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.
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:
President Barack Obama addressed 350 emerging leaders at a summit in Laos last week as part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). The President announced new initiatives in the region, connected with the youth from countries members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and highlighted the role of educational exchanges for leadership development and U.S.-ASEAN relations.
The number of exchange visitors and international students in the United States has increased by 5.4 percent since July 2015, according to data published in a quarterly report by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The number of J-1 exchange visitors in the U.S. grew from 244,766 in July 2015 to 258,012 in July 2016 (5.4% increase), while the number of F- and M-visa holders studying in the U.S. increased from 1.05 million in July 2015 to 1.11 million in July 2016 (5.5% increase).
In a foreign policy address at Youngstown State University yesterday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump proposed implementing extreme screenings and ideological testing for visa applicants, as well as a temporary suspension of visa processing from regions with a history of terrorism. Trump defended these new vetting mechanisms as a way to prevent any sympathizers of terrorist groups or those with hostile attitudes towards the United States from entering the country.