Public Diplomacy

The Obama Administration’s strong rhetoric in support of international education and exchange does not always match with reality, and is described by some to be “superficial,” according to an article in yesterday’s Chronicle of Higher Education:

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The Department of State issued a new guidance directive this afternoon (available here; direct to PDF here), clarifying the visa status of Chinese teachers at campus-based Confucius Institutes. Specifically, the directive states that Chinese language teachers “sponsored by university or college sponsors who are teaching at primary or secondary schools are not required to depart the United States at the end of this academic year, unless that was their intended date of departure.”

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Wang Yongli, deputy chief executive of the Office of Chinese Language Council International, said he was “taken by surprise and quite shocked” by the release last week of a State Department directive that would require all Chinese-language schoolteachers affiliated with campus-based Confucius Institutes and holding J-1 visas to leave the country within weeks, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

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A State Department policy directive issued last week (and reported on yesterday by the Alliance) asserted that campus-based Confucius Institutes must be part of the sponsoring college’s foreign-language program or apply for separate accreditation. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today that the Department of State has called that section of the directive “confusing” and said it would be “redrafted to clarify that Confucius Institutes that have partnerships with accredited colleges are in compliance with visa regulations.”

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A Department of State policy directive issued last week states that any academics at campus-based Confucius Institutes who are teaching at the elementary- and secondary-school levels are violating the terms of their visas and must leave at the end of this academic year, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The memorandum also says that, “after a ‘preliminary review,’ the State Department has determined that the institutes must obtain American accreditation in order to continue to accept foreign scholars and professors as teachers.”

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The new Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, released by the Department of State on the ECA website last Friday, appears in today’s Federal Register (FR). The full FR notice can be accessed online here.

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Forty American students from 31 different universities will serve as “a ‘public face’ for the U.S. as it seeks to promote people-to-people exchanges with visitors” during the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu, Korea, which starts this Saturday and runs until August 12. The Korea Times reports that the American students will “greet visitors, government officials and other dignitaries as well as provide administrative, protocol and programming support.”

Last Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong “hailed the importance of people-to-people engagement during the third annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE),” according to a media note released by the Department of State.

The New York Times reported on the new Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, released this past Friday by the Department of State. The IFR (currently available on the ECA website) will be published in the Federal Register this week.

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Based upon a comprehensive review begun in mid-2010, the Department of State released today a new Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. The IFR (currently available on the ECA website) will be published in the Federal Register next week.

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