NURTURE COMMON INTERESTS: Expand international understanding of common interests and values through messages and programs built on areas in which U.S. Government expertise corresponds to the interests and needs of its partners and counterparts.
Analysis: The Department assesses educational and cultural exchange program performance by collecting data directly from program participants. The illustrative indicator below measures the percentage of exchange participants who reported an increase or positive change in their understanding of the United States (political and economic institutions, norms, and values) immediately following the conclusion of their programs. In FY 2012, the Department again exceeded its target, with more than 97 percent of foreign publics reporting an increased or positive change in understanding. Statistics are compiled from surveys of actual participants ("alumni") of exchange programs. While there are many factors that could account for variations from year to year, what is most important is the trend: each year, overwhelmingly, the participants' perceptions of the United States are positively impacted by their experiences. Other indicators measured changes in exchange participant favorability toward the U.S. Government (71 percent reported a more favorable view in FY 2012), and toward the American people (85 percent reported a more favorable view in FY 2012), as a result of their participation in an exchange program. These results show the effectiveness of educational and cultural exchange programs in positively and substantively reshaping understanding of, and attitudes toward, the United States.