It used to be that only sons and daughters of aristocrats spent semesters in Paris, London, or Rome. International education was only for the elite.

But those days are gone, says Philip S. Khoury, associate provost with responsibility for overseeing MIT’s international initiatives.

“In the world of today and tomorrow, MIT students will work abroad. Knowledge is now being generated all over the globe, and students need access to this knowledge to enjoy a lifetime of learning. Without it, they’re just not going to be as effective.”

MIT is now creating international initiatives in every school and in nearly every department across the Institute. In fact, there are now more than 700 international projects under way at MIT — and there’s great student interest.

One of MIT’s greatest strengths is its cosmopolitan nature. Today, more than 25 percent of the student body is international, and these students are from more than 100 countries. Last year, more than 1,600 international scholars from 84 countries visited MIT to teach and conduct research.

“Historically, MIT has succeeded in attracting the best and brightest from across the globe,” Khoury says. “But increasingly, as the world has become smaller and more global, more talent is being produced outside the borders of the United States. For MIT to continue to generate cutting-edge research, to contribute to the world’s benefit, and to be the success story it has always been, it requires a steady stream of the best and brightest young people from everywhere on the planet.”

The young men and women on these pages are now working beyond borders and are fast becoming a new generation of leaders and global citizens benefiting the world.