Funding cuts to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), a bilateral exchange program supported jointly by the U.S. and Germany, are facing bipartisan criticism from members of Congress, as well as from the German government. In addition to opposition from CBYX program alumni, the cuts have “spawned an unusual coalition in Washington that is working hard to reverse the partial defunding of the program,” Deutsche Welle reports.
Secretary of State John Kerry, throughout the past two days, testified before several congressional committees with regard to the President’s FY16 State Department budget request.
Secretary of State John Kerry honored seven influential American artists one month ago for their contributions to U.S. cultural diplomacy, presenting them with the Art in Embassies (AIE) Medal of Arts Life Time Achievement award. In his opening speech at the awards ceremony, Kerry explored the weight art and multimedia have on cultural diplomatic pursuits:
The U.S. Department of State is celebrating 75 years of state-sponsored exchange programs this year. Launched today is a social media campaign using the hashtag #ExchangesAre and comprising an array of videos that will explore the historical impacts of such programs. The 75th anniversary of State Department exchanges coincides with today’s launch of a new, informative website and will also be accompanied by a series of events throughout 2015.
Student exchanges are key in advancing the United States’ positive relationship with China, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed in a speech on U.S.-China relations on Tuesday:
“One of the best ways for us to improve our connection is by expanding the student exchanges.”
The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is an important opportunity “to help bring about a more prosperous future for both the United State and our ASEAN partners,” according to Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry outlined the role of YSEALI in a speech on the importance of business and economic relations between the U.S. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):
The President, First Lady, and Secretary of State this week highlighted a Presidential Summit to celebrate the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and the program’s 500 Washington fellows. President Obama announced that, with the blessing of the Nelson Mandela family, the fellowship component of the initiative has been renamed the “Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.”
Rick Stengel, former managing editor of Time magazine, was sworn-in as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs yesterday. Stengel had been nominated for the post by President Obama last fall and was confirmed by the Senate in mid-February.
Testifying on the Obama Administration’s FY15 budget request before Congress this week, Secretary of State John Kerry underlined the immense return on investment the American people are getting for their comparatively small investment in U.S. foreign policy, and specifically mentioned the positive impact of international exchanges.
Said Kerry in his testimony:
At the launch of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Partnership last week, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of, and the Obama Administration’s commitment to, connecting young people worldwide.