FY 2011 exchanges budget request in detail

The Obama administration’s FY 2011 budget, released on Monday, requested $58.5 billion for the entire international affairs budget (or 150 Account), representing a $6.1 billion (or 11.6 per cent) increase over total FY 2010 enacted international affairs spending. As the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition reports, nearly 60 per cent of this increase would go to “Frontline States,” including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, leaving a modest growth of $2.5 billion for all other international affairs programs. If enacted, the FY 2011 international affairs budget would be 2.8 per cent above actual FY 2010 amounts, including supplemental appropriations.

The State Department as a whole received a $5 billion increase with a request of $52.8 billion, the largest portion of the 150 Account. Much of that increase is also intended for programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. The request for Department of State diplomatic and consular programs provides an increase from $8.227 billion to $9.542 billion. As the Alliance reported on Monday, Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs received no increase in the FY 2011 request. The Congressional Budget Justification for the Department (exchanges-specific section available here; full document here) notes that the requested FY 2011 exchanges funding level of $633.2 million would support “ongoing initiatives and strengthen America’s global engagement through programs of proven value and create new opportunities to engage, educate, and empower foreign and American participants.” The justification further says that ECA will bring its 2011 budget to bear on “key foreign policy changes facing the United States.” Specifically, it notes:

“ECA will concentrate resources in ways that support the goals of the President’s June 4 speech in Cairo and on high priority countries, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Indonesia.

“ECA will continue to focus on global education, women, youth, underserved audiences, and the formation of critical global communities. Secondary school and higher education exchanges will bring talented young people to the United States and increase the number of Americans studying abroad. ECA will link individuals and organizations around the world to address such common challenges as climate change and food security. There will be tailored programs for women and girls, who are represented in and contribute to all ECA programs. Young people, with a particular attention to those from underserved sectors of society, will remain a key audience.

“High demand programs that enhance English language skills will be expanded. Broader audiences will be reached through ECA’s culture and sports programs, two areas that are especially attractive to young people and unhindered in linguistic barriers. The effectiveness of ECA programs is well documented.”

The budget justification document also notes that specific attention will be paid in 2011 to the following exchange areas:

  1. English Language Programs: A requested increase of $3.539 million would provide 2,100 new English Access Microscholarships, as well as support a number of other English language programs. “The growing global demand for English language skills is a positive development that the United States must rise to meet.”
  2. Exchanges with Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities worldwide (called in the justification document the “President’s Global Engagement Initiative”): “ECA will redirect resources within its base to support educational and professional exchanges with the goal of improving mutual understanding and promoting a recognition of common secular interests.”
  3. Strategic engagement with Pakistan: The FY 2011 budget request would fund “the extension and expansion of public diplomacy programs in Pakistan that were originally funded in the FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act,” including English language programs, teacher exchanges, short-term undergraduate exchanges, and the exchange of Fulbright scholars and students.
  4. Alumni engagement and social networking: The necessity of engaging alumni in their home countries once they have returned from a program is flagged as a priority, especially engagement through social networking. A “social networking” line item was included for the first time in the FY 2010 budget ($100,000) and was continued at the same funding level in FY 2011 request.

The exchanges section of the Congressional Budget Justification document for the State Department is available here, while the full document can be downloaded here.

A chart detailing the FY 2011 exchange program funding request by program is below, and can be downloaded in Excel format here:

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