November 14, 2005

Commission endorses study abroad proposal

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is lauding a report that calls for sending one million American undergraduate students to study abroad annually by 2017.

The bi-partisan Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program released its report on the need for the program today (Nov. 14). The commission calls on the president and Congress to make $50 million available annually beginning in 2006 to fund a Lincoln Fellowship Program.

"The commission's action plan represents a substantial step toward realizing Paul Simon's vision of dramatically increasing the number of American college and university students participating in study abroad programs," said Mike Lawrence, director of the institute.

"This plan deserves solid and strong support from the Congress. It responds to the need Paul articulated so passionately and effectively," he said. "Young Americans need to broaden their knowledge and understanding of other nations and their people, especially in countries where our students have not traditionally studied. The institute salutes the commission for its diligence and determination to move ahead on Paul's proposal, and we look forward to seeing it move even closer to fruition."

Prior to his death in December 2003, former U.S. Senator and public policy institute founder Paul Simon worked tirelessly on his vision for renewing international education and for establishing the commission to design the program. Legislation that called for the creation of the commission passed in January 2004. The commission met for the first time last December.

The commission's complete report, in a PDF file, a news release, and additional information are available at Information on a special briefing, at 10 a.m. CST, Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Washington, D.C., is available at

For more information, contact institute director Mike Lawrence at 618/453-4004.

Creating citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.