Public Diplomacy

On a trip to Vietnam last week, Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the importance of educational partnerships between the U.S. and Vietnam, and the role exchanges have played in the transformation of U.S.-Vietnamese relations.

During remarks delivered in Hanoi on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the two countries, Secretary Kerry noted:

Meeting with 500 Mandela Washington Fellows earlier this week, President Obama praised the “incredible talent” of the fellows and the diplomacy value of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI):

“These connections, partnerships, and friendships forge an understanding that brings our peoples closer together.”

The YALI program is an opportunity to develop global leaders, Obama explained to the fellows:

In response to a request by a bipartisan group of Members of Congress, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) recently announced the formation of the Commission on Language Learning that will conduct the first national study on foreign language learning in more than 30 years, PR Newswire reports.

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During the three-day Presidential Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders earlier this week, Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) commended the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and its potential to foster change and create long-term, positive effects.

After congratulating the Washington Mandela fellows on their participation in the very competitive program, Rep. Johnson noted:

A group of “outstanding young nonprofit leaders [from] around the world” are serving U.S. nonprofits and honing their professional skills, reports The Washington Post.

U2 singer-songwriter Bono paid tribute to the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and to the Irish students affected by a balcony collapse this summer, The Irish Times reports.

Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA) spoke in support of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program yesterday on the House floor, noting that the program “has shown tremendous success in fostering a stronger relationship between the United States and Germany.”

In his remarks, Rep. Thompson outlined several of the long-term benefits of the program for both German and American CBYX participants:

More than two dozen Yemeni exchange students will be allowed to stay in the United States through December, reports The Washington Post. The students were participants in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, sponsored by the State Department, when civil war broke out in their home country of Yemen, preventing their return.

The U.S. will re-open its embassy in Cuba this month, continuing the expansion of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the New York Times reports. President Obama announced the plans on Wednesday, adding that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana “to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more.”

On several occasions during the sixth U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Washington this week, the U.S. and Chinese governments underlined the importance of, and their continued commitment to, people-to-people exchanges between their two countries.

Secretary of State John Kerry, during the joint opening session on Tuesday, stressed the benefits of “fully reciprocal and unfettered” contacts between the citizens of the U.S. and China:

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