Study Abroad

Nearly a year after Congress authorized the formation of a commission to design a bold new study abroad program, appointments to the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program are now complete.

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The final date for the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program to report its findings to Congress and the President, will likely be extended under legislation approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

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Amidst calls for action on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) returned to Washington on Tuesday and introduced sweeping legislation to implement the Commission’s 41 proposals. Included in the legislation are several provisions to increase and expand public diplomacy and exchange programs.

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House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) named their six members of the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program last week. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) appointed six commissioners earlier this year. Under the terms of the legislation authorizing the establishment of the Commission, 12 of its 17 members would be appointed by Congressional leaders, equally divided between the House and Senate, and the majority and minority parties. The leaders will jointly appoint the chair of the commission.

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday approved legislation authorizing $375.346 million for educational and cultural exchange programs in the Department of State for Fiscal Year 2005. The bill passed by a vote of 19 to 0. It would authorize $150 million of that total for Fulbright exchanges in FY 2005, of which $5 million is designated for the Vietnam Fulbright Academic Exchange.

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The Alliance’s fourth annual Advocacy Day was held on February 12, 2004, in conjunction with the Association for International Education Administrators (AIEA), an Alliance member representing the chief international officers on campuses throughout the United States. The successful partnership between the Alliance and AIEA garnered 123 participants who visited more than 120 House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill, representing 28 states. AIEA’s membership generated 49 of the participants, with 74 coming from other Alliance member organizations. In all, 28 Alliance member organizations participated.

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Following a long and contentious process, the Senate this afternoon passed the $820 billion fiscal year (FY) 2004 omnibus spending package which includes $320 million for educational and cultural exchange programs, $500,000 for the Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowships Commission, $1 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and $1.65 billion for HIV/AIDS, among other programs. The final agreement which funds seven of the 13 annual appropriations bills, was approved by the House in early December.

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Following a long and contentious process, the Senate this afternoon passed the $820 billion fiscal year (FY) 2004 omnibus spending package which includes $320 million for educational and cultural exchange programs, $500,000 for the Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowships Commission, $1 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and $1.65 billion for HIV/AIDS, among other programs. The final agreement which funds seven of the 13 annual appropriations bills, was approved by the House in early December. The Senate held back its approval until today, almost four months into the fiscal year, because of several contentious issues unrelated to exchanges in the bill. The legislation is now cleared for President Bush's signature.

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The omnibus funding legislation that incorporates seven appropriations bills includes language and funding for a commission to recommend a significant new program to increase study abroad by American university students.

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