The Collective Public Policy Voice of the Exchange Community

Cabinet Exit Memo by Secretary of State John Kerry

Cabinet members from various departments and agencies submitted Exit Memos to President Barack Obama last week, detailing the progress accomplished in their respective entities during the Obama administration. The memo by Secretary of State John Kerry focused on the strides made by the State Department in advancing national security, alleviating conflicts around the world, strengthening U.S. international partnerships, expanding opportunities for American citizens, and defending universal values.

Ireland and the United States Sign Extension for the Work and Travel Program

A new agreement between Ireland and the United States will add a three-year extension to the Ireland Work and Travel (IWT) program, lengthening the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments. According to a press release by the U.S. Embassy Dublin, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Evan Ryan, and Her Excellency, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Anne Anderson, signed the diplomatic agreement to renew the visa program on December 5. According to the Irish Central, the IWT program has been renewed every two years for two years since its inception in 2008 – the December 5 signing marked the first time an extension was signed for more than two years.

U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Releases 2016 Report

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (USACPD) today released its 2016 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting Actives, detailing roughly $1.8 billion in programs worldwide. The report offers analysis, research and evaluation, policy recommendations, regional overviews, and country-specific spotlights for a host of public diplomacy and international broadcasting programs, including Department of State exchanges.

U.S. Department of State Partners with Airbnb to Support Study Abroad

Secretary of State John Kerry and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced a new partnership to support the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program by helping send more students to study abroad. In remarks delivered yesterday at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Secretary Kerry highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships to help increase global interconnectedness and mutual understanding:

Senate and House set strong FY17 spending levels for State Department exchanges; Senate includes SWT seafood placements provisions

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY17 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) spending bill, including State Department exchanges. The House SFOPS subcommittee also released a draft bill text in advance of the mark-up of its FY17 SFOPS spending bill tomorrow.