Georgetown prides itself on its international student body, which represents more than 130 countries. The university’s international identity is an integral, unique part of the Georgetown experience. This year, we were denied the opportunity to meet one foreign student – Rafi Khetab.

Khetab, a would-be freshman in the School of Foreign Service from Afghanistan, had his dream of an American education come true when he received an acceptance letter from Georgetown last year. Only one thing stood in Khetab’s way: the U.S. government.

Because the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was not able to issue visas when he wished to apply for the student visa necessary to attend Georgetown, Khetab had to go through the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. Things did not go as planned, however, and the State Department repeatedly denied Khetab a visa. Khetab was unable to join the class of 2012 on the Hilltop.

Last September, The Hoya reported on Khetab’s predicament. In the intervening months, little has changed – Khetab remains in Afghanistan.

Khetab did not take the rejection lying down, however. He has continued to pursue of a visa and may soon get a second chance, now that the embassy in Afghanistan has begun issuing student visas again. Georgetown has approved Khetab’s deferral request; once he receives additional paperwork from the university, he will be ready to apply for a student visa and hopefully pack his bags to start school this fall.

Students with meaningful, interesting experiences like Khetab belong here. Opening the opportunity of Western education to youths in developing countries is in America’s best interests – it is regrettable that the State Department has prevented him from attending.

We commend the university, the Office of International Programs and Khetab’s would-be roommate, Justin Thomas (COL ’12) for working on Khetab’s behalf. We encourage Georgetown to continue to do whatever it can to assist him in procuring his overdue visa.

Rafi, we hope to see you next fall.

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