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A bid to enroll Arabs in U.S. colleges

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During its tours, the group tells Arab teens they have the opportunity to take their culture to the States, "to teach people about [themselves], and where [they're] coming from, and, at the same time, to learn from people in the States. So it's a two way street," says Ibrahim Kanan, an MIT senior engineering major and CAAMP member.

Still, in a post-9/11 landscape, conveying this message to students in countries like Libya or the West Bank is challenging, especially as tighter US visa restrictions have discouraged many from applying, says Iman Kandil, CAAMP's co-founder and an MIT junior.

Though the number of all international students declined steadily from 2001 until last year – when it began an uptick again – the number of students from the Middle East (excluding Israel) and North Africa still constitutes less than 4 percent of international students in the US. That's a drop of nearly half compared with the 2000-01 academic year just before the 9/11 attacks, when Arabs were 7 percent of international students.

Meanwhile, students from India, China, South Korea, and Japan alone totaled 43 percent of international students last year.

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