Who We Are
The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) directs the worldwide overseas building program for the Department of State and the U.S. Government community serving abroad under the authority of the chiefs of mission in concert with other State Department bureaus, foreign affairs agencies, and Congress. OBO sets worldwide priorities for the design, construction, acquisition, maintenance, use, and sale of real properties and the use of sales proceeds.
Mission & Vision
OBO provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support the Department’s achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad. These facilities represent American values and the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.
Areas of Focus
Office of Cultural Heritage
OBO’s Office of Cultural Heritage (CH) is solely dedicated to the management of the State Department’s historically, culturally, and architecturally significant properties and assets, including properties designated by the host country as well as those significant to U.S. diplomatic relations. Properties under their care are listed on the Secretary of State’s Register of Culturally Significant Properties and OBO’s List of Significant Properties such as chanceries, office buildings, residences, collections of fine and decorative arts and more.
The Fund to Conserve United States Diplomatic Treasures Abroad
The Fund to Conserve United States Diplomatic Treasures Abroad was created as a public-private partnership to promote – through fundraising – the conservation and preservation of the State Department’s heritage collections, as well as its buildings of cultural and architectural significance. These properties and collections represent over two centuries of U.S. diplomacy around the world. They reflect many global traditions, and our respect for the cultures of the countries in which the U.S. has diplomatic missions.
Art In Embassies
For over five decades, Art in Embassies (AIE) has played a leading role in U.S. public diplomacy through a focused mission of vital cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchange. Today, AIE is an official visual arts office within the State Department, engaging over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors. It encompasses over 200 venues in 189 countries. Professional curators and registrars create and ship about 60 exhibitions per year, and since 2000, over 70 permanent collections have been installed in the Department’s diplomatic facilities throughout the world.
Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies
The Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) is a public-private partnership dedicated to providing permanent works of American art for U.S. embassies worldwide. For over thirty years, FAPE has contributed to the State Department’s mission of cultural diplomacy by partnering with American artists whose works encourage cross-cultural understanding within the diplomatic community and the international public.
The Overseas Schools Security Grant Program
The Overseas Schools Security Grant Program (OSSGP) is a State Department program that provides reimbursable security grants to eligible overseas schools. Since 2003, the program has provided Federal assistance to enhance the physical and technical security of over 500 schools worldwide. The program is intended for schools that enroll Chief of Mission students from Kindergarten through the 12th grade and provides funding for upgrades to real property. Typical upgrades include perimeter wall or fence construction, safe area construction, installing hardened doors, CCTV systems, and public address systems.