Have you heard about the seven women mountain climbers from Nepal, who climbed Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska? Together this all-women team has climbed six of the seven summits of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Yesterday, Secretary Kerry met with the Seven Summits Women’s team in efforts to promote women’s empowerment, education, and environmental awareness. http://go.usa.gov/5Yqw 

Pakistani Field Hockey Players Celebrate 41st Anniversary of Title IX in the United States

Title IX changed sports and education forever for American girls and women. Read about how this female Pakistani hockey player came to the U.S. and saw firsthand the effects of women’s equality in this DipNote article: http://go.usa.gov/jcTj

Secretary Kerry: Peace Corps “The Best Use of Citizenship”
Secretary of State John Kerry took a break from meetings last week at the Organization of American States General Assembly in Antigua, Guatemala, to swear in the first group of Peace Corps volunteers of his tenure.

During an intimate gathering before he addressed the staff of Embassy Guatemala City, the Secretary chatted with the incoming class of Guatemala Response volunteers. MORE


A Message to American International Exchange Host Families: Thank You
“The map of the world is more than just a big poster on the wall. It represents people our children have come to love in countries they may have never heard of otherwise,” according to the Strain family of San Antonio, Texas when we asked what being a host family meant to them.

As summer begins for families around the United States, we would like to say thank you to the volunteer American host families who generously provided a home-away-from-home for one of nearly 2,000 high school exchange students from over 50 countries that are on State Department-sponsored exchange programs this year. MORE

Colombian Sports Visitors: On the Fast Track to Empowering Girls

Despite the early hour, 12 female athletes and two coaches, bright-eyed and dressed in matching blue and yellow track suits, visited us at the Department of State last week. They were eager to listen, ask questions, and share their experiences as teenage female athletes and Afro-Colombian students. Although the athletes had just met and came from three different cities, they already acted like teammates. Sports have a unique way of bringing people together.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed this fast-paced program as part of our Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, to inspire and empower more women and girls to become involved in all aspects of sports. During their exchange, the track and field athletes ran side by side with their American counterparts in Washington, D.C., at Woodrow Wilson High School, and then traveled to Portland, Oregon, to work with other female athletes at the 2013 NCAA Track and Field National Championships. MORE

U.S. Ambassadors ‘Bike Across Borders’ in Zambia and Zimbabwe

Tourism is one of the great drivers of economic growth worldwide.  According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average international tourist in the United States spends $4,300, and those tourist dollars directly support 1.2 million jobs.  Tourism is also a big growth sector in sub-Saharan Africa.  Contributing 94.3 billion dollars to the region’s economy in 2012, travel and tourism as a part of the region’s GDP is expected to increase by 5.1 percent over the next 10 years through much needed economic expansion and job creation.  If managed with foresight and attention, travel and tourism will promote wildlife conservation, local handicraft skills, and cultural preservation. MORE

EducationUSA Launches Mobile App for International Students

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recently launched its new EducationUSA mobile app.  The app allows international students who would like to study in the U.S. to access accurate and comprehensive information about the opportunities available to them.

Through the app, students can find an EducationUSA advising center near them, engage with our social media, follow student financial aid updates, view event photos, find ‘Frequently Asked Questions,’ and contact advising centers virtually through the ‘Ask an Adviser’ system. In addition, it features push notifications to keep students up-to-date on the latest EducationUSA programs in their home countries. MORE

State Department Exchange Students Improve Their Communities Through Social Media

Our U.S. Department of State high-school exchange students are some of the best and brightest from countries around the world. Through programs like the American Serbia and Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange  (A-SMYLE), Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES), the U.S. Department of State brings nearly 2,000 future leaders to live with host families and study in American high schools across the United States.

This year, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is doing more to help these amazing young people in our Youth Exchange Programs make lasting connections while they’re here in the United States and equip them with skills that they can use to make positive changes in their own communities and beyond. MORE

New Agreement Underwrites Exhibition of Documentaries at U.S. Embassies Abroad

American movies have always been a bright and flickering window into our nation’s history — a great narrative tool to tell the American story to foreign audiences. What better way could there be to support our public diplomacy than by screening documentaries about our culture and history at more than 500 American Spaces around the world?

Through the “America’s Media Makers” grant program, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), talented American film-makers have told the stories of the American Dust Bowl, Broadway musicals, American jazz, and the Freedom Riders who challenged segregation in the early 1960s, and also created portraits of revered American figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and President Lyndon Johnson. MORE

International Exchanges: Empowering Environmental Leaders

Holly Battelle, 2010-2011 Fulbright U.S. Student to Bangladesh, stands on top of her apartment building, which has 1 KW of solar panels, in Dhaka. [Photo Courtesy of Holly Battelle/ Used by Permission]

About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Today, in the Gambia, alumni of Department of State-sponsored exchange programs will form environmental clubs with 100 under-served youth to create and maintain a seed bank, and plant tree nurseries.

Today in Bangalore, India, Parvati Gubbi, a secondary teacher of science and alumna of the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program, will teach students to practice sustainable lifestyles and, “become champions of change for a cleaner and greener habitat for the future.”

Today, here in the United States, 13 International Visitor Leadership Program participants… more »