The Alliance Abroad team helped support international exchange during a rally in Washington DC on March 8.

Alliance Abroad staff on Capitol Hill

We were particularly happy to hear Congressman Henry “Hank” Johnson’s (D-GA) spirited defense of these programs:

“Department of State international exchange programs are a proven and cost-effective way for the United States to remain internationally competitive, develop American leaders, and promote American values. These programs support global engagement that is critical to our prosperity and national security.

“Exchange programs such as the Fulbright Program, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Program, the Teachers of Critical Languages Program, and SportsUnited create amazing opportunities for our young people, helping them not only to develop the critical skills they need to succeed in a global marketplace but also to serve as ambassadors of American youth around the world.

“Programs including the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) bring talented leaders from a variety of fields to the U.S. to expand their professional skills and networks. State Department evaluations repeatedly show that these and other participants who visit the United States through exchange programs leave with a better impression of our country, the American people, and our values. U.S. ambassadors consistently rank exchange programs among the most useful catalysts for long-term political change and mutual understanding.

“In addition to enhancing America’s competitiveness, exchange programs provide significant immediate benefits to our nation’s economy. Most of the exchanges budget is spent either on Americans, American businesses and organizations, or in the United States. Exchange participants do business with U.S. small businesses, airlines, hotels, and non-governmental organizations in local communities and their presence in our colleges and universities supports U.S. academic institutions and enriches the experience of our students.

“Through professional, academic, cultural, and athletic exchanges, State Department exchange programs reach entrepreneurs, youth, educators, artists, and athletes in the United States and more than 160 countries around the world, dramatically increasing America’s global reach, and building durable connections based on mutual understanding and respect.”

Please join us in supporting these programs by writing your member of Congress using this toolbox provided by the Alliance for International Exchange.