Jul 21, 2017
The Alliance for International Exchange just published a press release rallying the support of U.S. ambassadors for educational and cultural exchange programs in the U.S. On July 18, 2017 one hundred and sixty-three former U.S. ambassadors sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to support full funding in fiscal year 2018 for the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
ECA oversees a wide range of critical international exchange programs (including Fulbright) which enable people-to-people diplomacy and promote U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. Funding for ECA is contained in the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Bill.
The letter comes as the full House Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to mark-up SFOPS on Wednesday.
“We are former United States Ambassadors to countries across the globe. While we may differ in political ideology, we write today united with one voice to ask that the Senate and House Appropriations Committees support full funding in fiscal year 2018 for the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The unprecedented 55 percent cut called for in the Administration’s full budget would jeopardize our nation’s public diplomacy efforts,” wrote the ambassadors.
“In the countries where we have served, we have seen exchange programs help draw emerging political leaders closer to the United States, provide international scholars with critical information and contacts they need in America, and strengthen the appreciation of our country by exposing hundreds of thousands of people to our culture. These are the soft-power results that complemented our direct diplomacy efforts in countries that are critical to our national security,” they continued.
A copy of the full letter and a list of signers is available here.