Barack Obama

The Obama Administration is planning to return to “people to people policies” with regard to Cuba and expand opportunities for Americans to travel to the island nation, the New York Times reports today. This new Cuba policy would be meant to “loosen restrictions on academic, religious and cultural groups that were adopted under President George W. Bush, and return to the people to people policies followed under President Bill Clinton.

“The United States will spend $165-million over the next five years on programs to help strengthen higher education in Indonesia through educational exchanges and university partnerships,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. President Obama and Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, announced this initiative yesterday at a meeting at the G-20 summit in Toronto.

In her commencement address last Friday at Anacostia Senior High School in Washington, DC, First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged the graduating class—90 per cent of whom will attend college in the fall, many as the first in their family to do so—to find ways to get involved with the world and to study abroad:

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While the timeline for the markup and passage of FY 2011 appropriations bills remains uncertain, the Obama administration released two memos last week “setting guidelines for departments and agencies on their FY 2012 budget requests,” the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition reported. The memos underscore a “growing focus on reducing spending and the deficit”:

The White House last Thursday transmitted a new National Security Strategy to Congress. The 60-page document includes two references to the value of exchange programs. In a discussion of how the U.S. will engage with the world:

A group of Russian high school basketball players arrived in Washington for the “first exchange under the bilateral presidential commission, a mechanism established by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, during their summit in Moscow in July 2009,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. The 13-15 year old students were treated to a shootaround with President Obama on the White House basketball court.

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On the heels of her commencement address at George Washington University, during which she urged the graduating class to “take it global,” First Lady Michelle Obama told students at Wayne State University in Detroit yesterday to “engage broadly” with the world and to participate in an exchange program if at all possible— “it’ll advance yo

“I’m…asking you to keep being you, to keep doing what you’re doing. Just take it global,” First Lady Michelle Obama advised George Washington University’s graduating class of 2010 during her commencement address this past Sunday:

After a final Senate vote yesterday, the Travel Promotion Act (HR 1299) moves to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The act would authorize $10 million in seed money in FY 2010 — and in the future match as much as $100 million a year in corporate contributions — for a nonprofit entity designed to promote the United States as a destination for foreign tourists.

At the annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum last Saturday, President Obama announced that Rashad Hussain, deputy associate White House counsel, “will serve as a special U.S. envoy to the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference.” An administration official remarked that “[a]ppointing a special envoy to the OIC is an important part of the president’s commitment to engaging Muslims around the world based on mutual respect and mutual interest,” Politico reported.

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