In April 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued an Executive Memorandum stating "It is the policy of the federal government to support international education..." and committing the administration to "encouraging students from other countries to study in the United States."
As a first step in implementing President Clinton's Executive Memorandum, the U.S. Departments of State and Education celebrated the first IEW in November 2000.
Today, IEW is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of Education. This important week is observed across the United States and in more than 100 other countries. IEW is celebrated in November each year during the week before the American holiday of Thanksgiving. IEW is an opportunity for exchange students worldwide to share with their host communities their cultures and highlight the benefits of international educational exchange programs. The worldwide celebration of IEW offers a unique opportunity to reach out to people in every nation, to develop a broader understanding of world cultures and languages, and to reiterate the conviction that enduring friendships and partnerships created through international education and exchange are important for a secure future for all countries.