Fact Sheet
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
March 21, 2011


The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of countries around the world through a variety of international programs based on the benefits of mutual understanding, educational and cultural exchange, and leadership development. ECA programs engage participants from a range of backgrounds and specialties. Detailed information about these programs may be found at http://exchanges.state.gov.

Social networking amplifies people-to-people exchanges and enhances U.S. public diplomacy. ECA’s social network ExchangesConnect is at http://connect.state.gov.

Fulbright Program - More than 1,600 students and scholars from the United States and 30 countries across the region are participating in the Fulbright Program during the 2010-2011 academic year, including Humphrey Fellows. The Fulbright Program provides opportunities for citizens of the U.S. and other countries to study, teach or conduct research abroad and develop ties that build mutual understanding.

Gilman Scholarship Program - More than 370 U.S. students are studying in the Western Hemisphere with support from the Gilman Scholarship Program during the 2010-2011 academic year. The Gilman Scholarship Program provides scholarships for summer, semester and academic year study abroad to American undergraduate students with financial need.

Undergraduate Exchanges - Nearly 200 undergraduate students from the Western Hemisphere are participating in summer, semester, or year academic exchanges in the United States during the 2010-2011 academic year. These exchanges support emerging student leaders from underrepresented sectors of selected countries in different world regions.

Community College Initiative Program - More than 100 students from the Western Hemisphere are studying during the 2010-2011 academic year at community colleges in United States for certificates in fields important to national development under the Community College Initiative Program. This program provides students the opportunity to improve English language fluency, acquire career-relevant skills, and deepen their understanding of U.S. culture and society.

Teacher Exchanges - More than 190 teachers and administrators from the United States and countries across the region are participating in university and classroom-based professional development exchanges during the 2010-2011 academic year.

English Language Programs - More than 3,600 high school students from disadvantaged sectors across the region have been awarded English Access Microscholarships for two years of quality after-school and summer English language instruction. Students’ improved English language skills lead to greater mutual understanding, better job and educational opportunities and the ability to compete for and participate in exchanges in the United States. More than 60 U.S. English Langauge Fellows and Specialists are participating in exchanges to the region to share their expertise on teacher training, curriculum development and other areas. More than 100 English teachers across the hemisphere have received E-Teacher Scholarships this academic year to participate in distance professional development courses.

EducationUSA - A network of EducationUSA educational advising centers across the region provide students and their parents with accurate, unbiased, and comprehensive information on opportunities for study in the United States, including information about financial aid and scholarships. More than 100 promising students in the region from disadvantaged sectors who might otherwise have not considered study in the United States within their reach have been supported with Opportunity Funds to assist with the up-front costs of applying for study and scholarships in the U.S.

American Business Fellows Program - The American Business Fellows Program supports one- to three-month internships at business associations and businesses. Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Western Hemisphere countries participated in FY 2010. The program complements the existing American (Government) Fellows Program.

American Fellows Program - The American Fellows Program supports one- to three-month internships at host government agencies for outstanding mid- to senior-level civil servants from the United States and participating Western Hemisphere countries. Fifteen outstanding civil servants participated in FY 2010. The program's goal is to promote mutual understanding and excellence in government in the Western Hemisphere.

FORTUNE/State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership - Launched in 2006, this program annually provides approximately 35 emerging women leaders from around the world with the opportunity to develop their leadership, management and business skills while gaining experience in the U.S. business and non-profit environments, where they are mentored by FORTUNE’s Most Powerful Women leaders. Project activities include a short orientation program in Washington, D.C., a mentorship assignment for approximately three weeks at a U.S. host company, and a wrap-up session. Approximately 21 alumnae from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti, and Peru have participated in the program since 2006.

National Youth Science Camp of the Americas - The National Youth Science Foundation continues the development of the Youth Science Camp of the Americas. The camp brings together high-school graduates from Western Hemisphere countries for scientific and cultural exchange programs, including sixteen ECA-sponsored participants in FY 2010. The project is designed to encourage the most talented and gifted science-inclined students to achieve their full potential.

Open Grant Competition for the Professional Fellows Program - Through the Open Grant Competition for the Professional Fellows Program, ECA provides support to U.S. non-profit, non-governmental organizations to conduct international exchanges that increase mutual understanding between U.S. and foreign audiences and promote long-term U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives. Each year, the Open Grant Competition supports two-way exchanges that provide opportunities for American community organizations, professional associations and universities to partner with foreign organizations to develop institution-building projects focused on a variety of critical issues. In FY 2010, fellowships addressed climate change, food security, education-to-employment, legislative development and global health in select countries worldwide. In FY 2010, ECA supported forty-two Fellows from the United States, and forty-five Fellows from countries in the WHA region.

American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) - The grant sponsors approximately 25 reciprocal study tours of two weeks’ duration for delegations of seven to twelve American and foreign young political leaders to learn about each other's political systems and institutions. In FY 2010, ECA supported eleven foreign participants and eleven U.S. participants in four delegations with countries in the WHA region.

Partners of the Americas - Partners of the Americas implements exchanges with Western Hemisphere countries designed to enhance mutual understanding through personal involvement and linkages of key volunteer specialists in fields such as citizen participation, judicial reform, public administration, promotion of minority and indigenous rights, journalism, environmental and historic conservation, education, economic development and trade, and visual and performing arts. Approximately eighty participant exchanges will take place in FY 2010 and FY 2011.

Sister Cities International - Sister Cities International (SCI), which promotes mutual understanding between citizens of the U.S. and other countries through the activities of the 1300 U.S. cities affiliated with more than 2,400 sister cities in 137 countries around the world, acts as a coordinator and catalyst in the development of various types of sister-city programs. ECA’s grant partially supports SCI functioning as a clearinghouse to gather, analyze and disseminate information and work directly with community leaders and citizen volunteers, as well as elected officials, and does not directly support the exchange of specific participants.

Youth Ambassadors Program - The Youth Ambassadors Program brings together 278 high school students and adult mentors from 25 countries across the Americas, as well as 100 students from the United States to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities. Exchanges are primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States, but also include delegations from the United States to select countries. Pioneered by the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia in 2002, it has since expanded to twenty-four other countries in the region. ECA began funding the Youth Ambassadors Program in FY 2009. All of the programs focus on the primary themes of civic education, community service, and youth leadership development. Secondary themes, such as social justice, entrepreneurship, and the environment, serve to illustrate the more abstract concepts of the primary themes.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) - This program brings established or potential foreign opinion makers to the U.S. for two-to-three-week programs to gain firsthand knowledge about U.S. policies, politics, society and culture through carefully designed visits that reflect the participants’ professional interests and support U.S. foreign policy goals. Participants are selected by American Embassies. They are established or next generation foreign leaders in government, politics, media, education, the arts, science, labor relations and other key fields. The total number of visitors from the Western Hemisphere in FY 2010 was 874.