Tara Sonenshine

A loss of cultural and educational exchanges is an often-overlooked consequence of the political turmoil in Egypt, writes Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, in a recent Al-Ahram Weekly article.

In a farewell note released last week, outgoing Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine emphasized her view that the importance of public diplomacy lies in its ability to “create a safer and more prosperous world for Americans at home and abroad by helping citizens abroad build better futures.”

“This exchange business is good for us and the rest of the world,” Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today.

Department of State exchange programs, including the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, were featured prominently in Sonenshine’s remarks on “bottom line diplomacy” and why public diplomacy matters:

 Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine, spoke in Qatar earlier this week on the importance of people-to-people engagement. This speech, given at the 10th Annual US-Islamic World Forum, highlighted the need for public diplomacy, particularly in Muslim communities.

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International exchanges are essential in “bridging the intersection between policy and public diplomacy” and help “empower future generations of political leaders,” Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine told an audience at George Washington University’s Elliot School of Foreign Affairs last Thursday.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) institutionalization of program evaluation has become a role model for the Department of State and U.S. public diplomacy, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine told an audience at the Heritage Foundation yesterday.

In today’s globalized world the U.S. “cannot afford not to be connected” and exchanges are not only “one of the best ways” to become and remain connected, but “more than earn their investment,” Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine noted at Drake University earlier this week.

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine expressed her wish to see more American students studying and interning in India, in a recent interview with Forbes India. The Department of State is planning to increase the number of U.S. students in India (currently 3,300) to 15,000 in five years through its Passport to India initiative.

Talking about how to achieve this ambitious goal, Sonenshine said:

People-to-people relationships between the citizens of the U.S. and India, forged in part through educational and cultural exchanges, lie at the heart of the U.S.-India partnership, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine and Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao agreed in a recent web chat moderated by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Ambassador Robert Blake.

At her swearing-in ceremony at the Department of State yesterday, new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine highlighted the importance people-to-people relationships have for U.S. national security.

Sonenshine said:

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