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U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Reorganization and Overview

Reorganization: The Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Partnership
The public diplomacy functions of cultural and educational exchange as well as international information programs, formerly under the United States Information Agency (USIA), are integrated into the Department of State under the responsibility of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The Department' of State's existing Bureau of Public Affairs, providing information to the domestic audience, also reports to this Under Secretary. USIA's Foreign Press Centers and WORLDNET interactive television programs are integrated within the Bureau of Public Affairs. USIA's geographic area offices are merged with their State Department counterparts within the regional bureaus. The International Broadcasting Bureau, including the Voice of America, is now an independent agency, receiving policy guidance from the Secretary of State.

Overview: Bureau and Office Responsibilities

Bureau of Public Affairs
The Bureau of Public Affairs carries out the Secretary's mandate to help Americans understand the importance of foreign affairs. It vigorously pursues the Secretary's vision to get the Department's message to the American people and to feed their concerns and comments back to the policymakers. It accomplishes this in a variety of ways, which include:

  • Strategic and tactical planning to advance the Administration's priority foreign policy goals;
  • Conducting press briefings for domestic and foreign press corps;
  • Pursuing media outreach, enabling Americans everywhere to hear directly from key Department officials through local, regional, and national radio and television interviews;
  • Managing the State Department's web site at www.state.gov and developing web pages with up-to-date information about the Department and U.S. foreign policy;
  • Answering public questions about current foreign policy issues by phone, email, or letter;
  • Arranging town meetings and scheduling speakers to visit communities to explain the fundamental outlines of U.S. foreign policy and why it is important to all Americans; and
  • Producing and coordinating audio-visual products and services in the U.S. and abroad for the public, the press, the Secretary of State, and Department bureaus and offices.
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. The bureau does this in close cooperation with State Department posts overseas by:
  • Promoting personal, professional, and institutional ties between private citizens and organizations in the United States and abroad; and
  • Presenting U.S. history, society, art, and culture in all of its diversity to overseas audiences.
About 23,000 Americans and foreign nationals participate in Bureau academic and professional exchange programs every year. These exchange programs identify future leaders and build a foundation of trust with current and potential leaders throughout the world. Such programs and activities include the Fulbright Exchange Program, the International Visitors Program, Citizen Exchange Programs, Study of the U.S. and English-Language Programs, Cultural Programs, Educational Advising, Humphrey Fellowships, and University Affiliation Programs.

The Bureau also provides staff support for the following organizations. The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board advises on academic exchanges and supervises conduct of the program. The U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee recommends appropriate action to protect other nations' cultural heritage in jeopardy from pillage. The Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-sponsored Exchanges and Training compiles exchange statistics and recommends measures to improve coordination and effectiveness.

Office of International Information Programs
The Office of International Information Programs (IIP) is the principal international strategic communications service for the foreign affairs community. IIP designs, develops, and implements a variety of information initiatives and strategic communications programs, including Internet and print publications, traveling and electronically transmitted speaker programs, and information resource services. These reach--and are created strictly for--key international audiences, such as the media, government officials, opinion leaders, and the general public in more than 140 countries around the world.

The office prides itself on using cutting-edge technology and strategic alliances to improve its effectiveness. The office's products and services--including web sites and other Internet services, electronic journals, speaker programs, print publications, and CD-ROMs--uniquely are designed to support the State Department's initiatives, as well as those of other U.S. foreign policy organizations. It also manages Information Resource Centers overseas and offers reference specialists based in Washington, DC, to answer specialized information queries from abroad.

IIP, operating as a reinvention laboratory through its team-based management structure, comprises three offices:

  • The Office of Geographic Liaison is the first point of contact within IIP for missions overseas and the audiences they serve. Its teams' writer-editors, information resource officers, program officers, and translators provide regionally oriented products and services.
     
  • The Office of Thematic Programs has multifunctional teams organized in one of two ways: along subject-matter lines, such as economic security, or along product lines, such as electronic media. The thematic teams work closely with the geographic teams in preparing products and services that support Washington initiatives and mission requests.
     
  • The Office of Technology Services is responsible for developing, interpreting, and applying government-wide technology policies and procedures in support of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchanges, and IIP.

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