Public Diplomacy

Cabinet members from various departments and agencies submitted Exit Memos to President Barack Obama last week, detailing the progress accomplished in their respective entities during the Obama administration. The memo by Secretary of State John Kerry focused on the strides made by the State Department in advancing national security, alleviating conflicts around the world, strengthening U.S. international partnerships, expanding opportunities for American citizens, and defending universal values.

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President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order granting Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) to alumni of three federally-funded Department of State academic exchange programs: the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, and the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. Non-Competitive Eligibility is a specific hiring mechanism that provides an easier selection path for U.S. government positions.

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A new agreement between Ireland and the United States will add a three-year extension to the Ireland Work and Travel (IWT) program, lengthening the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments. According to a press release by the U.S.

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Commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays Programs, a congressional resolution introduced in the House of Representatives last week recognizes the value of these international research and training programs in promoting mutual understanding and global learning. The Fulbright-Hays Programs were created through the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, or Fulbright-Hays Act, signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on September 21, 1961.

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The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (USACPD) today released its 2016 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting Actives, detailing roughly $1.8 billion in programs worldwide. The report offers analysis, research and evaluation, policy recommendations, regional overviews, and country-specific spotlights for a host of public diplomacy and international broadcasting programs, including Department of State exchanges.

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Applauding the administration’s recent announcement to resettle 110,000 refugees in the U.S. next year, NAFSA: Association of International Educators urges the administration to ensure refugees who seek higher education opportunities have a path to do so.

In a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, Marlene Johnson, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA states:

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Secretary of State John Kerry and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced a new partnership to support the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program by helping send more students to study abroad. In remarks delivered yesterday at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Secretary Kerry highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships to help increase global interconnectedness and mutual understanding:  

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President Barack Obama addressed 350 emerging leaders at a summit in Laos last week as part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). The President announced new initiatives in the region, connected with the youth from countries members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and highlighted the role of educational exchanges for leadership development and U.S.-ASEAN relations.

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In a foreign policy address at Youngstown State University yesterday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump proposed implementing extreme screenings and ideological testing for visa applicants, as well as a temporary suspension of visa processing from regions with a history of terrorism. Trump defended these new vetting mechanisms as a way to prevent any sympathizers of terrorist groups or those with hostile attitudes towards the United States from entering the country.

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The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a program launched by President Barack Obama in 2010 to empower young entrepreneurial African leaders, is holding its 2016 Presidential Summit in Washington D.C. this week. The Summit welcomes 1,000 fellows from the initiative’s flagship program, the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF), double the number of fellows in the 2014 inaugural cohort.

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