The Student Exchange Boom Following World War II
After World War II, the United States’ rich educational offerings reached an unrivaled status. Students from the Middle East were especially attracted by its academic treasures. Motivated by a need for professionals to support the petroleum industry, the region’s familiarity with Christian missionaries and American oil companies made the United States an easy choice. By the 1970s, Iran was the top sender of students to America, with enrollments exceeding 50,000. In contrast, students from China virtually disappeared, as Mao Ze Deng turned his attention to Russia. Included here is the foreign student census by country, from 1945 through 1979. This remarkable era witnessed the beginnings of initiatives conceived by inspired individuals. Senator J. William Fulbright was one. Another was the flamboyant World War II journalist Dorothy Thompson, who founded AMIDEAST, at the cost of her extraordinary career.
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