Department of State news

Entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world recently arrived in the U.S. to participate in “A New Beginning,” a new Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) initiative. During their three-week stay, program participants will meet and form connections with American counterparts from the business community, as well as from the governmental sector.

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) approved by voice vote this afternoon the nomination of Evan Ryan to be Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State, reports. Ms. Ryan's nomination next heads to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote. It is unclear at this time when that vote might take place. 

Richard Stengel, Managing Editor of Time magazine, is likely to be nominated to succeed Tara Sonenshine as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, various news sources including the New York Times and Politico report.

The House of Representatives is likely to take up a short-term, stopgap funding measure (a continuing resolution, or CR) next week, reports. Such a measure would avert a government shutdown at the end of this month and is not expected to last more than two to three months. CQ notes that the CR would likely continue discretionary spending into fiscal 2014, which begins on October 1, at current levels: 

In a video message last week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. will join the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will help protect the rights of disabled Americans abroad.

According to Secretary Kerry:

Addressing personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of people-to-people connections and the powerful role exchanges play in creating long-lasting bonds between the U.S. and countries around the world.

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In an address to the 2013 Class of Fulbright-Clinton Fellows, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the legacy of Senator William J. Fulbright and stressed the importance of people-to-people connections in international relations.

Clinton said:

Secretary of State John Kerry announced today that, effective immediately, the U.S. will treat the visa applications of same-sex spouses in the same manner as those of heterosexual married couples, the New York Times reports.

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In a Senate confirmation hearing this afternoon (July 30), Evan Ryan, President Obama’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), said that exchanges “capitalize on American strengths and appeals,” and that ECA is “the lifeblood of public diplomacy”.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ryan underlined the powerful role people-to-people exchanges play in advancing U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy goals.

A recent YouTube video details the work of SWT Alumni Macedonia, the first ever Summer Work Travel Association of its kind worldwide.

The alumni association was initiated by the Department of State and its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and is a non-profit organization formed and run by students.

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