Public Diplomacy

First Lady Michelle Obama called young Americans “the best ambassadors that we have” in her remarks at the panda-naming ceremony at the National Zoo last week. The ceremony was part of the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi and First Lady Peng Liyuan to Washington, D.C.

President Obama and Chinese President Xi aim to have one million American students studying Mandarin by 2020, according to a joint announcement made during President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the U.S.

Explaining the importance of the new initiative, President Obama noted the role language plays in U.S.-China relations:

During his visit to Tacoma, Washington, earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping invited 100 American students from a local high school to study in China next year, The News Tribune reports.

The U.S. government should double the number of participants in the Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, according to a The Hill blog post by former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Richard LeBaron.

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) officially released yesterday its “2015 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy & International Broadcasting.” The report itemizes Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) public diplomacy and international broadcasting activities, including Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) exchange programs.

The Russian government has decided to close the U.S. Embassy’s American Center at M. Rudomino All-Russia State Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) is set to enroll its first class of students “from around Asia and beyond” in fall 2016, according to PIE News. The University, which received partial funding for its establishment from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), will be the first independent, non-profit, U.S.-affiliated university in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Exchanges will play “a unique and critical role” in the normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan said in her opening remarks for a symposium at George Washington University on Wednesday.

American students return from study abroad more nationalistic, but feeling less threatened by their host countries compared to their peers who have not yet studied abroad, according to a study recently discussed in the Washington Post.

In response to political unrest in Yemen and concerns for their safety, a group of Yemeni exchange students have received a waiver to complete an additional year of studies in the U.S., according to a listing in the Federal Register last week. The students were participants in the Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program during the 2014-2015 academic year.

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