State Department Exchange Students To Be Next Generation of English Teachers

State Department exchange students learn how to make English learning interactive and fun during a one-week English teacher training workshop in Washington, D.C., April 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

Twenty-eight alumni from three Department of State high-school exchange programs are eager to return to their home countries to teach English in their communities. These students from 16 countries came to the United States last summer to attend American high schools for an academic year while living with host families from across the United States as part of the American Serbia and Montenegro (A-SMYLE), Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study… 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 »

Burmese Media Delegation Observes U.S. Free and Independent Press

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock poses for a photograph with a delegation of Burmese journalists at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., February 27, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

Mr. Thiha Saw sits at a table in the Washington Post boardroom, listening attentively about the role of the newspaper as part of the free and independent press in the United States. As Editor in Chief of Burmese news outlet, Open News, this is another sign of Burma’s rapid transformation. Mr. Saw is one of four Burmese journalists and government officials on a Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) sponsored program designed to provide U.S. support towards fostering a vibrant media culture in Burma.

I met Mr. Saw and his colleagues last Monday, and he highlighted his longstanding connections with U.S. public diplomacy initiatives and people-to-people exchanges. As a journalist he had… more »

International Writing Program Sends Former U.S. Poet Laureate to Burma

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass speaks with university students in Rangoon, Burma, January 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

For centuries, great writers have opened windows into other worlds, and allowed countries — often for the very first time — a glimpse into a different culture and a different way of living. Through their work, writers connect cultures on a people-to-people level. The art of creative writing is fundamental to freedom of expression and a reason why the U.S. Department of State has sponsors exchange programs like the International Writing Program.

This past month, the State Department sent four of the best American writers and poets on our first International Writing Program delegation to Burma. The group included former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, writers Brenda Hillman and ZZ Packer, and Christopher Merrill, director of the… more »

Taking the Lessons of Title IX Global—On the Court and In Life

Jessica Mendoza, U.S. Olympian and member of the State Department Council to Empower Women and Girls, leads clinics in Nicaragua as part of the State Department's global efforts to empower women and girls through sports, February 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

February 6 marks the 27th National Day of Women and Girls in Sports.

Today in Esteli, Nicaragua, girls from under-served areas are on the softball diamond, fielding grounders, running out base hits, and learning how sports can improve their health and their performance in the classroom.

In Donetsk, Ukraine, girls were on the basketball court, looking for the outlet pass, grabbing rebounds, and working as a team.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, 12 young, female basketball players from Senegal recently concluded a 10-day international exchange.… more »

Happy 10th Anniversary Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

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

Today, more than 6,000 alumni from 45 countries in every region of the world are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program and paying tribute to the program’s founders: the late Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Richard Lugar. Their vision in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the United States was to build bridges between Americans and young people in countries with significant Muslim populations. Now in its tenth year, that’s exactly what American and international students are doing through the YES and YES Abroad programs. 

The YES program provides scholarships to almost 900 young people… more »

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh: Empowering Youth with 21st Century Tools for Change

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh participants learn how to use technology and social media to impact their communities for the better in Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

The inaugural Youth TechCamp Bangladesh launched on September 16, and Dhaka has been buzzing ever since! Youth TechCamp Bangladesh was the latest in a series of interactive trainings around the world for alumni of State’s youth exchange programs. In Bangladesh, 30 alumni (ages 17-19) from our Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program participated, learning how to use technology and social media to impact their communities for the better.

Organized in collaboration with U.S. Embassy Dhaka and iEARN,… more »

Culinary Diplomacy: Connecting Individuals, Leaders and Nations Through Food

Culinary Diplomacy International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participant Armand Arnal of France speaks White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Pastry Chef William Yosses at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

This month, the State Department welcomed 25 chefs and foodies from all over the world to Washington, D.C., as part of an exciting new International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). From Brazil to Vietnam, every country in the world has a unique food culture, and the United States is no exception. Throughout this IVLP, participants are meeting with high profile chefs to discuss the influences of food and culture on American communities. 

Their U.S. exchange coincides with the Office of the Chief of Protocol’s launch of theDiplomatic Culinary Partnership, which seeks to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts. At the… more »

Promoting Service and Strategic Priorities in Madrid



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

Last week, I visited Spain’s beautiful capital city, meeting with the Department of State’s partners in culture, education, and civil service. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid has been an innovative public diplomacy presence abroad, and it was exciting to see the staff’s fine work firsthand.

My first stop was Embassy Madrid’s first-ever Service Innovation Summit. With help from the Rafael del Pino Foundation, the Meridian International Center and passionate… more »