Department of State news

The U.S. Department of State is planning to soon publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with a 60-day comment period on the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. The rule could be released as soon as late April. 

The Department published an initial interim final rule (IFR) with request for comment in April 2011 to amend the regulatory requirements of the SWT program. In May 2012, the Department published a second interim final rule that, among other things, added a cultural component and expanded the list of jobs prohibited under the SWT program. 

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International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants are contributing to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts through the State Department’s P2P: Challenging Extremism initiative, according to a recent article in Vice News.

In an effort to increase the diversity of its grantees, the Fulbright Program is increasing engagement with its alumni, according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

International education experts agree that one-on-one conversations provide the best opportunity for underrepresented students to learn about the program, The Chronicle notes:

In the last budget request of his presidency, President Obama requested $628.9 million for core Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs.

This request represents an approximately 6.4% increase over the FY16 funding level of $590.9 million—a robust number in difficult budget times (nearly $6 million higher than last year’s request of $623 million), and a concrete sign of the Obama administration’s support of exchanges.

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Join the Alliance, Global Ties U.S., and our collaborating partners at our January 27 Exchanges Matter event – a high-level discussion of the critical role international exchange programs play in advancing peace and security.

Sessions will examine issues including the impact exchanges have across the U.S., how to harness the private sector to advance America’s public engagement objectives, and the role exchanges play in building mutual understanding and advancing U.S. foreign policy priorities.

International education and exchange are vital to U.S. diplomacy and allow students to acquire valuable skills and become leaders in their respective professions, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Evan Ryan told The PIE News in a recent interview.

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) officially released yesterday its “2015 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy & International Broadcasting.” The report itemizes Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) public diplomacy and international broadcasting activities, including Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) exchange programs.

The Russian government has decided to close the U.S. Embassy’s American Center at M. Rudomino All-Russia State Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) is set to enroll its first class of students “from around Asia and beyond” in fall 2016, according to PIE News. The University, which received partial funding for its establishment from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), will be the first independent, non-profit, U.S.-affiliated university in Ho Chi Minh City. 

In response to political unrest in Yemen and concerns for their safety, a group of Yemeni exchange students have received a waiver to complete an additional year of studies in the U.S., according to a listing in the Federal Register last week. The students were participants in the Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program during the 2014-2015 academic year.

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