Public Diplomacy

Following her confirmation by the Senate last week, Tara Sonenshine was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs yesterday.

Tara Sonenshine, former Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), was confirmed by the Senate last Thursday as the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R).

Public diplomacy programs, including exchanges, are “a critical and indispensible component” of U.S. foreign policy and U.S. relations with China, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) stated at a recent hearing examining “The Price of Public Diplomacy with China.”

During his opening remarks at this gathering of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Rep. Carnahan said:

The recently released book Making a Difference: Australian International Education details the “global context, history, development and outcomes of international education in Australia”:

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced last week the formation of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC), a group tasked with “provid[ing] advice and recommendations on issues related to student and recent graduate recruitment; international students; academic research; campus and community resiliency, security and preparedness; and faculty exchanges.”

 A recent BBC article highlights the strong impact people-to-people exchange programs have on international diplomacy and shaping the U.S.’ image abroad.

The article features the example of Xi Jingping, probable future Chinese president, who came to Iowa in the 1980s on a trip that installed fond and long-lasting memories in him. These memories “could yet pay dividends to the U.S.”, the BBC notes.

Robin Lerner, formerly Counsel for the majority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Private Sector Exchange at the Department of State.  In her new role, Ms. Lerner will oversee the Exchange Visitor Program.  She succeeds Acting DAS Rick Ruth, who returns to his role as Senior Adviser in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  

Former Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens has been designated as “the Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs pending the Senate’s confirmation of the President’s nominee, Tara Sonenshine,” MountainRunner reports. Ambassador Stephens began her work in this role today. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock had previously been in the role of Acting Under Secretary since July 8, 2011.

President Obama reiterated the importance of U.S. engagement with the world and the international affairs budget on Monday during a Google+ “Hangout” and broadcast live on Youtube, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition reported.

The New York Times reports that the Department of State has removed the Council for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA) as a designated sponsor of the Summer Work Travel program. The article also provides some detail on the Department’s upcoming rulemaking for the SWT program:

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