Supporting our international scholars and students
July 9, 2019
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
Over the past several months, we have watched with growing concern the change in tenor of the national dialogue regarding the role of universities in supporting the open international exchange of ideas and people, while also preserving U.S. national security interests. Amid increased scrutiny by Congress and government agencies of research endeavors involving foreign-born faculty and students, recent media attention to potential national security threats posed by foreign governments’ access to intellectual property, and foreign nations warning students about studying in the United States, our international community of students and scholars at Johns Hopkins have expressed mounting anxiety and concern.
We write today to reaffirm our enduring commitment to our international students, researchers, and patients. The success of a research university like ours is predicated on the open, robust exchange of ideas; enhanced by our ability to welcome people with different academic and practical training, experiences, cultural backgrounds, and viewpoints; and improved by our capacity to nurture talent from around the world.
Johns Hopkins has a long and storied history of international collaboration in research, education, and patient care, from Dr. William Welch’s partnerships in medical education in China in the early 20th century to our academic and clinical commitment to fight AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, our faculty are working in more than 110 countries, and we are expecting an entering class of undergraduates that boasts the highest percentage of international students in our history. They will be welcomed into an academic community that includes more than 7,000 international students, faculty, and researchers, who hail from more than 120 nations and share our commitment to discovery that makes a measurable impact on the quality of human life.
We are also an institution with a proven commitment to protecting our nation’s security and advancing its economic success. Consistent attention to best practices in disclosing, managing, and securing federally funded information and intellectual property protects the integrity of our research and its use beyond the borders of our institution.
We believe that that these twin commitments can and must be maintained, and that we must remain vigilant about the long-term consequences of sacrificing one to the other. When any members of our community unfairly bear the burden of government mistrust simply by virtue of their place of birth, country of residence, or ethnicity, we risk undermining the core tenets of our success as an institution and as a nation. The potential for such scrutiny to have a deadening effect on the free and unfettered pursuit of ideas and the important contributions of international scholars and researchers is distressing in the extreme. Our great societal challenges are not constrained by geographic boundaries, and our pursuit of solutions must therefore also transcend those borders.
As Johns Hopkins pursues innovation and discovery to benefit our nation and our world, we will advocate for sound policies that allow us to continue to be a place of open academic exchange. We remain steadfast in supporting our colleagues and students from abroad who have committed themselves to our shared pursuit of truth and service to humanity.
Ronald J. Daniels
Johns Hopkins University
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Johns Hopkins University
Paul B. Rothman
Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine