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US: gov’t promises engagement with ELT sector

A representative of the US government has told English USA members that it will engage and collaborate with them as part of the country’s new commitment to international education. 

Photo: Unsplash

The US Department of Homeland Security has nine MOUs in place with different universities and programs

Speaking at English USA’s 2021 Stakeholders Conference, Eva Millona, assistant secretary for partnership and engagement, at US Department of Homeland Security said that her department will be “working every step of the way with stakeholders” to make sure that they have their voices heard. 

The conference was kicked off with remarks from English USA president Lisa Kraft.

“This year’s theme is all in inclusion, innovation and inspiration… It is amazing to see the diversity of programs and associations in attendance today,” she said. 

“English USA has been very busy. On August 20, 2021, English USA, NAFSA, UCIEP, TESOL, with support from ACCET and CEA, issued a joint association statement, to the Departments of State, Commerce, Education and Homeland Security, with recommendations to include English language programs in their renewed commitment to international education.” 

Speaking to delegates, Millona said that her department has nine MOUs in place with different universities and programs. 

“We are very serious about how we involve our stakeholders, how we bring their voices to the process that we lead. I’m very excited to continue with additional MOUs that we think are extremely important in building a strong workforce, not just for the DHS but for the country generally,” she said.  

“Getting the trust back is key to us – so our role will be real, will be serious, and we are committed to working and providing as much support as we possibly can within our mandate, within our resources, to work on that,” she added.  

During her address, Millona spoke about a move by the US government to reinstate the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council.

“The very fact the secretary is reconstituting the council will give us an opportunity to further collaborate… and to think about what meaningful and strategic implementation means. So we are very serious about our work, it’s a real commitment and it represents the values of this administration, not just the DHS,” said Millona

“DHS will play a larger role in other executive orders that president Biden has signed… [DHS will be] working every step of the way with stakeholders like you to really bring their voices into the process every step of the way.” 

Steve Springer, director of Regulatory Practice Liaison for NAFSA, explained the importance of the council and how it will affect stakeholder engagement. 

“The Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council a super valuable vehicle”

“One of the things that we’ve seen is the agencies have begun to reconstitute their stakeholder engagement functions. Those are just super important because it’s the way that the agencies can get ongoing input from the regulated community. 

“For me, for my money, for the last 20 years, the most valuable kind of stakeholder engagement that we’ve ever had with the agency was through the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council.”

Springer explained the old council was composed of university presidents, association CEOs and provided recommendations to the Secretary of Homeland Security. 

“It’s just absolutely fantastic. We had heard rumours that it was being reconstituted, and I’m so happy to hear [the news], it’s a super valuable vehicle,” he added. 

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