The inauguration of President Barack Obama offers a historic opportunity to reshape America's interface with the world at large and to undo errors of commission, omission, and neglect of the past decade. US assets undervalued and underused in recent years will be rediscovered, including the network of accredited American colleges and universities around the globe: the Association of American International Colleges and Universities. This essay outlines the potential role of these institutions in shaping how the United States is seen in critical areas of the world and in serving as a beacon of American, private, nonprofit higher education. It also contains specific recommendations for how the Obama administration can strengthen, at minimal cost, the network of American institutions abroad without co-opting or using them as vehicles for US propaganda.