June 3, 1997
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Albright,
On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, and members of the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV), thank you for the spirited leadership you are providing the Foreign Affairs community of the United States. The thousands of "citizen diplomats" who are members of the NCIV network constitute a vibrant domestic constituency for foreign affairs. They applaud your work and outreach to U.S. citizens as well as people around the world. They also support the efforts of the Congress and the Administration to streamline the U.S. foreign policy apparatus.
The National Council for International Visitors, founded almost four decades ago, is a national network of 24 nonprofit program agencies and 99 community organizations across the United States (A Pocket Directory is enclosed.). The International Visitors served by the NCIV network are participants in the USIA International Visitor Program and other international exchange programs, as well as guests of local governments, corporations, universities, medical and research centers, and other professional organizations. This nation- wide network of volunteers supports and implements at the grassroots level various U.S. Government sponsored exchange programs that are an integral part of U.S. public diplomacy. The International Visitor Program, currently administered by USIA, is of central importance to our members. This 55 year old program is an ideal way of engaging U.S. citizens in foreign affairs.
The consolidation of USIA into the U.S. Department of State is a major concern to the NCIV network. As decisions are made regarding the consolidation, we urge that:
Again, thank you for your efforts to strengthen U.S. foreign relations. Your leadership offers great encouragement to our members to continue their vital work as citizen diplomats. If there is any way that the NCIV Board or staff can contribute to the decision-making process or provide any additional information, we would be pleased to do so. Meanwhile, all good wishes for continued success.
Chair, Board of Directors
National Council for International Visitors
cc: Dr. Joseph Duffey, Director, USIA
Mr. Patrick Kennedy, Acting Under Secretary for Management
Ms. Lula Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Outreach
Foreign Affairs Agencies
U.S. Information Agency