A group of 225 Professional Fellows will arrive in Washington, D.C. next week as part of the U.S. Department of State’s engagement of civil society worldwide on foreign policy priorities. Professional Fellows are foreign community leaders who come to the United States to broaden and deepen their understanding of the U.S. and their vision for the future of their respective countries and territories. They come from a variety of professional backgrounds including local government, education, civil society, and journalism. These foreign community leaders will participate in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, D.C., May 3-4, 2011.
The event marks the completion of their fellowships at non-profit, government and private organizations in 30 states across the country in the following areas: Climate Change, Education to Employment, Food Security, Global Health, and Legislative Development. The two-day Fellows Congress provides a forum for participants to network with other professionals in their field of work, share their fellowship experiences, discuss their role as leaders in the community, and explore ways in which they might apply their learning and expertise to concrete and innovative activities upon their return home. This second annual spring Fellows Congress will focus on civic engagement, coalition building, advocacy, media outreach, and managing communications strategies.
For the 2011 calendar year, there will be a total of nearly 500 foreign fellows coming to the United States to share best practices with their counterparts and strengthen their understanding of American society. Approximately 300 American participants will be selected for reciprocal fellowship programs overseas later this year and early next year.
The Professional Fellows Program is one of a number of professional exchange programs funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Annually, approximately 40,000 foreign and American participants take part in a wide range of exchange programs funded by the U.S. Department of State. Among those are the Fulbright Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program.