April 2011

In the wake of the recent events in the Middle East and Japan, “the question of where students should or shouldn’t be allowed to study abroad … has never seemed more salient”, according to an Inside Higher Ed article published today. Colleges that evacuated their students from the Middle East and Japan are debating whether or when to return students to their study abroad destinations, the article reports.

At a luncheon of the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association (PDAA) on Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock stressed the importance of people-to-people exchanges and discussed the strategic directions of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Bloomberg News reported that recent events in countries such as Japan and Egypt are disrupting students’ study abroad programs and that U.S. colleges have been trying to ensure their students’ safety in the wake of the recent natural disasters and civil unrest. An Inside Higher Ed article referencing a recent survey of eight U.S.

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House and Senate negotiators and the White House agreed late Friday on a spending plan for the remainder of FY 2011, averting a government shutdown only hours before it would have begun. The deal reached by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would cut a total of $38.5 billion from current spending levels.

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In her opening remarks at the Second Annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-To-People Exchange, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale outlined three goals for this two-day summit in Washington.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees released today details of the continuing resolution that will fund the remainder of FY 2011. In this bill, Department of State international exchange programs will receive a cut of $35 million, or 5.5 per cent, from the FY 2010 enacted level of $635 million, for an appropriations level of $600 million for the remainder of FY 2011.

According to the House Appropriations Committee, all non-defense accounts are slated to receive an additional 0.2 per cent across-the-board cut.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) recently introduced H.R. 1211, the Student Visa Security Improvement Act, which seeks to increase the tracking of foreign students in the United States.

The number of applications from prospective international students to U.S. graduate schools for fall 2011 increased overall by 9 per cent, following a similar gain last year, according to the findings from the first phase of an annual three-part survey by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and a CGS press release.

At the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) with Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the two countries’ conviction to increase people-to-people engagement and further exchange programs such as the 100,000 Strong initiative.

International exchange programs were discussed in a number of different contexts today during a House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee “Members’ Day.” This hearing provided opportunities for Congressional Members not on the subcommittee to testify in support of FY 2012 budget requests for SFOPS programs most important to them and their constituencies.

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