Department of State news

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY17 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) spending bill, including State Department exchanges. The House SFOPS subcommittee also released a draft bill text in advance of the mark-up of its FY17 SFOPS spending bill tomorrow.

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Achievements and further expansions in exchange programs between citizens of the United States and the People’s Republic of China were discussed by top diplomats at the China-U.S. Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) last week in Beijing.

Throughout the seventh annual high-level meetings, co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, top government officials met with participants of past exchange programs and expressed strong support for the continuation of these initiatives.

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Institutional grants and scholarship programs are increasing participation in study abroad, and helping students prepare for future career choices, according to two reports released during the 2016 NAFSA conference last week. Both reports specifically highlight the positive impact of these funding opportunities on students from underrepresented populations.

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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.

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