Strategic Goal 6: Advance U.S. Interests and Universal Values Through Public Diplomacy and Programs that Connect the United States and Americans to the World

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
December 16, 2013

The Department recognizes the central role of public diplomacy as a tool and an essential element of 21st Century statecraft, and has committed to renewing America's engagement with the people of the world by enhancing mutual respect and understanding, and creating partnerships aimed at solving common problems. Public diplomacy programs explain American society and culture and improve the understanding of American values.

Photo showing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Executive Secretary of the Department John Bass chatting in the Treaty Room reception area adjacent to the Secretary's office suite in the U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., February 4, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Executive Secretary of the Department John Bass chat in the Treaty Room reception area adjacent to the Secretary's office suite in the U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., February 4, 2013. Department of State

Key Selected Achievements:

  • Innovation Fund Supports U.S. Priorities: The Department's Fund for Innovation in Public Diplomacy enables embassies around the world to carry out innovative public diplomacy initiatives that advance our nation's priorities. In 2013, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs funded 68 projects worldwide for a total of $3.3 million. Out of these projects, 31 focused specifically on public diplomacy outreach activities to advance our economic agenda worldwide. Others focused on priorities such as disability rights and promoting open, inclusive, democratic states. For example, in 2013 the Innovation Fund supported an initiative in which Gallaudet University partnered with the University of the Americas in Panama City to establish a Latin American educational hub for deaf and hard of hearing students.
  • Study Abroad Increases: The number of American students studying abroad continues to grow steadily, up 3.4 percent from the previous year (2011/12) for a current total of 283,332. The number of U.S. applicants for Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) high school exchange programs rose by 65 percent in 2012. ECA's EducationUSA advising network of over 400 centers reaches potential students in 170 countries through in-person, outreach, and virtual platforms, contributing to the academic year 2012/2013 record high of 819,644 international students in the United States (Open Doors 2013). Over 22,000 students from 206 countries and 104 U.S. higher education institutes participated in EducationUSA's 2013 Virtual College Fair.
  • Exchanges Promote U.S. Policy: Educational, professional and cultural exchanges have become indispensable pillars of strategic dialogues with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Russia, and other countries. It is almost impossible to conceive of a major bilateral initiative that does not include an exchanges component. Dialogues with Brazil, China, and Indonesia have resulted in record numbers of participants in educational exchanges with those countries.

    In 2013, TechWomen matched 75 women from the Middle East and Africa with 150 American mentors at leading U.S. technology companies, some of whom will meet up in Morocco in the spring to continue working for increased opportunities for women. The 2013 EMPOWER program convened about 75 foreign disability rights leaders from every geographic region in the United States and sent approximately 60 American stakeholders abroad to demonstrate the United States' leading role in advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities.
  • International Media Engagement: The Department continued to expand its capacity to reach international audiences by engaging foreign broadcast, print and digital media through Regional Media Hubs, foreign language spokespeople and innovative uses of technology. The Department's six Regional Media Hubs are positioned strategically around the globe in major media markets to reach the most influential global and regional outlets. As virtual extensions of the Department of State's Spokesperson's podium, the Hubs respond to the rapidly moving international media environment to amplify the U.S. Government's highest priority policy messages. Hub video teams traveled to support major policy events, capturing footage of U.S. officials in action for distribution to broadcast and digital media via satellite and the State Department's online video distribution platforms. Spokespeople amplified the President and Secretary's messages in Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, Urdu, Dari, and other languages to ensure accurate coverage of U.S. policy in foreign media. In addition, media all over the world accessed senior policymakers in Washington via LiveAtState virtual press conferences, which use state-of-the-art technology to link foreign journalists and bloggers with U.S officials for meaningful discussions.
  • Social Media: The Department continued to expand its social media outreach by routinely scheduling global online engagements in up to nine languages on a variety of social media-including Facebook, Google+, and Twitter-and establishing its official presence on new platforms, such as Instagram. The Secretary of State participated in a Google+ Hangout for the first time and personally used Twitter and the State Department's DipNote blog as part of an effort to leverage technology to advance our foreign policy objectives, bridge gaps between people, and engage with audiences around the world. The State Department's flagship social media sites saw exponential growth across platforms. See Appendix D for the Department's Websites of Interest.
Photo showing behind the scenes at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's Google+ Hangout at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

Behind the scenes at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's Google+ Hangout at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Department of State

In Focus.

New Online Series Connects the United States to the World

On May 10, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry kicked off "Hangout at State," a new online series that brings together people across national borders to discuss with U.S. Government leaders pressing foreign policy issues such as democracy promotion, human rights, counterterrorism efforts, economic development, climate change, and drug interdiction.

In this online conversation, moderated by NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Secretary Kerry answered questions from the American people on "The U.S. In the World: What's In It for Us?" This live online event was the first for a U.S. Secretary of State. The Secretary is dedicated to having a dialogue with the American people about the investments they make to ensure American leadership abroad - to protect our national security interests, and to promote trade and investment that fuels the American economy. The conversation builds on Secretary Kerry's first major public address as Secretary of State at the University of Virginia, where he outlined to Americans the impact that our involvement abroad has here at home. In this discussion, the Secretary observed that "for about one percent of our entire budget, a penny on the American dollar spent, we invest in everything that we do in foreign policy."

Online series such as "Hangout at State" support the Department's strategic goal six: advance U.S. interests and universal values through public diplomacy and programs that connect the United States and Americans to the world. This series is broadcast on the State Department's Google+ page, YouTube channel, and at

Learn more.
For more information, a video and transcript of this discussion may be viewed at: