In August 1951 the III. World Youth and Student Festival took place in East Berlin. About 26,000 participants from 104 countries came to the GDR for this event. However, a group of eleven young Nigerian women were denied permission to return home by the British colonial administration. The Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) then instructed the State Secretariat for Higher and Technical Education to turn the expatriate Nigerians into students. This was the birth of study abroad in the GDR. A growing number of exchange students also came from the Arab world.