Department of State news

The U.S. Department of State will host more than 180 students, alumni, host families, and NGO-partners for a celebration of the anniversary of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program. This program, now in its 20th year, brings students from Eurasian countries to the United States to complete a year of high school.

The Department of State released in today’s Federal Register a final rule that increases fees and charges for sponsor (re)designation, as well as the J-1 visa holder administrative fee.

According to the rule:

The Department of State released in today’s Federal Register a proposed rule with request for comment for the Teacher category of the Exchange Visitor Program. Elements of the proposed rule include:

In his testimonies before two House and two Senate committees this week, Secretary of State John Kerry underlined the importance of U.S. engagement with the world, saying that “the United States cannot be strong at home if we are not strong in the world.”

Released this morning after a 10-week delay, the President’s FY14 budget request cuts State Department international exchange programs by nearly $40 million. The FY14 requested level for exchanges, $562.7 million, is a 6.6 per cent decrease from current FY13 funding of $602.5 million, and an 11 per cent decrease from the previous high water mark of $635 million in FY10. 

Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister and prominent alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), died this week at age 87.

Thatcher traveled to the United States as an IVLP participant in 1967 and had fond memories of her trip, according to a statement on the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) website:

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The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced that it is currently hiring a full-time permanent Supervisory Exchange Specialist.

Please note that the deadline for applications is Monday, April 15. All applicants must be U.S. citizens.

Job and application details are available here.

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Congress passed a new continuing resolution (CR) last week that funds the government for the remainder of FY 2013, but does not address sequestration. Funding for Department of State exchange programs will remain unchanged for the final six months of the fiscal year.

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“You never forget the friendships that you build, the cultural, political, philosophical, economic, social grounding that you get from [an exchange] and how it connects people and connects countries,” Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience of Fulbrighters at the Fulbright Foreign Student Enrichment Seminar last week.

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Addressing an audience at a Youth Connect event at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, Germany, during his first overseas trip in his new capacity, Secretary of State John Kerry affirmed the value of exchanges and expressed his determination to look into issues including the low number of Americans participating in exchanges and the creation of more exchange scholarships.

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