Public Diplomacy

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:

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter noted the importance of educational and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and Germany in his remarks at a forum in Berlin on Monday. In particular, Secretary Carter spoke to the value of exchanges in preparing young citizens for success in a global economy:

Despite regular interactions, local businesses have only “moderately favorable” opinions of international students in their college towns, according to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed.

President Obama noted the “extraordinary” leadership skills of exchange participants during a question and answer session with 75 fellows from the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in Washington, DC this week.

Commenting on the bright futures of the fellows, who represent all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Obama remarked:

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