Department of State news

EducationUSA has launched a new website to reach and inform a broader audience of prospective international students about opportunities to study in the U.S., The Pie News reports.

At the Summit of the Americas last week, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of educational exchanges in economic development:

“… [E]ducation more so than ever before, is the ladder of opportunity for people all across the planet… It is why President Obama launched 100,000 Strong in the Americas.”

The U.S. Department of State announced that it will launch a study abroad branch to increase diversity among study abroad participants, build partnerships with foreign governments, and promote opportunities in non-traditional destinations, The Pie News reports.

Evan Ryan, the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, noted the State Department’s desire to increase diversity in study abroad participation and efforts in building partnerships:

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, released this afternoon, commends the Department of State on its strengthened oversight of SWT, while acknowledging the public diplomacy value of this exchange program that brings up-and-coming leaders to the U.S. for summer cultural experiences.

Earlier today, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered opening remarks to the inaugural Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women/U.S. State Department entrepreneurship program.  Through this initiative, 29 women from 15 Middle Eastern countries will take part in a 2-week seminar focused on entrepreneurial skills training. 

Funding cuts to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), a bilateral exchange program supported jointly by the U.S. and Germany, are facing bipartisan criticism from members of Congress, as well as from the German government. In addition to opposition from CBYX program alumni, the cuts have “spawned an unusual coalition in Washington that is working hard to reverse the partial defunding of the program,” Deutsche Welle reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry, throughout the past two days, testified before several congressional committees with regard to the President’s FY16 State Department budget request.

Thirteen young professionals from 12 European countries, ranging from Turkey to Russia, were profiled in a new documentary called "Connecting Cultures, Impacting Lives: The IVLP Experience." These professionals were engaged in the State Department sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), participated in youth leadership events throughout their five-city, 22-day program.

Secretary of State John Kerry honored seven influential American artists one month ago for their contributions to U.S. cultural diplomacy, presenting them with the Art in Embassies (AIE) Medal of Arts Life Time Achievement award. In his opening speech at the awards ceremony, Kerry explored the weight art and multimedia have on cultural diplomatic pursuits:

The President’s FY16 budget, released earlier today (see pages 31-33), requests $623.079 million for Department of State international exchange programs, a 5.6 per cent increase over current levels—a robust number in difficult budget times, and a concrete sign of the Obama administration’s support of exchanges.

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