Date March 30, 2017
Media Contact

From Hong Kong, Paxson asserts the vital importance of international students

Brown President Christina Paxson visited CNBC’s studio in Hong Kong for a segment on the impact of U.S. trade and immigration policies on American universities’ ability to fulfill their educational missions.

HONG KONG [Brown University] — During a weeklong trip to three major Asian cities, Brown University President Christina Paxson visited CNBC’s Hong Kong studio and said that international students remain a vital part of Brown’s ability to fulfill its research and teaching mission, despite the message being sent from Washington.

“The president’s policies are sending out a message to the world that international students may not be welcome in the U.S…” Paxson said. “At Brown University, we want international students. They are vital to what we do.”

Paxson joined CNBC anchor Bernie Lo for the channel’s March 29 “Squawk Box” segment, which is filmed in Hong Kong. David Roche, a global affairs expert and president of Independent Strategy, joined them for a conversation on the impact of U.S. trade and immigration policies on higher education and particularly for international students.

Specifically, Paxson cited the potential long-term effects of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration along with new restrictions for expedited H-1B visas. Those visas bring highly skilled and educated people to work in the U.S. — including faculty, researchers and post-docs at Brown — and are critical for international students looking for employment in America after graduation.

Now more than ever, university leaders must speak out publicly about the critical importance of international students and scholars to American higher education, Paxson said.

“It’s more important than ever that we stand up and say: Look, what universities like Brown University do, we’re about advancing knowledge, we’re about discovery, we’re about creating what I think of as global public goods.”

Paxson pointed out that while the current political climate in the U.S. offers new challenges, including for higher education and its students and faculty, the landscape will continue to shift.

“Frankly, these policies are not going to last forever. Brown has been around for over 250 years…” she said. “We’re going to keep doing what we do best.”

The guest appearance on CNBC came as part of a visit to Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong by Paxson and Edward Steinfeld, director of Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and leader of Watson’s China Initiative. Video clips from the interview are available here.