More than 200 international professionals will conclude this week their participation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Professional Fellows Program, with a closing two-day Professional Fellow Congress in Washington, DC, October 19-20. The congress is the final segment of one month professional development fellowships that include placements at non-profit, government and private organizations in 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The Professional Fellows Program is designed to enhance participants’ understanding of the United States, spur new ideas about ways to address community challenges, and how to harness energy at the grassroots level.
The closing Professional Fellows Congress will be an opportunity for the participants to compare and contrast what they have experienced in the U.S. with systems in their home countries. Participants also examine how individuals can be empowered through engagement in civil society, advisory groups, and the policy formulation process.
The Professional Fellows represent a diverse group, hailing from 28 countries and territories worldwide. The fellows specialize in one of five subject areas: Climate Change, Education to Employment, Food Security, Global Health, and Legislative Development and include members of foreign parliaments, NGO leaders, practicing doctors, legal professionals, community development specialists, journalists, among many other professions.
A total of 500 foreign fellows have come to the United States for the Professional Fellows Program in 2011. Thousands of Americans have hosted, worked with, and learned from the foreign fellows while they have been in the United States and approximately 300 American participants are being selected to take part in official follow-on programs, many in conjunction with the fellows they hosted in the U.S.
The Professional Fellows Program is one of a number professional exchange programs funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs each year designed to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Each year approximately 50,000 foreign and American participants take part in a wide range of exchange programs funded by the State Department, including the Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program. For additional details, please visit http://exchanges.state.gov/citizens/profs.html or contact Carla Coolman at CoolmanCH@state.gov or 202-632-3356 or Adam Meier at MeierAW2@state.gov or 202-632-6067.