International Partnerships Export Controls

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International partnerships and exchange are a central and valued pillar of the core teaching, research, and public service mission of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  These types of collaborations between students, staff, and faculty promote global scholarship, cultural understanding, and serves to enrich and better the communities.

However, some aspects of the University’s international relationships have the potential to expose SIU to a variety of risks that could undermine our mission and values.  These risks may include:  theft of intellectual property, sanctions or loss of funding due to violations of federal or state regulations, including export controls, undisclosed foreign influence and conflicts of interests.

The Center for International Education stands ready to serve the University in the front lines exploring international opportunities while mitigating any potential risks they might bring.  Mr. Yi Lee, Program Director at the Center for International Education, who heads the International Partnerships Development section, implements a screening process to ensure potential international partners collaborate in good faith.  As a licensed attorney with a decade’s experience in international partnerships, Mr. Lee is well qualified in balancing this University’s growing needs for internationalization with the equally important need of safeguarding the University from potential risks.

When potential partnership opportunities are discussed with faculty, our office, to ensure compliance with federal export control requirements and restricted entities lists, will run a software called Visual Compliance, which searches numerous continually updated security red-flag and export control lists, to screen for restricted or denied parties.  We run this report for every potential international partnering institution, faculty, staff, or student from those institutions, international companies who may be third party to the negotiations, and any international government scholarship or programs being discussed.  If an individual or entity is restricted, denied, debarred, designated, or blocked, that individual or entity may be prohibited from entering into new partnerships with SIU or conducting any sort of business with our University.

New regulations regarding these activities are added to and expanded upon almost on a monthly basis.  For example, the State Department has issued a new determination under the Foreign Missions Act, requiring members of the Chinese diplomatic corps to notify the State Department when making visits to educational and research institutions, among other entities.  The Department’s determination (, requires U.S.-based personnel of he People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) foreign missions (including personnel at the embassy and consulates of the PRC and those on temporary assignments conducting official business for the PRC government) to notify the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions in advance of:

  • Official visits to educational institutions
  • Official visits to research institutions, including National Labs
  • Official meetings with state officials
  • Official meetings with local and municipal officials

Individuals or entities who are cleared by Visual Compliance have the greenlight to enter into a partnership with SIU, provided that all relevant parties have reviewed and approved the proposal.  If those partnerships lead to collaborations such as research, particularly STEM research involving lab equipment that may have dual civilian and military applications, Visual Compliance may be run again in the future, but under the auspices of SIU’s Vice Chancellor for Research, which is a separate department from the Center for International Education.   

Please see below how an MOU is created from idea to execution.