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American Universities Abroad

     Most universities in the underdeveloped countries and some in developed countries (e.g. the Sorbonne) are a mess. As a country, America is widely resented, but universities which represent American academia, under different arrangements, are splendid representatives of this country, e.g. the American University of Paris and UDLA.. The American University in Cairo is planning to move to a large suburban campus, and it deserves all support.
     These universities are threatened by local forces which want to bring them into the national system (e.g. Roberts College in Istanbul) or wreck them as symbols of American imperialism (e.g. the American University in Beirut).
     A key link between them and the United States has been the cultural division of the autonomous United States Information Agency, It is now proposed to abolish it and put its activities under the State Department in the name of efficiency. The reality is that the State Department and the Embassies resented any foreign government not under their control. When I toured Latin America under the auspices of Nelson Rockefeller's Coordinator`s Office, the embassy officials and those of that office were often not on speaking terms, even though they were in the same building. One ambassador loudly denounced the appointment of a scientific officer, whom he viewed as unnecessary.
     There is serious concern about the proposed merger. It is being fought by the Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange and by the Association of International Educators.

Ronald Hilton - 10/13/99