March 2006

At a House hearing last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced questioning about the adequacy of U.S. public diplomacy funding.

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), vice chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, asked Rice whether the component of the budget to win “hearts and minds is really meeting the challenge”. Arguing that we are giving “short shrift” to these issues, Weldon reminded Rice that “We’re the appropriators,” and asked, “Are we engaging the academic community enough? Are we engaging Hollywood enough?”

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Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs questioned the President’s FY 2007 budget request of $3 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) at a hearing Wednesday . The MCC received $1.75 billion in FY 2006, $1.25 billion less than the President’s request.

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Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) recently added her name as a cosponsor to legislation introduced in late January by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) to develop a U.S.-Poland Parliamentary Youth Exchange Program. The new program, if approved by Congress, would allow eligible participants to attend a public high school in the host country for one academic year, with an emphasis on studies in history, constitution and political development.

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Four Members of Congress added their names as cosponsors of the Youth Exchange Support Act of 2005, H.R. 1504, this month. The new cosponsors are: Reps. Thomas H. Allen (D-ME), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Thelma Drake (R-VA), and David E. Price (D-NC).

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At a House hearing last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced questioning about the adequacy of U.S. public diplomacy funding.

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), vice chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, asked Rice whether the component of the budget to win “hearts and minds is really meeting the challenge”. Arguing that we are giving “short shrift” to these issues, Weldon reminded Rice that “We’re the appropriators,” and asked, “Are we engaging the academic community enough? Are we engaging Hollywood enough?”

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For the Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce, and Related Agencies Concerning State Department Exchanges

U.S. House of Representatives
March 16, 2006

As Chair of the Board of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, I appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony in support of a budget request of $500 million for the educational and cultural exchange programs administered by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in FY 2007.

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“Developing foreign language skills shows Americans’ respect and compassion for other cultures and builds mutual understanding between Americans and peoples of other countries,” stated Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Tom Farrell in support of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) at a briefing on the initiative March 9. Launched by President Bush in January 2006, the National Security Language Initiative is designed to dramatically increase the number of Americans learning critical need foreign languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, and Farsi as a means to strengthen national security and American global competitiveness in the 21st century. President Bush requested $114 million in the FY07 budget for the NSLI.

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The Alliance’s sixth annual Advocacy Day was held on March 9, 2006. The Alliance held the event on its own this year following two years of jointly hosting the event with the Association for International Education Administrators (AIEA) in conjunction with their Washington conference.

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