Press Release

Our Hearts Go Out to Those Affected By The Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004

All of us at the Institute of International Education are saddened by the earthquake and tsunamis that have devastated South Asia and the entire Indian Ocean region. We are thankful that the members of the staff of IIE's offices in Indonesia, Thailand and India are safe, but we join the world community in grieving for the hundreds of thousands of others who have suffered tragic losses. Our thoughts are particularly with the students and scholars from these areas and their families during this difficult time.

In the weeks and months to come, relief organizations will be working to assist people throughout the region who are struggling to survive in the wake of the catastrophic events. We urge all members of the IIE community to support ongoing relief efforts by making financial contributions or giving of their time and expertise as these nations fight against disease and economic disruption and as they begin to rebuild.

IIE staff in the US and around the world have been in contact with Fulbrighters and other IIE-administered students, scholars and other grantees who are from the affected areas or who were studying, working or traveling in these areas, to confirm their safety and to offer assistance as needed. We are relieved to report that we have reached almost all of them by now. Sadly, several have lost family members and colleagues or are still trying to locate them among the missing. In Indonesia particularly, IIE staff have assisted students who were studying in other countries to try to help or get information about their loved ones at home.

Many universities in the United States have been working to locate and assist their students from South Asia. You can read about some of these efforts on the IIENetwork website.

IIE Launches Emergency Assistance Program for Students from Southeast Asia: Freeman Emergency Assistance for Students (Freeman-EAS) from Southeast Asia

Early next week, with support from the Freeman Foundation, IIE will launch an emergency grants program to help US campuses respond to the financial needs of students from Southeast Asia whose sources of support back home have been affected. Freeman Emergency Assistance for Students (Freeman-EAS) from Southeast Asia, will provide grants of up to $5000 to undergraduates from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia at accredited US institutions who are facing serious financial difficulties due to the tragedy in their region. US campuses will be invited to nominate up to 4 individuals for whom help is urgently needed. The program is utilizing returned and unexpended loan funds from ASIA-HELP (Asian Students in America-Higher Education Loan Program) which IIE established with Freeman Foundation support to assist students affected by the financial crisis in 1997.

We will be sending out more information, along with campus nomination forms, early next week through the IIENetwork and other channels. At this time, IIE is looking for additional funding to help students from other countries affected by the tsunami, and will inform members if such funding is secured.

What campuses are doing around the world:

Many universities in the United States have been working to locate and assist their students from South Asia. You can read about some of these efforts below.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Colleges Move to Aid Victims of Tsunamis

Western Michigan University President issues statement about tsunami disaster

University of Michigan: Students, 'U' organize relief efforts in wake of tsunami disaster

Pittsburgh: Colleges check on foreign students

Foreign students at University of Arkansas reflect on losses in Asia

Colleges helping foreign students after tsunamis

Shanghai Universities aid foreign students from tsunami-hit countries

Wisconsin students miss tsunami, foreign students unaccounted for.

Cornell University: South Asia Tsunami's Effects Felt Here

Foreign students await news about kin back in Asia

RPI students helping tsunami victims

Tsunami 'went right under' Kalamazoo College students

West Virginia and Marshall universities: College Students Missing

NYU message with regard to Indian Ocean tsunami

Dulwich International College, Phuket island, acts as emergency help center


Media Contact

Sharon Witherell
Director, Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5380

Shana Childs
Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5360

IIE Experts

IIE experts on international education are available for interviews or speaking engagements.

Dr. Allan E. Goodman
President and CEO

Peggy Blumenthal 
Senior Counselor to the President