“We are alarmed by recent media reports that your Department chose to deny visas to six Afghan girls traveling to the United States for FIRST Global, an international robotics challenge to be held in Washington,” wrote the members. “Barring these hardworking, creative young women from a competition premised on global connection and innovation runs counter to the State Department’s mission of fostering security and stability through peace. The work of diplomacy is not limited to embassies and consulates; the United States engages with individuals abroad precisely because these individual relationships are the key to stability and development. Indeed, as the world’s leader of scientific innovation and research, inviting the world’s best and brightest to support our research efforts enhances our ability to expand knowledge in all fields, whether robotics or medicine, art or engineering, mathematics or history. In particular, supporting women’s education initiatives has been a vital component of our diplomacy and has been proven to enhance stability and speed development more than almost any policy focus."