Exchange Visitor Program

The Alliance visited consular posts in Latin America early this year to discuss visa processing. We visited the following posts: Sao Paolo, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Quito, Ecuador.

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The Alliance’s seventh annual Advocacy Day was held on February 22, 2007. The event was held in conjunction with the Association for International Education Administrators (AIEA), an Alliance member that has partnered with us on this event for three (non-consecutive) years. The event was held in conjunction with AIEA’s Washington conference.

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The Bush Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget proposal includes a $486.4 million request for the educational and cultural exchange programs of the U.S. Department of State, the third year in a row the President has proposed an increase for these programs. The programs are currently being funded by a continuing resolution (CR) because the FY 2007 budget process has not yet been completed.

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Among the first actions taken by the 110th Congress, the House of Representatives Tuesday approved legislation, H.R. 1, that would implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission report. The bill includes provisions related to improving educational opportunities in Arab and predominantly Muslim countries, and increasing exchanges in those areas. It also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accelerate implementation of its automated entry and exit system.

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Among the first actions taken by the 110th Congress, the House of Representatives Tuesday approved legislation, H.R. 1, that would implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission report. The bill includes provisions related to improving educational opportunities in Arab and predominantly Muslim countries, and increasing exchanges in those areas. It also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accelerate implementation of its automated entry and exit system.

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“In our increasingly interconnected world, ease of movement across national borders – of people and of capital – is inextricably tied to economic prosperity,” stated House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) at a hearing Tuesday to address the challenges facing the State Department in balancing security and efficiency in the visa process.

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The Alliance’s sixth annual Advocacy Day was held on March 9, 2006. The Alliance held the event on its own this year following two years of jointly hosting the event with the Association for International Education Administrators (AIEA) in conjunction with their Washington conference.

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I attended the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education, cosponsored by the Departments of State and Education on Jan 5-6. Approximately 125 presidents attended from all types of institutions. The high level participation from the executive branch was striking. In addition to President Bush’s January 5 appearance to announce the Strategic Language Initiative, participants included Secretaries Rice and Spellings, Under Secretary Hughes, Assistant Secretaries Harty and Powell, Under Secretary of Commerce Frank Lavin, and an unannounced appearance by the First Lady.

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The Alliance this fall completed visits to consular posts in Eastern Europe to discuss visa processing. We visited the following posts: Kiev, Sofia, Bucharest, Skopje, and Istanbul.

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The Alliance this fall completed visits to consular posts in Asia to discuss visa processing. We visited the following posts: China Education Association for International Exchange, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

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