September 2009

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday on Wednesday’s Federal Register notice requesting program information from high school exchange sponsors.  The request was included in a notice of upcoming rulemaking to strengthen the high school program.

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The Senate passed yesterday, by a vote of 79-19, the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (S 1023) sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND). The bill would create a nonprofit corporation to attract tourists from other countries to the United States, as well as an Office of Travel Promotion in the Department of Commerce. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security to establish a $10 fee by September 30, 2009, to be assessed on users of a visa-waiver program.

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Before Congress dispersed for its August recess, the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs passed its spending bill, funding State Department educational and cultural exchanges at $600 million. The Senate Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations is expected to consider its own spending bill at the end of September or in early October, and to fund exchanges at $635 million ($2 million more than the President’s request of $633 million). The House and Senate subcommittees will then head to conference to decide on a final funding level for exchanges in FY 2010.*  

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The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition reports that it is unlikely Congress will pass all spending bills before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, and that a month-long continuing resolution is likely to be enacted to keep the federal government functioning in October:

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Three recent articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education highlight the issues of foreign student enrollment and international partnerships in universities and graduate schools. The first article cites a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools, pointing out that the growth in international student enrollments at U.S. graduate schools leveled off in 2008. In contrast, enrollment of domestic students at U.S. graduate schools has spiked: “The numbers mark the first time since 2004 that enrollments of domestic students rose faster than enrollments of international students at such institutions”:

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Proposed amendments to Subpart A, the general provisions of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, were released in today’s Federal Register and are available on the GPO website .

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A report from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) says that a growing number of American school districts are recruiting teachers from overseas (as many as 19,000 in 2007) to work at “hard-to-staff” schools, the New York Times reported last week:

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As a result of immigration delays and economic decline, a growing number of skilled immigrants are leaving the United States to take jobs in their native countries, particularly India and China, USA Today reported yesterday.

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The Washington Post profiled the tenure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this past weekend, underscoring how Clinton’s foreign policy paradigm was discerned from her first six months on the job and the statements and comments she made around the world.

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In his address to the United Nations General Assembly today, President Obama made a declaration of the strong and immediate need for that which exchange programs, at their most fundamental level, work to foster between Americans and their counterparts around the world: “engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” Said President Obama:

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