Viewing cable 05MUSCAT536
Title: EDUCATION FAIR PROMOTES STUDY IN U.S.

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT5362005-04-02 05:31:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000536 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARPI (TROBERTS) ECA/PE/V/R 
NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY, PAGNEW) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SCUL KPAO PREL MU
SUBJECT: EDUCATION FAIR PROMOTES STUDY IN U.S. 
 
 
¶1.  Summary:  Embassy Muscat and U.S. Educational Group organized 
an educational fair to correct misperceptions about pursuing 
higher education in the United States and to inform Omani 
students of the high quality undergraduate and graduate programs 
that U.S. universities provide.  Fourteen U.S. universities were 
represented at the fair, which attracted more than 200 students 
and their parents. Prior to the beginning of the fair, the 
Embassy published an op-ed article under the Ambassador's byline, 
welcoming Omani students to the U.S. and dispelling 
misperceptions about studying in the United States. End Summary. 
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Marketing American Higher Education 
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¶2.  Embassy Muscat, in collaboration with the U.S. Educational 
Group (USEG), a U.S.-based organization committed to assisting 
young men and women from the Arab world in pursuing international 
higher education, arranged an education fair in Muscat from 
February 26 to 27.  Fourteen U.S. universities participated in 
the fair, including Saint Louis University, University of 
California at Irvine, Ohio University, and Purdue University. 
More than 200 students and their parents attended the fair during 
which the universities outlined admission procedures, financial 
aid options, and course offerings.  The Embassy's educational 
advisor and university representatives also visited select high 
schools to advise students and faculty of educational 
opportunities in the U.S. 
 
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America Welcomes Students 
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¶3.  The number of Omani students studying in the U.S. dropped 
substantially following the attacks of September 11, 2001.  The 
number has risen since then, but remains below pre-September 11 
levels.  The fair was part of the Embassy's strategy to conduct 
outreach with young Omanis and increase the number of students 
opting to study in the U.S. by addressing the misperceptions that 
the U.S. no longer welcomes Arab students and that U.S. visa 
procedures are cumbersome and require long delays. 
 
¶4.  The educational advisor explained student visa procedures, 
pointing out that the vast majority of Omani students wishing to 
study in the U.S. obtain their visas in one day.  University 
representatives assured students that Arab students are welcome 
on their campuses and highlighted the respect for religious and 
cultural differences that exists at colleges and universities 
throughout the United States. 
 
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Omani Feedback 
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¶5. The Omanis who attended the education fair praised the Embassy 
and the universities for organizing the event. One parent told 
the PAO, "My son has always wanted to study in America, but after 
9/11 I was concerned that something bad might happen to him 
there.  This fair and the letter from your ambassador published 
in the paper the other day is causing me to reconsider."  Another 
parent commented, "I heard that it was almost impossible to get a 
visa to visit the States.  It just goes to show that you should 
not rely on what others tell you.  It is best to go directly to 
the source."  These comments suggest that Omanis are gradually 
coming to understand that many of their perceptions of the U.S. 
are mistaken. 
 
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Getting the Word Out 
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¶6.  Prior to the beginning of the educational fair, local 
newspapers published the ambassador's op-ed piece entitled, 
"America's Open Arms."  The op-ed reflected our commitment to 
encourage more Omani students to study in the U.S. and our firm 
conviction that foreign students enrich American society and help 
to build bridges of