Department of State news

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prominently featured the role of exchanges in her remarks to staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing during her travels to China earlier this month.

Acknowledging that the relationship between China and the U.S. is “a complicated relationship,” Clinton affirmed the administration’s strong belief in U.S.-China relations and the crucial role people-to-people exchanges play in fostering and maintaining strong ties between the two countries:

In today’s globalized world the U.S. “cannot afford not to be connected” and exchanges are not only “one of the best ways” to become and remain connected, but “more than earn their investment,” Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine noted at Drake University earlier this week.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) on Wednesday launched its TechWomen2012 initiative, which will bring 42 women from eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa to the U.S. for a period of five weeks. While in the U.S., the women—who all work in the technology sectors in their home countries that include Algeria, Jordan, and Yemen—will be engaged in a mentoring program with their U.S. counterparts.

Exchange and study abroad opportunities provide young Vietnamese and their country with a bright future, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently noted in Hanoi, Vietnam, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Vietnam’s Fulbright Program.

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine expressed her wish to see more American students studying and interning in India, in a recent interview with Forbes India. The Department of State is planning to increase the number of U.S. students in India (currently 3,300) to 15,000 in five years through its Passport to India initiative.

Talking about how to achieve this ambitious goal, Sonenshine said:

People-to-people relationships between the citizens of the U.S. and India, forged in part through educational and cultural exchanges, lie at the heart of the U.S.-India partnership, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine and Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao agreed in a recent web chat moderated by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Ambassador Robert Blake.

On various occasions during her recent travels to Southeast Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlined how important people-to-people exchanges are to building close ties between the United States and South-East Asian countries.

Speaking at the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Clinton expressed the U.S.’ commitment to deepening our “people-to-people engagement,” explaining that:

“Brilliant, fearless, and passionate” is how Suzanne Philion, Senior Advisor for Innovation at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), described the Department of State’s inaugural class of 25 TechGirls from the Middle East and North Africa, who arrived in the U.S. in late June.

In a video message recorded on the occasion of the third EducationUSA Forum, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once more underlined the importance of bringing international students to the United States for study and the critical work of the EducationUSA Advising Centers in more than 170 across the globe.

The Department of State issued a new guidance directive this afternoon (available here; direct to PDF here), clarifying the visa status of Chinese teachers at campus-based Confucius Institutes. Specifically, the directive states that Chinese language teachers “sponsored by university or college sponsors who are teaching at primary or secondary schools are not required to depart the United States at the end of this academic year, unless that was their intended date of departure.”

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