Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Azimi, Cameron W. "The Lion and the Eagle: The Ramifications of Reduced US-Iran Educational Diplomacy." Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln. March 2021.


Copyright © 2021 Cameron Azimi


In the 2018-2019 school year, the number of Iranian students in the US fell for the first time since 2005. This essay contributes to the educational diplomacy subfield of cultural diplomacy literature by being the first to analyze the causes and effects of this change. By interpreting Iranian student data in the context of political events, it becomes clear that hostile Trump era rhetoric and policy are chiefly responsible. As a result, the US stands to lose economic benefits and influence to states like Russia that are eager to exert soft power through international students. With educational diplomacy being the most enduring link between the US and Iran, this troubling development indicates a bleak future for US-Iran relations. Furthermore, it casts doubt on the US’ formerly unquestioned supremacy in international higher education and international affairs.