Policy Monitor Weekly Digest

► Alliance Executive Director Michael McCarry announced he will retire at the end of the year. The Alliance now seeks a dynamic and politically savvy successor.

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► The U.S. will re-open its embassy in Cuba, continuing the expansion of diplomatic relations between the two countries, President Obama announced on Wednesday.

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► U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter expressed the need to "deepen" international exchanges with Germany, noting the value of these programs during his remarks at a forum in Berlin on Monday.

► At the sixth Consultation on People-to-People exchange, the U.S. and Chinese governments reiterated their belief in the long-term benefits of exchanges between the two countries.

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► Eat. Play. Give and join our J Day celebrations on August 3! J Day is a nationwide celebration of the power of these international exchange programs and a great opportunity to raise awareness of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP).

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► The House State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee approved its FY16 funding bill, providing $582.531 million for educational and cultural exchange programs in FY16. This allocation is approximately $40.55 million less than the President’s request of $623.079 million, and $7.37 million less than the FY15 enacted level of $589.9 million. 

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► The Japanese government will provide $15 million to support Japanese studies at 9 U.S. universities, a decision that was reaffirmed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent official visit to the U.S.

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► International experiences may improve cognitive abilities associated with creativity, according to recent studies.

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► EducationUSA launched its new website, which provides more resources to a broader audience of prospective international students seeking opportunities to study in the United States.

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► The State Department will launch a study abroad branch aiming to increase the number of American students abroad, facilitate study abroad opportunities for diverse participants, and promote opportunities non-traditional locations, reports The Pie News.

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