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):
(Update: 10/8/14 at 3:45pm)
As the Alliance previously reported, the Russian government has cancelled its participation in the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) high school exchange program for the upcoming 2015-16 term. A round-up of various media coverage of this event is below:
(Update 10/8/14: An additional significant change not included in our original analysis has been added below [see bullet #7, and further comment on that bullet in the section titled “Significant changes to sponsor representations and disclosures: section 62.9(d)(3)”].)
Leaders in the field of U.S.- China relations emphasized the continued importance of investing in public diplomacy efforts, particularly student exchange programs, at the launch of the 100,000 Strong Report on Tuesday. Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of the Asia Society, underlined the strategic value of exchanges:
“These initiatives are not just about feeling good and getting to know each other, but can do big things.”
The Fulbright Program remains vital to the U.S.’ educational, scientific, economic, and political partnerships, according to Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Sonenshine recently wrote a blog post in the Huffington Post underlining the positive impacts of the program on public diplomacy:
The Government of Russia has decided to cancel Russian participation in the 2015-16 Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) high school program, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Russian high school students currently in the U.S. on the 2014-15 FLEX program can continue their stay and finish their program.
In a recent Huffington Post blog post, 100,000 Strong Foundation president Carola McGiffert calls for the diversification of study abroad to China. The general homogeneity of study abroad poses a disadvantage for not only underrepresented students themselves, but also U.S. businesses and the U.S. government, McGiffert writes.
Public diplomacy remains paramount to U.S. interests at home and abroad, according to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel. Speaking at an American Security Project event earlier this week, in what was referred to as “his first comprehensive presentation on his view of public diplomacy,” Stengel emphasized the role of the exchange community in public diplomacy efforts:
Confucius Institutes continue to increase in number and funding, despite growing criticism against the institutes in the United States and a questionable impact on China’s soft power, reports The Economist.
The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has posted information and FAQs regarding the ongoing efforts to fully restore its global database for issuing travel documents and visas. This database crashed last week, causing an “extensive backlog” for U.S. passports and visas worldwide.