academic exchange

This Fall, Houston area high school student, Karen Ortega, will embark on a yearlong study abroad program in China with AFS. For ten months Karen, who has never traveled outside of the U.S., will live leave behind everything she knows to live with a Chinese host family, study in a Chinese high school and gain an intimate understanding of Chinese culture.

The Obama administration is pursuing a new approach to public diplomacy that stands to weaken US ties abroad, and delivers its most profound blow to the transatlantic relationship. In March, the administration proposed a 13% cut to the Fulbright fellowship program. Cuts to Fulbright come alongside the expansion of shorter programs that offer less substantive immersion for foreigners, neglect Americans, and shift the diplomatic lens away from Europe during a period that requires greater, not less, transatlantic cooperation. 

For all RAK’s efforts, the nation-branding exercise has not been an immediate success, critics say.  But FutureBrand has also placed the UAE as the number-one brand of the future. “To achieve its goal of being a model country in the future, the UAE is actively investing in its own commercial and tourism ecosystems,” according to the 2012-2013 FutureBrand report.

President Barack Obama said the U.S. is expanding an initiative to develop and train political and economic leaders in Africa.  Obama is expanding a U.S.-based program for young African leaders, and the U.S. Agency for International Development is providing $38 million to create leadership centers in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Senegal.

This summer, 500 Africans studied business, leadership and public management on American campuses as part of a new State Department program.  The Obama administration has hailed the effort, which is part of the larger Young African Leaders Initiative, as a fresh take on public diplomacy.

This year, the state may miss its quota of international students who come to study various undergraduate courses under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship scheme.  According to ICCR officials in Delhi, Bangalore University (BU) is to be blamed for this.

India has provided 74 scholarships in Indian institutions of learning to Maldivian students who wish to pursue their studies in India, the Indian High Commission said in a statement Monday.  "India attaches the highest importance to its relations with the Maldives and is committed to cooperating with the Maldives in its developmental efforts," the statement read.

Both the number and growth of Chinese students at American universities is one of the more startling phenomena in higher education. A welcome one, too: study abroad would seem to promise a future where U.S.-China relations might be characterized by greater firsthand knowledge of American culture among the Chinese. By generating greater understanding, their experience in the U.S. should also expand their sense of common interests, brightening prospects for cooperation between the world’s main powers.

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