Department of State news

Forty American students from 31 different universities will serve as “a ‘public face’ for the U.S. as it seeks to promote people-to-people exchanges with visitors” during the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu, Korea, which starts this Saturday and runs until August 12. The Korea Times reports that the American students will “greet visitors, government officials and other dignitaries as well as provide administrative, protocol and programming support.”

The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee funded educational and cultural exchange programs at $586.957 million for FY 2013, exactly even with the President’s FY13 request and approximately 2 per cent below the final FY 2012 appropriation for exchanges of $598.8 million.

Last Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong “hailed the importance of people-to-people engagement during the third annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE),” according to a media note released by the Department of State.

The New York Times reported on the new Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, released this past Friday by the Department of State. The IFR (currently available on the ECA website) will be published in the Federal Register this week.

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At the Department of State’s Professional Fellows Congress yesterday, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero highlighted the “life-changing” experiences people-to-people exchanges provide for young people, as well as the role such programs play in connecting people and sectors worldwide and encouraging innovation:

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Based upon a comprehensive review begun in mid-2010, the Department of State released today a new Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. The IFR (currently available on the ECA website) will be published in the Federal Register next week.

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At her swearing-in ceremony at the Department of State yesterday, new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine highlighted the importance people-to-people relationships have for U.S. national security.

Sonenshine said:

In her recent remarks to the U.S.-Brazil partnership for the 21st century, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the importance of exchange programs between the two countries as well as President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative. This initiative aims to increase the number of students from Latin America and the Caribbean studying in the U.S. to 100,000 each year while at the same time sending 100,000 American students to the region over the next ten years, Clinton explained.

Following her confirmation by the Senate last week, Tara Sonenshine was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs yesterday.

Tara Sonenshine, former Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), was confirmed by the Senate last Thursday as the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R).

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