international colleagues to increase development, aid in information sharing, and understand different cultures. With our support at the early stage, I believe development will naturally arise.

One of the views I took while awaiting the start of the hangout at 2am NZ time.

One of the pix I [Dhamendra] took while awaiting the start of the 2 a.m. hangout.

I will end on the same note that closed the hangout. What can youth do in New Zealand to help? How can we become more active and responsible citizens? How best can we achieve this?

I, for one, plan to keep asking these questions of future and current New Zealand leaders, as well as Zeenat Rahman and the young leaders I met through the hangout. I hope to find ways to work collectively on solutions.

- DU

***

It certainly sounds as though the hangout stimulated Dhamendra’s thinking about global engagement, and I look forward to continuing that conversation. Our biggest challenges are shared problems not defined or confined by national borders. Thus, solutions will require collective discussion and action. And as Dhamendra suggests, that isn’t the same thing as merely projecting parochialism successfully across borders.



Thanks to Dhamendra for sharing his experience at the hangout. And hearty welcome to Zeenat as she settles into her new role. I’ll keep you informed as the hangouts proceed.

Finally, FYI, I’ve been working to persuade Zeenat to come visit my student groups here in New Zealand and Samoa. I’ll let you know when/if we get dates on the calendar in ink. In the meantime, you can help my campaign by tweeting to her — @Zeenat — that she really needs to book that ticket.

Two weeks ago I talked about the oldest tertiary education institution in the United States, private Ivy League titan Harvard University. This week I thought I’d turn my gaze westward, to a highly regarded public university in our great heartland State of Iowa.

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The University of Iowa was established in 1847 in Iowa City, located in the southeast region of the State. Founded less than two months after Iowa was admitted to the Union, the University has grown to encompass more than 120 major buildings spread over 1,900 acres.

The school has a sizeable student population – approximately 21,500 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate and professional students – but it assiduously maintains an impressively low student-faculty ratio of 16:1. Small class sizes and close interaction with professors are two of Iowa’s great assets.

Described by education commentators as a “flagship public university” and a “public Ivy,” the University of Iowa is widely recognized as a leading research institution and one of the nation’s most prestigious public academies.

Among other distinctions, the University has had 21 graduate programs ranked in the top ten in their fields according to U.S. News and World Report, with various undergraduate programs placing in the top 25 nationally. Asian Correspondent ranks Iowa as one of the top ten international universities in the U.S.

Center of campus. Please click through for image source.

The historic center of campus, which was the first Iowa State Capitol.

Like many public universities (i.e., tertiary schools established and supported by an individual State), Iowa offers a large array of colleges and degrees from which to choose — 11 different faculties with more than 100 distinct fields of study. It is alway a challenge to parse academic highlights, but I think it’s safe to say that the University has particularly notable strengths in medicine, public health, nursing, business, genetic research, hydraulics, speech and hearing, and creative arts, among other things.

Plus, the University contains the world’s most advanced driving simulator, used for behavioral and technology research. There is an innovative engineering communication program. Iowa scientists have made significant contributions to America’s space program, designing and fabricating research instruments for more than 50 successful space missions. The business school has among the most successful job placement and cost recoup records in the world.

Medical school. Please click through for image source.

Part of the new medical school complex.

Iowa’s Art Building West. Flooded in 2008, it will reopen this year for student use.Please click through for image source.

One of the creative arts buildings.

The University of Iowa Campus as seen from across the river. Click through for image source.

The Advanced Technologies Laboratory.

Perhaps the University offering best known outside the United States is the highly regarded Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Founded in 1936, the Workship is a graduate degree program in creative writing designed around actual writing, group readings, peer critique, and public performance. It was the first program in the United States to offer a Masters in Fine Arts in English.

The Workship has produced 25 Pulitzer Prize winners and numerous best-selling authors. In 1967 it launched a special International Writers Program that pulls together a small number of overseas students each year to write, collaborate, critique each other’s work, network, and engage with American professionals and audiences. It’s a highly selective and very powerful opportunity. Thus far 15 Kiwis have attended including poet Hinemoana Baker, about whom I wrote twice in 2010.

The Adler Journalism Building’s courtyard contains a sculpture by James Sanborn, most famous for his work ‘Kryptos’ located outside the CIA’s offices in Langley, Virginia. The words being thrown from the statue are headlines.

The journalism faculty courtyard with a dynamic work by James “Kryptos” Sanborn.

To maintain its small average class size, the University supports a large faculty that contains a great variety of noted scholars, cutting-edge research scientists, well-known authors, Pulitzer Prize winners, former political figures, highly specialized physicians, and numerous members of prestigious scholarly academies.

Notable alumni of the University include Ashton Kutcher, Tennessee Williams, Gene Wilder, iconic American painter Grant Wood, Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, Mary Beth Hurt, Tom Brokaw, pollster George Gallup, Paul Harris (founder of Rotary International), dozens of NFL football players, and miscellaneous larger-than-life personalities such as WWE professional wrestling star Ettore “Big E Langston” Ewen.

The University of Iowa Campus runs along the Iowa River, perfect for picturesque strolls. Click through for image source.

The campus sits along the banks of the scenic Iowa River.

Because the University was established and continues to be supported by the State of Iowa (i.e., funded by taxpaying Iowans), the children of Iowa residents receive a discount on tuition. That’s a common phenomenon in public universities in the United States.

Financial assistance, however, is available to all students (including international students) who qualify based on need or achievement. Overall, more than 70% of the students at the University receive some financial aid, and an impressive 20% of all undergraduate students receive full scholarships.

Autumn spans a beautiful several months in Iowa, when the leaves turn to fiery shades or red and yellow.

Typical for American schools, the campus has plenty of open, airy, green spaces.

In addition to acclaimed academic programs, Iowa has the usual American blizzard of extracurricular choices for students. Among its major strengths are sports and athletics. The varsity football team is a perennial Big Ten Conference powerhouse and competitive nationally in the top 25 college teams every year.

The University also has successful Division I teams in more than 20 sports for men and women including golf, rowing, basketball, baseball, field hockey, tennis, track & field, and much more. The wrestling program has produced numerous national champions in recent years.

Please click through for image source.Hawkeye football

71,000 fans regularly pack the University stadium to cheer the varsity football team.

There are more than 450 student clubs and organizations including the usual range of outdoor adventure activities, intramural sports teams, a student-run television station, vibrant Greek (fraternity & sorority) houses, and groups devoted to various political, philosophical, international, environmental, social, cultural, arts, music, religious, and professional interests.

There is, for example, a Juggling Club. The Dance Marathon Club runs 24-hour dance marathons that have to-date raised more than US$ 11 million to support youth with cancer. The Tuba-Euphonium Studio engages in a variety of activities including building immense musical instruments and playing a highly popular Christmas concert.

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The Tuba-Euphonium folks at work.

Although I would argue against choosing to attend any university on this basis alone, I should note that Iowa also has a dynamic social scene, legendary in scope, diversity, and vigor. For those who value league tables as evidence of things, Iowa is consistently ranked in the top ten “party schools” by both Playboy magazine and the Princeton Review.

Fortunately, I hasten to remind, that reputation for fun coexists comfortably with a strong, consistent reputation for achievement and excellence.

University of Iowa, in the American heartland. Please click through for image source.

Students gather for Earth Day celebrations.

Like other American schools, Iowa has enduring campus traditions that enrich student life. Just to name a few off the top of my head …

The Unversity’s colors are black and gold, perhaps reflecting rich dark soil producing abundant corn. (More than 90% of the land in the State of Iowa is devoted to agriculture).

The University’s students and sports teams are nicknamed the Hawkeyes, which is derived from the home State’s own nickname. (The State of Iowa has long been known as the “Hawkeye State,” purportedly in honor of great Chief Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk Indians.)

Herky the Hawk enters the stadium amidst band and cheer squad before the football team. Click through for image source.

Pre-game pageantry.

The Hawkeyes have a heated cross-state sports rivalry with the Cyclones of Iowa State University which culminates each year in a hard-fought football battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

One of the more curious local traditions is the voracious consumption of large turkey legs — sold by the legendary Chuck from his “Big A#@ Turkey Leg” stall — before the start of football games at the University. Chuck is beloved by generations of Hawkeyes for his largely good-natured heckling of the crowds of sports fans who pass his barbeque pit on their way into the stadium.

Chuck doesn’t mess around when it comes to Big Turkey Legs. Click through for image source.

Chuck pumps up crowds of tailgaters with his Big A#@ Turkey Legs.

Traditions, though, aren’t just about fun, food, spirit, and good-natured rivalry. The most impressive elements of Iowa’s culture spring from its historic, long-standing reputation for inclusiveness, diversity, open-mindedness, and educational innovation.

Iowa was the first public university in the United States to accept men and women on an equal basis (in 1855). It was the first to officially recognize an LGBT/straight student alliance (in 1970). And it was the first university in the world to accept creative work in theater, writing, music, and art on an equal basis with academic research for degree purposes. The philosophy and core values that drove such steps continue to guide, inform, and enrich the University today.

Students enjoy patio cafes and restaurants in Iowa City during their free evenings.

Students can enjoy large numbers of patio cafes, bistros, & clubs in pedestrian-friendly Iowa City.

As I noted earlier, the University is located in Iowa City in the southeast part of the State, an easy drive to the capital of Des Moines or over into Illinois, Wisconsin, or Missouri.

A charming college town, Iowa City has approximately 68,000 permanent residents and a reputation for being passionate about the arts, with numerous music festivals, three live theaters, and regular visits by Broadway touring companies.

The population has a particular focus on creative writing. In recognition of the town’s “quality, quantity, and diversity” of publishing, UNESCO has recognized Iowa City as one of its six world “Cities of Literature” (along with Dublin, Edinburgh, Norwich, Melbourne, and Reykjavik).

If you would like to learn more about the vibrant culture, entertainment options, clean-green reputation, and other joys of Iowa City life, please browse the municipal website.

For more information about the University of Iowa, including the application process, check out its main website or the graduate program website. If you have a particular interest in creative writing, see the Writers’ Workshop page. And of course, you can contact our Embassy’s educational adviser, Drew Dumas, at DumasAG@state.gov.

Next up in this series will be the University of Southern California, so stay tuned. If there are other specific universities or particular types of tertiary education institutions that you would like me to highlight thereafter, just let me know.

When I speak to students and teachers in New Zealand or Samoa, I almost always get questions about American colleges and universities. The topic is near and dear to my heart, but talking in abstract or general terms can be quite difficult because of the vast number and diversity of choices inherent in the American system.

Please click through for image source.

There are more than 4,500 accredited tertiary education institutions in the United States (along with many hundreds of non-degree programs and unaccredited schools).

The American Government runs only our five military service academies. The rest of our tertiary schools are owned and operated by private institutions, religious institutions, individual States, or municipalities. Thus, each school has a different array of strengths, priorities, programs, degrees, campus environments, student activities, and cultural characteristics.

I don’t think I’ll be Ambassador long enough to talk about each of the 4,500 schools. Every couple of weeks, though, I will try to highlight a particular institution to give you a flavor of the very different kinds of choices, atmospheres, and programs available. I thought it would be only fair to start with America’s first and oldest tertiary school … Harvard University.

Harvard was established in 1636 by leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Originally called New College, the school was renamed in 1639 to honor John Harvard, a young Puritan minister who on his deathbed bequeathed his extensive library and half his estate to the enterprise.

In the 376 years since its founding, Harvard has grown into an unsurpassed educational powerhouse. The school’s faculties and programs consistently rate at the top of league tables and “best” lists. For the past several years Times Higher Education magazine of London has ranked Harvard as having the best reputation for education on Earth.

The heart of Harvard University, along the banks of the Charles River. Please click through for image source.

The heart of Harvard University, along the banks of the Charles River.

Harvard College has approximately 6,700 undergraduate students, with another 14,500 enrolled in the University’s graduate and professional schools.

Because of its commitment to small class sizes, Harvard maintains just over 2,100 faculty members, plus more than 10,000 academic appointments in its teaching hospitals. The faculty is known to be highly accessible, and approximately half of the undergraduate courses each semester have 10 or fewer students.

I find some of the school’s other numbers equally impressive. By my count, 44 Harvard professors have been awarded Nobel prizes. The University’s total real estate footprint covers more than 5,000 acres. Its library is one of the largest on Earth, containing more than 17 million volumes.

Entering the Widener Library. Please click through for image source.

An entrance to the Widener Library.

I cannot really discuss the specific academic offerings in any detail here because of their great scope, depth, and diversity. The University comprises 11 principal academic units – Harvard College, 9 distinct faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study – that oversee various schools and divisions that award academic degrees.

Several of the graduate and professional programs are legendary, including Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Divinity School, and others. Those schools are household names around the world for good reason.

Annenberg Hall, the freshman dining room. Please click through for image source.

Annenberg Hall, the freshman dining room.

Academically, if you want it, Harvard has it. The same statement holds true in other aspects of student life including with respect to co-curricular offerings. There is a full array of interscholastic and intramural sports teams, including rugby and rowing, and some of those teams are perennial collegiate powerhouses.

The school hosts a bewildering array of student activities that seem to touch every interest and sub-interest in fields from music, art, dance, and painting to culture, politics, debate, religion, ethnic affinity, philosophy, environmental advocacy, human rights, recreation, and more. I started to count the student groups listed on the school’s websites but gave up at 200.

And humor is not neglected. Among the best known of Harvard’s student groups (and one of my favorites) is the Harvard Lampoon, the world’s oldest continuously published humor magazine. Founded in 1876, it launched the National Lampoon, sired folks like Conan O’Brien, and inducted as honorary members visiting personages such as Winston Churchill, John Wayne, and Paris Hilton.

 A Crimson crew rowing through campus, an iconic Harvard sight. Please click through for image source.

A Crimson crew rowing through campus, an iconic Harvard sight.

I would also personally commend to you the Harvard University Marching Band (HUMB), with which I tangled during my Princeton years. Like Princeton’s, Harvard’s band is best classified as a “scramble” band, running between formations and lacing its routines with humor, sarcasm, literary references, and double entendres. In 1970 the University administration began insisting on pre-approving football game half-time shows after a salute to Harvard’s first year of co-education scandalized alumni.

I feel compelled to note two other bits of HUMB history. I was impressed to learn that Harvard appears to have pioneered the sub-genre of “skating” bands when its musicians laced up and took to the ice in 1954 to perform between periods of the big Yale-Harvard ice hockey game. Also, I recall hearing when I was on campus that the infamous Unabomber played in the Harvard band before marching off to other activities.

The Harvard Marching Band expresses a political opinion. Please click through for image source.

The Harvard Marching Band expresses a political opinion.

Harvard is a private institution, and tuition is not free or cheap. The school, though, has very generous scholarship programs because it is committed to attracted the best and brightest students, not the most affluent. More than 60 percent of Harvard undergraduate students receive financial aid.

The average scholarship grant this year is US$ 40,000, and the school’s total investment in financial aid is more than US$ 160 million annually.  Harvard has one of the largest academic endowments on Earth, last year topping US$ 32 billion, raised almost exclusively from its loyal alumni.

One of the dormitories. Please click through for image source.

Matthews Hall, a dormitory I camped in with friends during one of our roadtrips up from Princeton.

More than 360,000 Harvard alumni are alive today, including more than 52,000 citizens of approximately 200 countries other than the United States. That constitutes an extraordinarily powerful, valuable, and influential network.

Eight American Presidents attended Harvard, as have many dozens of students who went on to become presidents, heads of state, and heads of governments of other countries. Two-thirds of the current U.S. Supreme Court attended Harvard. There is no way to list or even count the many hundreds of prominent political figures, CEOs, publishers, scientists, inventors, writers, and other trailblazers who are Harvard alumns.

To a greater degree than many other places, I believe, American universities are institutionally focused on preserving, leveraging, and networking the affinity that students and alumni naturally feel for their schools. One of the great assets that a Harvard education provides, similar to many other American universities, is graduation into a large, vibrant, and supportive alumni network.

John Harvard continues to watch over Harvard Yard, the heart of campus. Please click through for image source.

John Harvard continues to watch over Harvard Yard, the heart of campus.

There are plenty of other marvelous Harvardianic things to talk about, but I don’t want to tax your patience. Just a few final notes about matters that American universities tend to take quite seriously. 

First, Harvard’s motto is “Veritas,” which is Latin for “truth.” The motto is ubiquitous on campus, and interpretations of that imperative inform how the university approaches its charge.

Second, the school’s color is crimson, selected over magenta on May 6, 1875 in iconic American fashion by plebiscite of the undergraduates. The next day the student newspaper, then called The Magenta, changed its name to The Crimson

Third, Harvard believes itself to have an intense rivalry with Yale.  When I was studying at Yale, I don’t recall anyone noticing.

Downtown Boston at night. Please click through for image source.

The historic core of very modern downtown Boston at night.

Harvard does not stand off on a hill by itself, of course. The main campus is located in historic Cambridge, Massachusetts, directly across the Charles River from Boston.

Boston is a vibrant city of approximately 620,000 people, sitting at the heart of a metro area with approximately 4.6 million people. Within easy reach of Harvard Yard are staggering numbers of museums, cultural and entertainment venues, historical sites, outdoor recreation options …

… and other educational institutions. Harvard’s immediate neighbors include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, Brandeis University, Boston University, and Boston College, constituting one of the most dynamic intellectual, scientific, and technology precincts on Earth and seeding Boston’s extensive high tech and biotech industries.

 Boston. Please click through for image source.

Part of the Boston skyline from one of the seafaring city’s many marinas.

I’ll start to wrap up by circling back to where I started, with a bit of history. During the War of Independence colonial soldiers were quartered in Harvard’s buildings. Eight Harvard alumni signed the Declaration of Independence.

When General George Washington drove the British out of Boston, Harvard trustees voted to confer upon him an honorary degree which he rode over on horseback to accept the same day. Riled by the activism of Harvard students and faculty, a subsequent President, Richard Nixon, took to referring to Harvard as “the Kremlin on the Charles.”

I’m a particular partisan of another kind of president, University president James Bryant Conant, who led Harvard from 1933 to 1953. He viewed higher education as a path of opportunity for the talented rather than a privilege of the wealthy or well-born. He aggressively recruited promising students from all walks of life, admitted women to the professional schools, and led his faculty to issue a formal manifesto on meritocracy that cemented Harvard’s eminence and profoundly influenced the course of American education.

Boston in autumn. Please click through for image source.

Autumn is a particularly beautiful time in Boston and throughout New Zealand.

It was discovered decades later that President Conant had left a sealed envelope in the Harvard archives with instructions that the envelope should be given to the person leading Harvard into the 21st Century. Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first woman president, received the envelope and broke the seal in 2007.

The letter within expressed President Conant’s hopes and fears for the institution, concluding, “That Harvard will maintain the traditions of academic freedom, of tolerance for heresy, I feel sure.” His confidence was well placed, and his legacy secure.

For more information about Harvard’s programs or the process for applying to attend, see the University’s website or the websites for Harvard’s various graduate and professional schools. You can also contact our Embassy’s educational adviser, Drew Dumas, at DumasAG@state.gov. For more information about the great city of Boston, check out CityofBoston.org.