By Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr.
Harare, May 5 2017- I want to congratulate all students in Zimbabwe who have received offers of admission from one or more of the over 4,500 accredited institutions of higher learning in the United States. Graduates of U.S. universities have gone on to become leaders and innovators in many fields around the world, and you should be proud of the invitation to join this special and select group of young people whose lives will be changed forever by the dynamism, openness, and quality of campuses across the United States.
Offers of admission are the product of much careful thought and hard work, both by the students who apply and by American universities that conduct a rigorous review of these applications. We recognize the energy and creativity you poured into essays outlining your dreams and ideas, the hard work it took to prepare for English language and other examinations, and the commitments you fulfilled to community service and extra-curricular interests.
Currently, there are nearly 1,300 Zimbabwean students at U.S. higher education institutions, maintaining the United States’ long-standing position as the world’s top host nation for international students. In the past five years, the number of Zimbabwean students at U.S. higher education institutions has increased by 14% making Zimbabwe the sixth leading country of origin among African students in the United States. This is a testament to the unmatched quality of American higher education in the eyes of Zimbabwean students and their families. Zimbabweans who graduate from U.S. universities and colleges go on to become successful professionals and accomplished global scholars. Three recipients of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in the last two years attended U.S universities. Every year more than 23% of Zimbabweans at U.S. colleges are accepted into top American graduate programs, with several going on to assume leadership positions at global institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, UN and other top financial institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Locally, alumni of U.S. colleges have started successful businesses, often hold leadership positions and continue to contribute to the betterment of their country.
International students from diverse backgrounds strengthen ties between the United States and countries around the world, developing the relationships between people and communities that are necessary to solve global challenges. We value inclusion, and actively support students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds on campuses throughout the United States. Colleges and universities across the United States value international students for the unique and diverse perspectives you provide both in and out of classrooms. American students and communities benefit from the unique opportunity interaction brings to expand their own world views, which helps prepare all of us for shared, successful futures in an interconnected world.
U.S. colleges and universities take pride in providing safe, welcoming environments for all their students, and I want to stress how welcome you are in the United States. Many universities have come together to send a specific and direct message to students around the world through the #YouAreWelcomeHere Campaign. I join them in welcoming you to the United States, where our colleges and universities offer valuable educational opportunities to help you meet your life and career goals. We also understand that it can’t be “all studies, all the time” and no matter where you interests lie, U.S. universities are prepared to ensure you have the time of your life while receiving the education for a lifetime. By offering a wide range of extra-curricular activities that include sports, speakers, concerts and plays, U.S. institutions provide you a well-rounded and fun study abroad experience, full of opportunities to be part of a global network.
Consular officials at the US Embassy in Harare and at American embassies and consulates around the world continue to work diligently to process student visa requests, and information about the visa process is available at https://zw.usembassy.gov/visas/. EducationUSA advisers stand ready to answer questions about studying in the United States. You can find an adviser at 4 centers in Zimbabwe; Eastgate, 7th Floor (Gold bridge) in Harare, NUST-American Space in Bulawayo, Gweru Memorial Library, and in Mutare at the Turner Memorial Library. American colleges and universities welcome you, as do the American people and communities throughout our country.
As the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe I personally encourage those of you who have received offers of admission to accept this life-changing opportunity and join your peers in experiencing the unique value of an American higher education.