Eagle

Overview: 1998


USIA: AN OVERVIEW
USIA's Mission Statement
USIA Overseas: USIS
Public Affairs Officer
Information Officer

Cultural Affairs Officer
Foreign Service Nationals
USIA in Washington
Civic Education

EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES
The Fulbright Program
Academic Exchanges with Russia, the New Independent
   States and Central and Eastern Europe
Special Academic Exchanges and Services
Study of the United States
English Language Programs
International Visitors
Citizen Exchanges
Programs for Building Democratic Institutions
Protection of Cultural Property 
INFORMATION ACTIVITIES
Internet Services
The Washington File
Speakers and Specialists
Teleconferences and Digital Video Conferences
Publications
CD-ROM
Foreign Press Centers
Information Resource Centers and Libraries
Publications Translation Programs 
INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING
Voice of America
VOA Charter
WORLDNET Television and Film Service
WORLDNET Programs
Office of Cuba Broadcasting
Radio Martí
TV Martí
Office of Affiliate Relations and Media Training
Office of Business Development 
RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
Foreign Opinion Polls
Foreign Press Commentary 
OTHER USIA ACTIVITIES
Oversight Activities
Congressional Committees
Broadcasting Board of Governors
Advisory Committees
U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy

J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
Cultural Property Advisory Committee
The President's Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting 
USIA'S HISTORY
Beginnings
USIA's Reorganization
Domestic Dissemination 

 

USIA: AN OVERVIEW 

The United States Information Agency has functioned since 1953 as an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch of the U.S. government charged with the conduct of public diplomacy in support of U.S. foreign policy. Public diplomacy complements and reinforces traditional diplomacy by communicating directly with foreign publics through a wide range of international information, educational and cultural exchange activities. 

The rapid and remarkable events that have changed the world in the last decade demonstrate the appeal of democratic principles and the free market system. The end of the Cold War and the spread of democracy, the growth in global information technology and communications, and the increasing involvement of a wide array of our own citizens in international activities all affect the way USIA interacts with the wider world. 

The Agency enables people in every part of the globe to learn about the United States -- its people, its policies, and its culture. Historic breakthroughs in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union testify to the importance of communications and the value of public diplomacy as a force for freedom and democracy. 
 

USIA'S MISSION STATEMENT 

The mission of USIA is to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest, and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions, and their counterparts abroad. Specifically, USIA works: 

o To explain and advocate U.S. policies in terms that are credible and meaningful in foreign cultures; 
o To provide information about the official policies of the United States, and about the people, values, and institutions which influence those policies; 
o To bring the benefits of international engagement to American citizens and institutions by helping them build strong long-term relationships with their counterparts overseas; 
o To advise the President and U.S. government policy-makers on the ways in which foreign attitudes will have a direct bearing on the effectiveness of U.S. policies.
 

USIA OVERSEAS: USIS 

USIA is known abroad as the United States Information Service (USIS). The Agency's work is carried out by Foreign Service Officers assigned to USIS posts in almost all U.S. embassies or missions abroad. 

USIA Foreign Service Officers serving overseas provide direct, substantive, and sustained contact with opinion leaders in the countries where they are assigned. They serve as spokespersons for all agencies represented in U.S. diplomatic missions, articulate U.S. foreign policy concerns to journalists and other opinion leaders, and conduct press conferences for resident and visiting U.S. officials. Through lectures, seminars, and symposia, they promote contact between influential overseas audiences and visiting American experts on a wide variety of subjects. From their wide range of contacts in foreign societies, USIA officers also help select grantees and exchanges for professional and academic study programs in the U.S. 

The principal USIA foreign service positions at an embassy overseas are: Public Affairs Officer, Information Officer, and Cultural Affairs Officer. USIS posts are augmented in nearly all countries by host country employees. 

In a few large countries, the Agency also operates USIS branch posts outside the capital city. Overseas operations include information resource centers, cultural centers, Voice of America relay stations, and service centers for printing and program support. 
 

Public Affairs Officer (PAO) 

The PAO is responsible for managing the embassy's information and cultural activities. The PAO is the senior advisor to the Ambassador and other embassy officials on public affairs strategies for policy implementation and other embassy activities, on foreign public opinion, the media, education issues, and cultural affairs. He or she oversees the work of the Information Officer and Cultural Affairs Officer. 

Information Officer (IO) 

The IO works with host country and international media and serves 

as the embassy's spokesperson. He or she drafts policy guidance on key issues of public interest, arranges press events, issues press releases, and works with local editors and reporters to explain U.S. policy and publicize embassy activities. He or she also helps American journalists working in the country. 

On a typical day, the Information Officer (IO) might organize a press conference for a visiting U.S. government official; set up an interview for a local journalist with the U.S. Ambassador; or arrange a live WORLDNET interactive satellite TV teleconference, linking local opinion-makers with U.S. government officials or other American specialists in the United States. 

Cultural Affairs Officer (CAO) 

The CAO administers educational and cultural exchange programs, arranges lectures and seminars with U.S. speakers, manages American information or cultural centers, organizes U.S. cultural events, and often helps local publishers with reprints and translations of American books. He or she works with the binational commission or foundation that oversees the Fulbright scholarship exchange program. 

On a typical day, the CAO might participate in the selection of Fulbright exchange grantees for study, lecture, or research programs in the United States; work with university and host government officials to identify exchange opportunities for American academics or strengthen American Studies programs; counsel foreign students seeking information on U.S. university study programs; make arrangements for an American musician to teach a master class to local music students; or accompany the Ambassador to the host country's National Library to present a collection of books about the United States. 

Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) 

Foreign Service national employees (FSNs) are citizens of the host country who provide vital support and continuity in the operations of our posts. They work with American officers to carry out cultural, educational, and information programs and to provide administrative support for the post. FSNs maintain long-term contacts with host country officials and organizations and provide the institutional memory for the post. 

USIA IN WASHINGTON 

USIA's headquarters provides policy guidance and support for overseas posts. It maintains contact with U.S.-based private sector groups participating in cultural, educational, and information exchanges and programs. 

The President appoints and the Senate confirms the Agency's Director and Deputy Director, and the Associate Directors for the Bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Information, and Management. 

CIVIC EDUCATION: A USIA PRIORITY 

USIA has made civic education one of its highest priorities as emerging democracies in the former Soviet Union, East Europe, Latin America, and Africa face profound social, political, and economic challenges to the stability of their new systems. 

Civic education touches on many things: the study of constitutions, the rule of law and the operations of public institutions; the study of electoral processes; instruction in the values and attitudes of good citizenship; the development of the skills of governance and politics; issues of human rights and intergroup relations; conflict resolution; and the operations of non-government organizations. 

USIA has developed an Agency-wide effort to assist in: 

(1) organizing an international network among governments and nongovernmental organizations(NGOs for strengthening civic education and the culture of democracy in the U.S. and abroad; and 

(2) expanding the involvement in and financing of civic education by national governments, international organizations and development banks, and corporations and philanthropies. 

In promoting civic education abroad, USIA has worked both bilaterally and multilaterally with other countries, and has collaborated with a range of U.S. and overseas public and private organizations, including the Center for Civic Education, the American Federation of Teachers, the Department of Education, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the Commission of the European Union, the Open Society Institute, CONCIENCIA Argentina, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, Street Law, and CIVITAS/Hungary. 

In June 1995, USIA helped plan and execute a major civic education conference in Prague, the Czech Republic. "CIVITAS @ Prague.1995" gathered 425 academics, journalists, and educators from 52 countries for five days of discussions and workshops. Speakers included William Galston, senior domestic affairs advisor to President Clinton; the late Al Shanker, then president of the American Federation of Teachers; Benjamin Barber of Rutgers University; and educator Diane Ravitch. This effort initiated the creation of CIVITAS International, a consortium for civic education based in Strasbourg, France. 

"Civnet," a World Wide Web site on the Internet, was developed especially for the CIVITAS conference and is maintained by USIA as a unique global information resource and networking tool for civic educators. The address is www.civnet.org.
 

EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES 

Exchange programs are at the heart of USIA's work. Academic, cultural, and professional exchange and training programs are highly effective tools of public diplomacy. Through them, USIA's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs seeks to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and promote the free exchange of information and ideas. 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has long conducted a variety of activities in cooperation with private sector organizations and community volunteers. Now, in keeping with the profound changes in the field of international exchanges in recent years, the Bureau is increasingly acting as a catalyst for collaborative efforts involving both the private and public sectors. Innovative partnerships with U.S. and foreign foundations, corporations, and non-profit organizations leverage public funds in bold new ways. 

The Agency's role in coordinating U.S. government exchanges is also expanding. USIA's Report on International Exchange and Training Activities of the U.S. government is published annually. The Agency's exchanges and training programs are rigorously evaluated to ensure that they meet specific goals and objectives. 

USIA's major educational and cultural programs include the Fulbright scholarships, Hubert Humphrey fellowships, special academic exchange initiatives, English teaching and American Studies programs, the International Visitor Program, Citizen Exchanges, and Cultural and Youth Exchange programs. News and information about many of these programs can be found on the USIA Internet homepage (http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/). 

The Fulbright Program 

Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program, comprising several categories of exchanges, is a major academic component of USIA's exchange and training activities and an integral part of the Agency's public diplomacy mission. Fulbright grants are awarded to American and foreign scholars to study, teach, lecture, or conduct research. 

With the oversight of the presidentially appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, USIA's Office of Academic Programs administers these programs, in conjunction with binational Fulbright commissions overseas or USIS officers coordinating with host country governments. The program responds to broad U.S. and foreign national interests as well as to the interests of the academic community. 

Each year, approximately 4,200 American and foreign citizens receive grants. Individuals are selected on the basis of academic or professional qualifications and potential, plus the ability and willingness to share ideas and experiences with people of diverse cultures. 

Fulbright Categories: 

o The U.S. Senior Scholar Program sends approximately 800 American academics abroad each year, where they lecture or conduct research for up to one year in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. 
o The Visiting Scholar and the Scholar-in-Residence Programs provide grants and support to foreign scholars to lecture or conduct research in the United States. Approximately 800 grants are awarded each year. 
o The Fulbright Student Program provides grants to U.S. and foreign students to study and conduct research at the graduate level. More than 800 Americans study abroad each year under this program. It awards some 1,200 new grants and approximately 1,800 renewal grants to foreign graduate students. 
o The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program sponsors one-year, classroom-to-classroom exchanges of teachers and educational administrators between the United States and 27 countries worldwide. Most of these exchanges, which cover a variety of subjects, take place at the high school and community college levels. Some teacher training programs take place at the university level. 

For more information about scholar/student exchange programs, contact: 

The Fulbright Program 
Tel: (202) 619-4360 
Fax: (202) 401-5914 
E-mail: exchange@usia.gov

Distinguished Fulbright Program alumni include: 
Boutros Boutros Ghali, 
Former Secretary General of the United Nations 
 

Derek Bok, 
President of Harvard University 

Milton Friedman, 
Nobel Prize winning economist 

Hans Bethe, 
Nobel Prize winning physicist 

Henry Steel Commager, 
Historian 

Eudora Welty, 
Author 

Aaron Copland, 
Composer 

John Lithgow, 
Actor 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 
U.S. Senator 

Anna Moffo, 
Opera Singer 
 

Academic Exchanges With Russia, the New Independent States (NIS), and Central and Eastern Europe 

The Office of Academic Programs administers a variety of special programs for Russia, the New Independent States (NIS), and Central and Eastern Europe, including activities involving individual fellowships, institutional linkages, and Internet access and training for USIA program alumni. All of these exchanges are run on the basis of open, merit-based competition. 

Both the Edmund S. Muskie Fellowships (named in honor of the late Secretary of State and U.S. Senator) and the Freedom Support Act Graduate Fellowships offer recent graduates and midcareer professionals the opportunity to study at the Master's degree level for one or two years in law, economics, business administration, public administration, and other fields targeted to promote economic and democratic reform in the NIS and the Baltics. Fellows also pursue an internship relevant to their field of study. The Ron Brown Fellowship Program (named after the late Secretary of Commerce) provides graduate fellowships for Master's degree study at U.S. universities in fields such as law, economics, business administration, and public administration for students and mid-career professionals from Central and Eastern Europe. 

For advanced NIS graduate students and post-doctoral scholars at the early stages of their academic careers, the Regional Scholar Exchange Program offers research fellowships of four to six months at diverse U.S. host institutions on topics in the social sciences that did not exist or are being transformed in the post-Soviet era. The Junior Faculty Development Program offers young faculty members from Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakstan the opportunity to develop their teaching skills and consult with staff at U.S. universities for a full academic year in designated fields of the social sciences and humanities. The Freedom Support Act Fellowships in Contemporary Issues offer NIS policy-makers, government officials, and NGO leaders fellowships of four months at U.S. host institutions to conduct research and analysis on policy issues that can consolidate the transition to democracy, free markets, and civil society in their home countries. 

Under the auspices of the Freedom Support Act, USIA provides NIS undergraduates with an opportunity to study at U.S. universities and community colleges for one year. Under the auspices of the Support for East European Democracy Program, the Bosnia Undergraduate Program offers opportunities for undergraduates from Bosnia to study at U.S. universities for one year. 

The Internet Access and Training Program (IATP) provides training in the use of the Internet for educational and professional purposes for USIA program alumni and their colleagues at 50 public access Internet sites created in partnership with NIS universities, libraries, and NGOs in ten countries and through "FreeNets" created by the IATP for academic and non-commercial users in Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The Regional Investment Initiative Internet Project in the Russian Federation expands connectivity, Internet access, and training for students, professors, and practitioners in business, law, and public administration, and others working to consolidate economic growth and development in Novgorod, Khabarovsk, and Samara. 

Other regionally focused programs include: Partners in Education, a community-based teacher exchange program which provides secondary level educators and administrators with six-week interships in civic education in the U.S.;the NIS College and University Partnerships Program which supports institutional linkages between U.S. and NIS institutions of higher learning in the fields of business, law, public administration, education, and journalism; and educational reform programs which support curriculum reform and civic education in Central and Eastern Europe and the NIS. 

For more information about these exchange programs, contact: 

Russia/NIS Exchange Programs 
Tel: (202) 619-4556 
Fax: (202) 401-1433 

E-mail: exchange@usia.gov 
 

Special Academic Exchanges and Services 

The College and University Affiliations Program supports partnerships between U.S. and foreign institutions to advance democratic institution building and trade/sustainable development. The program awards three-year grants to support curriculum, faculty, and staff development as well as collaborative research and outreach activities. Since the program was established in 1982, more than 370 grants have been awarded. 

For more information about these exchange programs, contact: 

College and University Affiliations Program
Tel: (202) 619-5289 
Fax: (202) 619-1433 
E-mail: exchange@usia.gov 

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program brings mid-level professionals from developing countries to the United States for a year of academic study and professional internships. The Humphrey Program was initiated in 1978 in honor of the late Vice President and Senator, Hubert H. Humphrey. Fellows are selected based on their potential for national leadership. 

Fellowships are granted competitively to candidates with a commitment to public service, in the fields of public administration, economic development, agriculture, urban planning, public health, technology policy, and journalism. 

For more information about these exchange programs, contact: 

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program 
Tel: (202) 619-5289 
Fax: (202) 619-1433 

USIA supports a network of nearly 400 education information/advising centers overseas, providing impartial information and guidance on the U.S. educational system. USIA-supported advising centers also work with U.S. college and university admissions officers, providing information and interpretation of local educational systems and assisting them in making presentations about their academic programs. 

The Advising Centers serve the majority of the approximately 460,000 international students in the U.S. USIA also supports activities designed to strengthen the administration of international exchange in the U.S. and ensure that the foreign student's experience in the U.S. is rewarding. 

For more information about these exchange programs, contact: 

Educational Advising Program 

Tel. (202) 619-5434
Fax (202) 619-1433 
E-mail: exchange/@usia.gov 

Study of the United States 

USIA seeks to promote a better understanding of American society and culture, past and present, primarily through programs intended to develop and strengthen U.S. studies programs at foreign colleges and universities. Through a series of six-week institutes held at American universities, faculty from around the world participate annually in intensive seminars devoted to a study of U.S. history, society, politics, and culture. A new series of three-week institutes offers foreign professionals in government, law, and economics a similar opportunity to engage in the study of contemporary American institutions. Other programs offer support for USIS posts, often in conjunction with foreign universities and professional organizations, in sponsoring seminars, colloquia, and conferences on American themes and issues. Support is also offered to overseas universities and educational institutions attempting to enhance their book and library collections on the United States. 

For more information about this program, contact: 

Study of the United States 

Tel: (202) 619-4557 

Fax: (202) 619-6790 
 

English Language Programs 

USIA conducts a variety of activities to promote the teaching and learning of English overseas, including the production and distribution of printed and electronic English teaching materials such as the English Teaching Forum, a quarterly professional journal for teachers of English outside of the United States. Fourteen USIA English Language Officers working around the world advise posts, foreign English teaching educators, and government officials on all aspects of academic programs and organize and participate in teacher training seminars. The English Language Specialist Program sponsors senior American English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) specialists for short-term programs in academic institutions abroad. The English Language Fellow Program sends American teachers of EFL overseas for a year of direct teaching in selected institutions, and sends teacher trainers to Central and Eastern Europe. 
 

For more information about these programs, contact: 

English Language Programs 

Tel: (202) 619-5869 

Fax: (202) 401-1250 

E-mail: english@usia.gov 
 

International Visitors 

Each year the International Visitor (IV) Program brings 4,500-5,000 people to the United States for three- to four-week visits to meet and confer with professional counterparts and to experience firsthand the United States and its institutions. The visitors--both established and promising figures in government, politics, the media, education, labor, science and the arts--are selected by American embassies overseas. Many International Visitors have gone on to become leaders in their fields in their home countries. Nearly 200 past and present chiefs of state and many distinguished government and private sector figures are alumni of this program. 

The Office of International Visitors directs the IV program in cooperation with a wide range of U.S. non-profit organizations operating under cooperative agreements with USIA. The program also relies on the commitment and skills of over 100 volunteer organizations across the country. These organizations, known collectively as "councils for international visitors," schedule meetings, organize events, and offer home hospitality to these distinguished guests. 

A large number of individuals and groups come to the United States under private auspices. This highly cost-effective initiative involves more than 2,000 participants each year. 

For more information about these programs, contact: 

International Visitors Program 

Tel: (800) 827-0804 

Fax: (202) 619-4655 

E-mail: iv@usia.gov 
 
 

Citizen Exchanges 

USIA's Office of Citizen Exchanges manages professional, youth, and cultural programs through grants to nonprofit American institutions, including community organizations, professional associations, and universities. These partnerships benefit thousands of Americans and foreign visitors who take part in exchanges at the grassroots level, both in the United States and abroad. Thematic categories for grants include conflict resolution, civic education, media development, rule of law, environmental protection, trade unionism, judicial training, public administration, and other topics. Ideas for most professional-level grant projects, generated in consultation with embassies, lead to solicitations that appear in the Federal Register. Priority is given to proposals that create or strengthen ties among American and foreign institutions and that provide effective cost-sharing. 

In the fields of business, local governance, and law, the Office of Citizen Exchanges administers the Community Connections/Business for Russia program, which places professionals from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, and Armenia in three- to five-week internships in the United States. The program's objective is to provide participants with first-hand experience in their fields of expertise. Cooperating American nonprofit organizations arrange placements with appropriate companies, as well as state and local governments. Home stays with American families are arranged by these organizations. The Community Connections staff also coordinates the Presidential Management Training Initiative, which supports the long-term training of Russian managers. Funding is provided through the Freedom Support Act. 

The Office also directs a number of major youth exchange programs, such as the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, which links German and American young people. The New Independent States High School Exchange Initiative supports year-long and shorter term exchanges at the secondary-school level, as well as school-to-school linkages and programming for teachers in connection with the student exchanges. 

Cultural programs administered by USIA are the responsibility of the Office of Citizen Exchanges. The Cultural Programs staff administers programs that increasingly emphasize creating long-term relationships among artists, institutions, and audiences -- stimulating networks that sustain themselves beyond diplomatic support. USIA's support for visual and performing arts programs overseas emphasizes the vitality, diversity, and excellence of American achievement. 

The Cultural Programs staff works closely with private foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, which enables U.S. artists to participate in major international performing and visual arts festivals such as the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa or the São Paulo (Brazil) Bienal. 

The American Cultural Specialist Program supports American experts who give artistic direction and professional advice to foreign cultural institutions. A specialist's duties might include, for example, conducting a visual arts workshop or musical master class, directing a play, or advising on arts management or intellectual property rights issues. 

The Feature Film Service supports 35mm feature films at U.S. embassies' requests and with private-sector support from the motion picture industry for prestigious Ambassadorial screenings, international film festivals, and other official film events. 

The Creative Arts Exchanges Program offers grants that link American artists, museum professionals, and cultural institutions with their counterparts in other countries by partially funding nonprofit institutional projects that conduct two-way international cultural exchanges. 
 

The Jazz Ambassador Program, co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center, sends a small number of gifted American jazz musician duos on concert tours in countries were there is a lack of exposure to American cultural achievement. 

For more information about these programs, contact: 
on thematic grant programs: 

Tel: (202) 619-5348 

Fax: (202) 619-4350 
 

on cultural programs: 

Tel: (202) 619-4779 

Fax: (202) 619-6315 
 

on youth exchange programs: 

Tel: (202) 619-6299 

Fax: (202) 619-5311 
 

Website: http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/education/citizens/citizens.htm 
 

Programs for Building Democratic Institutions 

USIA continues to develop a variety of programs to help emerging democracies worldwide build institutions that support democratic reform. Many of these are exchanges and training programs administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. They emphasize hands-on training and the development of professional contacts. 

Efforts in democratic institution-building continue in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union. USIA brings professionals in those countries to the United States to see our system in action and gain information, skills, and professional contacts that are valuable to them in their home countries. In cooperation with private sector organizations, USIA is engaged in areas such as the development of civic education curricula and parliamentary member and staff exchange programs. For example, internships in the United States and in-country workshops for newly elected parliamentarians and their staff were developed to encourage Bosnia's successful transition to a democratic and independent state. 

In Africa there is special emphasis on programs related to democratization and trade and investment, as many countries on that continent are committed to reforms in these areas. Moreover, American policy has moved away from relations built on aid toward relations of partnership. In Latin America and East Asia, USIA encourages the development of mediating organizations to further democratic development. In addition, programs focusing on rule of law and intellectual property rights, for example, in China, Brazil, and Vietnam, have been funded. 
 

Protection of Cultural Property 

Under the terms of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property and its U.S. implementing legislation, USIA helps guide U.S. efforts to protect the cultural patrimony of other countries. This includes imposing import restrictions on endangered archaeological and ethnological material. The Bureau also works to stimulate research, museum exchanges, and training that in the long term can provide sustainable economic incentives to protect valuable cultural resources. 

A presidentially appointed Cultural Property Advisory Committee, composed of eleven leading scholars, museum directors, art dealers, and members of the public, recommends appropriate U.S. action. 

For more information about this activity, contact: 

Cultural Property Advisory Committee 

Tel. (202) 619-6612 

Fax (202) 619-5177 

E-mail: culprop@usia.gov 
 

To write for more information about any of the above educational and cultural exchange programs, send your request to: 

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 

U.S. Information Agency 

301 4th Street, S.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20547 
 

INFORMATION ACTIVITIES 

USIA's information programs articulate U.S. government policies and actions and present American society in all its complexity to people in other countries. 

These programs foster democracy around the world by making available information and advice on the rule of law, a free market economy, an independent judiciary, an open and fair electoral system, and a free and independent media. 

They also address international issues of our times involving, for example, an open trading system, arms proliferation, drug abuse, the global environment, human rights, and terrorism. 

USIA's primary communication tools are a daily text and information service, known as the Washington File; electronic journals; pamphlets, posters, and specialized publications; and electronic and library-based research and database access, including an Internet Web site. The Agency also conducts electronic teleconferences and administers programs that send American specialists and professionals overseas to speak on virtually any topic, from intellectual property rights to American literature. Closer to home, three Agency-run Foreign Press Centers provide assistance to foreign journalists in the United States. 

USIA's information programs are managed by the Bureau of Information, which is organized around the principles of flexible teams, reduced supervisory layers, and cutting-edge technology. This team-based reinvention structure allows the Agency to deliver information programs in the most cost-efficient and innovative manner possible. Information Bureau staff can respond quickly and creatively to the range of public diplomacy challenges facing the United States as we move into the 21st century. 
 

Internet Services 

USIA has an active and growing presence on the Internet. With the participation and support of overseas posts and domestic offices throughout the Agency, the Information Bureau maintains World Wide Web sites on the Internet. These sites contain information on virtually every aspect of Agency activities that can be translated into a digital format. For international audiences, these sites include: 

o Academic, cultural, and exchange programs; 

o Electronic journals; 

o Washington File texts, transcripts, and analyses; 

o Agency publications and research findings; 

o Voice of America correspondent and media reaction reports; o Background on international conferences; 

o Thematic, regional, and policy information; 

o Foreign Press Center information; 

o Links to Internet resources and databases;and 

o Overseas post home pages and background on USIA. 

USIA's Internet presence is a "triad," built around three main home pages: 
 

o A domestic USIA home page (http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/) managed by the Office of Public Liaison, providing information on educational and cultural affairs, broadcasting, media reaction, a "public diplomacy forum," and background on the Agency generally -- consistent with Smith-Mundt restrictions that limit the extent to which USIA may distribute its information products in the United States. 

o An international USIA home page managed by the Office of Thematic Programs, holding the core of the Agency's program materials, including the Washington File and links to USIA overseas post home pages. 

o Internal Web sites for Agency personnel. 
 

For more information about USIA's Internet presence and international home page, contact: 

Office of Thematic Programs 
Electronic Media Team 
Tel: (202) 619-4269 
Fax: (202) 619-4028 
e-mail: homepage@usia.gov 

For more information about USIA's domestic home page, contact: 

Office of Public Liaison 
Tel: (202)619-4355 
Fax: (202) 619-6988 

e-mail: inquiry@usia.gov 
 
 

The Washington File 

The Bosnian conflict...U.S.-Japanese trade disputes...currency devaluation in Africa...a new turn in the Middle East peace process...the consolidation of democracy and free markets in Latin America. Five days a week, the Washington File provides USIA's overseas posts with the latest White House and State Department pronouncements, congressional reactions, background analyses, and fact sheets on policy-related topics. 

Since its inception more than 60 years ago as radio-teletyped transmissions to U.S. Navy short-wave stations around the world, the Washington File has continually changed to stay abreast of technological change. 

The Washington File transmits texts, transcripts, and staff-written backgrounders on most important regional and global issues within hours of a news event. These are made available to government officials overseas and to foreign media for placement in local papers, radio broadcasts, and television news programs. 

There are five final editions of the Washington File, each tailored to a particular geographic region -- Africa, the American Republics, East Asia, Europe and the former Soviet Union, and the Near East and South Asia. Portions of four of these geographic editions are translated into a predominant language in the region: French for Africa, Spanish for Latin America, Russian for Eastern Europe/NIS, and Arabic for the Middle East/North Africa. 

Aside from the region-specific material, each edition draws from a central pool of articles produced by thematic teams on the topics of economic security, political security, democracy and human rights, global issues and communications, and U.S. society and values. 

For more information about the Washington File, contact: 

Office of Geographic Liaison 
Tel: (202) 619-4136 
Fax: (202) 260-4127 

Electronic Journals 

Electronic journals, which USIA launched in the spring of 1996, provide timely, in-depth information about policy-related issues. USIA has five electronic journals: Economic Perspectives, Global Issues, Issues of Democracy, U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda, and U.S. Society and Values. A new journal is issued every three weeks. The journals are available in French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, and English. 

Journal teams regularly assemble rich blends of authoritative material addressing major policy concerns of the Agency. Topics to date have included race relations in America, arms control, electronic commerce, NATO enlargement, civil-military affairs, the fight against drug addiction, religion in America, press freedom, and relations between Congress and the Clinton administration. 

A typical electronic journal combines interviews with key government or other officials, policy statements, staff-written background articles, and commissioned or reprinted pieces by acknowledged experts. Bibliographic sections point to key Internet sites and list recent related books and articles. The journals also offer more general material such as current economic trends and indicators, developments in Congress, biographies, and a calendar of upcoming events. 

For more information about electronic journals, contact: 

Office of Thematic Programs 

Electronic Media Team 

Tel: (202) 619-4269 

Fax: (202) 619-4028 
 
 

Speakers and Specialists 

If one of the roles of USIA is to "tell America's story," then those who take part in the U.S. speakers and specialists program are the storytellers. They are American experts who explain the United States, its policies, and its culture to overseas audiences. 

USIA sends approximately 850 Americans overseas each year to participate in conferences or to lecture and conduct workshops for audiences at events organized by the Agency's overseas posts. The U.S. speakers represent government, academia, the media, business, and community organizations. Their expertise might range from nuclear proliferation to trade issues to the making of U.S. foreign policy to small-business basics. 

A unique type of visiting speaker is the Professional in Residence, an individual who, for periods of three weeks to 12 months, provides advice and counsel on, for example, the organization of democratic governments, administering judicial systems, managing independent media, or developing market economies. Professionals in Residence often present programs in conjunction with ministries, newspapers, television stations, and universities. 

Another category of experts is Voluntary Speakers, individuals who travel at their own expense and make themselves available to USIA's overseas posts to conduct programs in the countries they will be visiting or in nearby countries. 

For more information about speakers programs, contact: 
 

Office of Thematic Programs 
Tel: (202) 619-4210 
Fax: (202) 358-0329 
 
 

Teleconferences and Digital Video Conferences 

As a cost-effective alternative to in-person speaker programs, USIA maintains two electronic speakers programs. Teleconferences are international telephone conference calls that link American experts anywhere in the world with overseas audiences. The format can vary from the very basic -- an international telephone call -- to more elaborate programs linking several sites and, on occasion, using previously prepared video materials. 

Teleconferences offer USIA overseas posts a timely and inexpensive means of programming senior U.S. government policy-makers, academicians, journalists, scientists, artists, and others whose schedules cannot accommodate a tour abroad. Conversely, well-known Americans are willing to participate in these programs knowing that normally only an hour of their time is required and they can participate from a telephone anywhere in the world. 

The Digital Video Conference (DVC) -- a two-way video teleconference -- enables American and foreign participants to see and converse with each other, making possible the exchange of ideas and experiences. 

For more information about teleconferences and DVCs, contact: 

Office of Thematic Programs 

Electronic Media Team 

Tel: (202) 619-4269 

Fax: (202) 619-4028 
 
 

Print Publications 

Even in the age of electronic communications, print publications continue to play a crucial role in USIA programming throughout the world: they provide information in depth; they are durable and portable; they offer an inexpensive alternative to books from commercial publishers; and their good design and quality ensure long shelf-life. 
 

The Bureau of Information produces essentially three types of print publications: 

o Introductory materials that contain basic factual information about the United States or about important thematic topics such as human rights and new communications technology; 

o Explanatory, seminal materials about the United States appropriate for government officials overseas, international visitors, and educated generalists. These works include a multi-part Outline series -- on American history, government, the economy, literature, and geography; and 

o In-depth materials about specific thematic topics appropriate for foreign professionals in a given field, such as arms control, intellectual property rights, the global information infrastructure, and the U.S. judicial system. 
 

All of these publications also become part of USIA's international home page. 

Additionally, the Bureau of Information produces what are known as "special-event publications" -- printed texts or, occasionally, poster shows that focus on a single event or single region of the world. The visit of an American president abroad; a significant anniversary in U.S. or world history; an international conference on economic development; Earth Day; a U.S. presidential election -- each of these might be found in a special-event publication. 

For more information about print publications, contact: 

Office of Thematic Programs 

Copyright and Print Publications 

Tel: (202) 619-4218 

Fax: (202) 619-4173 
 

CD-ROM 

USIA has also produced a multimedia CD-ROM (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory), "The U.S. Academic Explorer: A Guide to Higher Education in the United States." It offers foreign students practical information on visas, qualifications, costs, application procedures, and other matters that are also available in any number of guidebooks. The CD-ROM, however, does more than any book: It captures the American college experience in photographs, sound, and video. There are, for example, video interviews with foreign students talking about their experiences, a photo essay on a day in the life of a typical student, and a map of a typical campus where the viewer can click on a building (administration, library, student union, liberal arts) and learn about its role in university life. 
 

"The U.S. Academic Explorer" is designed for use by USIA's overseas posts, binational centers, and student-advising offices. 

For more information about CD-ROMs, contact: 

Office of Thematic Programs 

Electronic Media Team 

Tel: (202) 619-4269 

Fax: (202) 619-4028 
 
 

Foreign Press Centers 

Foreign Press Centers (FPCs) maintained by USIA in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington offer facilities for foreign journalists to meet, use on-line and other information resources, talk to program officers, and write and file stories. The FPCs help foreign journalists cover the United States by offering guidance and support to those who may be unfamiliar with American ways and institutions and by providing timely and accurate information. Foreign Press Center staff help correspondents and journalists obtain credentials and notify them of special events, press conferences, and briefings worthy of foreign coverage. The centers themselves host frequent briefings with senior U.S. government officials and American experts on a variety of newsworthy subjects. 

The three FPCs serve approximately 2,000 foreign journalists residing in the United States. In addition, a new network of private-sector International Press Centers (IPCs) works with USIA's Foreign Press Centers to assist foreign journalists. The locally initiated and funded IPCs are in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and Seattle. 

The services provided by Foreign Press Centers include the following: 

o All three FPCs arrange interviews with government officials and private Americans; 

o An information specialist provides information packages, bibliographic access to on-line databases, and transcripts of press conferences, official briefings, and congressional testimony; 

o A television unit in the Washington FPC assists correspondents and producers in planning locations for live and videotaped events, and helps with research; 

o FPC staff frequently help overseas posts coordinate press-related activities for presidential visits, such as accreditation and briefings; and 

o A U.S. military officer, on assignment from the Pentagon at the Washington Foreign Press Center, assists journalists covering the U.S. defense community. 
 

FPC program officers also work closely with overseas posts on excursion tours for visiting foreign journalists, special briefings, and group tours. 

For more information about Foreign Press Centers, contact: 

USIA Foreign Press Center 

National Press Building, Suite 898 

529 14th Street, NW 

Washington, D.C. 20045 

Tel: (202) 724-1640 

Fax: (202) 724-0007 

Information Resource Centers and Libraries 

USIA's Information Resource Centers (IRCs) and libraries provide a vital communication link between overseas posts and local audiences. They are a key component of a post's overall capability to communicate to foreign audiences on issues of concern to U.S. interests. 

Although Information Resource Centers and libraries may differ from post to post, essentially they all serve to advance two mutually supportive functions: (1) to provide the most current and authoritative information about official U.S. government policies, and (2) to serve as a primary source of informed commentary on the origin, growth, and development of American social, political, economic, and cultural values and institutions.

Because current awareness and outreach services to foreign opinion leaders are a core function of the IRCs, USIA staff rely on electronic information resources to access and disseminate information about U.S. government policies and positions. In places where information about the United States is limited or the technology environment underdeveloped, USIA libraries provide access to book and periodical collections that promote an appreciation and understanding of American intellectual and cultural history, American economic and social institutions, and American political traditions. 

For more information about Information Resource Centers and libraries, contact: 

Office of Geographic Liaison 

Information Resource Center 

Tel: (202) 260-1234 

Fax: (202) 619-6190 

Publications Translation Programs 

For 30 years, USIA's publications translation programs have helped make the literary works, scholarship, and opinions of American writers past and present available to educators, business professionals, researchers, and a vast book public around the world. 
 

Through these programs, USIA facilitates the work of independent publishers overseas who have a commercial interest in producing either translated versions of American classics and contemporary works or low-priced English-language reprints of the originals. Agency book officers work with foreign publishers to identify titles that are relevant to local intellectual interests and learning needs and, at the same time, address USIA's goal of fostering understanding of the United States. 

The USIA publications translation programs operate throughout Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and in many parts of Europe, including the countries of the former Soviet Union. Long-established regional publications translation programs help local publishers in Cairo and Amman, for example, publish Arabic translations for post use and for commercial sale throughout the Middle East. In other regions, posts run their own programs, working with local publishers to produce American titles in Chinese, Czech, Indonesian, Mongolian, Bengali, and many other languages. 

Since their inception, the publications translation programs have facilitated publication and dissemination of hundreds of thousands of American books covering such subjects as American history and government, political science, economics, law, education, business administration, biography, environmental science, literature and literary criticism, and communications. 

For more information about the publications translation programs, contact: 

Office of Geographic Liaison 

Tel: (202) 619-4136 

Fax: (202) 260-4127 

INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING 

International broadcasting presents the most effective and timely method to reach a global audience. The U.S. Information Agency's radio and TV services--the Voice of America, WORLDNET Television and Film Service, and Radio and TV Martí--broadcast world, regional, and U.S. news; commentaries; editorials; roundtable discussions; features; and programs about the United States, its people, and its foreign and national policy. These services perform a role that is rarely undertaken by the commercial international broadcasters. They: 

o Broadcast in peoples' own languages and reach them in their homes every day; 
 

o Cover what is happening locally as well as important current events on the world stage; and 
 

o Are not bound by any commercial considerations. 
 

The overall structure of civilian U.S. government international broadcasting changed in April 1994 when Congress passed and President Clinton signed the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-236). The new legislation formed a Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to provide guidance to all U.S. government international broadcasters, both federally funded and grantee alike; established the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) within the U.S. Information Agency; and created Radio Free Asia (RFA), a grantee corporation broadcasting to the Far East. 

The first Broadcasting Board of Governors was sworn in on August 11, 1995. The bipartisan Board includes the Director of USIA (ex officio) and eight other members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Members of the BBG meet regularly to provide guidance to the Voice of America, WORLDNET Television and Film Service, and Radio and TV Martí--the federally funded broadcast services of the International Broadcasting Bureau, and to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia--two grantee corporations that receive annual congressionally appropriated grants through the BBG. 
 

Voice of America 
 

The Voice of America (VOA), the U.S. information Agency's international radio service, provides accurate and reliable news and information to approximately 83 million people worldwide. Each week, VOA broadcasts more than 800 hours of programming on shortwave and medium wave and by satellite in English and other languages. Millions of listeners also tune to VOA-produced programs rebroadcast by local affiliate radio stations around the world. 
 

News and news-related programs account for a large percentage of VOA's daily broadcast schedule. Each day, reporters in the newsroom and VOA correspondents at news bureaus worldwide, write nearly 200 news stories for VOA's in-house newswire, which is used by VOA's language services. Freelance reporters--known as "stringers"--file news stories in English and many other languages broadcast by VOA. 
 

VOA Charter 

To protect the integrity of VOA programming and define the organization's mission, the VOA Charter was drafted in 1960 and signed into law (Public Law 94-350) on July 12, 1976, by President Gerald Ford: 

The long-range interests of the United States are served by communicating directly with the peoples of the world by radio. To be effective, the Voice of America (the Broadcasting Service of the United States Information Agency) must win the attention and respect of listeners. These principles will therefore govern Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts. 

1. VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive. 

2. VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions. 

3. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies. 

All programming originates from VOA's Washington, D.C., headquarters, which is equipped with 45 radio studios and two television studios, a 150-channel master control, and two centers to record reports from VOA correspondents around the world. A network of relay stations worldwide transmits VOA's programs to its international audience. 

VOA also simulcasts portions of its programs on radio and TV. The venture into television began on September 18, 1994, when "China Forum TV" telecast its first program by satellite to the Peoples' Republic of China. Today, VOA Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, English, Farsi, Serbian, and Spanish simulcast portions of their broadcasts on radio and TV. VOA Russian, Thai, and Turkish record TV programs for stations in their respective countries. 
 

The Voice of America has also established a Web page on the Internet. It offers the daily VOA newswire, program schedules (times, frequencies, and satellite circuits), VOA Chinese-language program scripts, audio files in more than 20 languages, and background information about VOA language services and other civilian U.S. government broadcast services. 
 

WORLDNET Television and Film Service 

WORLDNET Television and Film Service, the U.S. Information Agency's global public affairs, information, and cultural television network, was launched in 1983 to present a balanced and accurate picture of American society, policies, and people. 

WORLDNET transmits its programming by satellite from studios in Washington, D.C., to U.S. embassies, cultural centers, broadcasters, and cable-casters. WORLDNET transmits programming 24-hours-a-day in English. Programs also are available in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin, Russian, Polish, Serbian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and other world languages.
 

WORLDNET Programs 

WORLDNET produces original programs and acquires others from commercial and public broadcasting organizations. Original productions include: 
 

"Dialogue" -- an hour-long, live interactive public affairs forum regularly links top government officials and experts in medicine, business, technology, politics, and the arts, with journalists, government officials, opinion leaders, and professional peers in other countries; 

"Science World" -- a program about the latest developments in science, medicine, and technology; and 
 

Weekly international call-in programs including "Talk to America," "Africa Journal," and "Conversemos en Esta Noche." 

WORLDNET acquires and transmits such commercial and public broadcasting programs as "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," "Nightly Business Report," "Computer Chronicles," and "Working Woman." 

The WORLDNET Television Service also assists foreign film and television production crews when they work in the United States. 

For more information about WORLDNET, contact: 

WORLDNET Television and Film Service 

330 Independence Avenue, S.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20547 

Tel: (202) 205-5600 

Fax: (202) 690-4952 

E-mail: worldnet@usia.gov 
 

OFFICE OF CUBA BROADCASTING 

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting operates Radio and TV Martí, which, as surrogate stations, focus on Cuban domestic and international news and information that is not reported by the government-controlled media. Through accurate, unbiased, and balanced reporting, each station offers a mix of Spanish-language news, feature, cultural, and entertainment programming to its Cuban audience. 

Radio Martí 

Radio Marti broadcast its first program on May 20, 1985, as authorized by the Broadcasting to Cuba Act of 1983 (Public Law 98-111). According to this legislation, Radio Martí programming must follow all Voice of America standards; programs must be objective, accurate, and balanced. 

News and news-related programs make up half of the Radio Martí daily schedule. Other programming includes public affairs and entertainment programs that reflect the interests and role of women and youth in society, political prisoners, the military, and rural sectors. 

Radio Martí provides "live" coverage of special events in the United States and around the world that directly affect Cuba and its citizens. For example, in April 1998 Radio Martí, using in-house journalists, broadcast live coverage of the United Nations Human Rights hearings in Geneva as well as the second Summit of the Americas in 1998 held in Santiago, Chile, which was attended by President Bill Clinton. 

Radio Martí broadcasts seven days a week, 24 hours a day, on medium wave and shortwave, bringing its audience a selection of more than 70 programs each week. 

TV Martí 

TV Martí transmitted its first two-and-a-half-hour program on March 27, 1990. Today, the station is on the air seven days a week, four and a half-hours a day. Broadcasts include half-hour nightly newscasts; a weekend news summary of the preceding week's major events; and special programs about public affairs, culture, music, sports, and entertainment. 
 

The antenna and transmitter for TV Martí are mounted aboard a balloon tethered 10,000 feet above Cudjoe Key, Florida. Programs originate from studios in Washington, D.C., and Miami. 

For more information about the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, contact: 

Office of Cuba Broadcasting 

4201 N.W. 77th Avenue 

Miami, Florida 33166 

Tel: (305) 437-7001 

Fax: (305) 437-7011 

Radio Martí 

Tel: (305) 437-7000 

Fax: (305) 437-7011 

TV Martí 

Tel: (305) 437-7210 

Fax: (305) 437-7018 

Listeners should write to: 
Office of Cuba Broadcasting 
P.O. Box 521868 
2200 NW 72nd Avenue 
Miami, Florida 33152-9998 

E-mail: ocb@usia.gov 
 
 

OFFICE OF AFFILIATE RELATIONS AND MEDIA TRAINING 

The Office of Affiliate Relations and Media Training uses a network of satellites, radio bridges, phone feeds, and prerecorded tape to provide affiliated radio and TV stations around the globe with VOA and WORLDNET programs. The International Media Training Center provides instruction in broadcast journalism and station management. For more information, contact: 

International Broadcasting Bureau 

Office of Affiliate Relations and Media Training 

330 Independence Avenue, S.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20547 

Tel: (202) 401-1493 

Fax: (202) 401-1494 
 

OFFICE OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 

The Office of Business Development was created in 1994 to work with corporations, foundations, and other government agencies to raise funds for IBB programming. Underwriters of IBB programming receive on-air acknowledgments in any of more than 50 languages, which are spoken in regions the companies are trying to reach. Parties interested in underwriting/partnerships with IBB should contact: 

International Broadcasting Bureau 

Office of Business Development 

330 Independence Avenue, S.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20547 

Tel: (202) 260-9052 

Fax: (202) 401-2861 
 
 

RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS 

USIA's Office of Research and Media Reaction is the official pollster for the U.S. Government abroad and the source of daily analyses of overseas press opinion on U.S. foreign policy. Comprised of survey research specialists and geographic-area experts, the office conducts surveys and focus groups on attitudes of foreign mass and elite publics. USIA's Media Reaction branch issues at least two reports a day on foreign editorial commentary dealing with issues relevant to U.S. foreign policy. 

Foreign Opinion Polls 

Research Office surveys track attitudes on a wide range of issues, including views about the U.S., trade, democratization, free markets, the media, armed conflicts, terrorism, drugs, population, the peace process in a number of countries, and other current issues and events. 
 

The primary audience for this information is senior and mid-level foreign policy-makers at the White House, National Security Council, and Departments of State and Defense, as well as U.S. ambassadors and foreign service personnel at embassies and USIS posts abroad, and USIA personnel in Washington. Since Research Office papers are not program materials for foreign audiences, some papers are made available to U.S. universities, think tanks, and other nongovernmental organizations. 

In 1997 the Office of Research commissioned 150 surveys in 74 countries, yielding 400 research papers, of which there were four essential types: 

o Briefing Papers for top U.S. government officials meeting with foreign dignitaries; 

o Opinion Analyses, presenting more comprehensive analyses of attitudes within countries and across regions; 

o Opinion Alerts, or "hot" issue, one-page papers; and 

o Research Reports, which are more in-depth cross-regional or trend studies focusing on specific global issues. 
 
 

Foreign Press Commentary 

The Media Reaction branch produces, for U.S. Government officials, over 550 reports on foreign press commentary per year, consisting of the: 

o Early Report, a daily 7:30 a.m. compilation of foreign media opinion on the major issues of the day; 

o Daily Digest, the mid-day report, providing a more detailed focus on media reaction to one or two issues receiving significant attention in the foreign press; and 

o Special Report, a periodic digest prepared for a particular U.S. government agency or official, often at their request. 

Media Reaction reports are also available via the Internet on USIA's Web site. 

For more information about these offices, contact: 

The Office of Research and Media Reaction 

U.S. Information Agency 

301 4th Street, S.W. Room 352 

Washington, D.C. 20547 

Tel: (202) 619-4965 

Fax: (202) 619-6977 

E-mail: r@usia.gov 
 

OUTREACH AND OVERSIGHT 

OUTREACH TO U.S. CITIZENS 

Public Liaison and Media Relations 

The Office of Public Liaison conducts daily outreach and response to domestic media and the American public on USIA's mission, history, and programs. Public Liaison also coordinates Agency briefings, information brochures, and domestic sites on the Internet. 
 

OVERSIGHT 

Congressional Committees 

The United States Congress oversees USIA's budget and program through four committees: the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. USIA's Congressional Liaison Office conducts a program of daily outreach to these Committees' members and their staffs. 

Broadcasting Board of Governors 

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) was created by the U.S. International Broadcasting Act of 1994 as part of a major restructuring of all U.S.-funded non-military international broadcasting. The Board is bipartisan with eight presidentially appointed voting members confirmed by the United States Senate and the USIA Director as an ex-officio voting member. The Board is authorized to appoint a staff to assist it in carrying out its duties, and it appoints the Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). 

Established within USIA, the Board oversees all broadcasting activities carried out by organizations within the IBB and by two nonprofit private grantee corporations. One of its primary functions is to serve as a firewall to ensure the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters. Among the IBB organizations overseen by the Board are the Voice of America, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí), WORLDNET Television and Film Service, and the IBB Office of Engineering and Technical Operations. The BBG grantees are Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Radio Free Asia (RFA).

ADVISORY COMMITTEES 

U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy 

The United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is a bipartisan, presidential advisory board created by Congress to oversee U.S. government public diplomacy activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics. 

The Commission's seven members are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners are selected from a cross-section of professional backgrounds and are appointed for three year terms. The Chairman is designated by the President. 
 

Since 1948, Commission reports have addressed U.S. embassy information and cultural activities, international exchanges, U.S. international broadcasting, and the role of public diplomacy in the conduct of foreign policy. 

The Commission meets monthly and by law reports to the President, Congress, the Secretary of State, the Director of the U.S. Information Agency, and the American people. 

Information on the Commission may be found on the Commission's Web site at www.advcomm.fed.gov.

J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board 

The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board was established by Congress to supervise the worldwide exchange program. Appointed by the President, the Board is composed of 12 members drawn from academic, cultural, and public life. The Board sets policies and procedures for administration of the program, has final responsibility for the selection of all grantees, and supervises the conduct of the program both in the United States and abroad. 

From the beginning, the Board has emphasized excellence as the fundamental standard for the Fulbright Program. At its first meeting in 1947 the Board pledged that "in all aspects of the program the highest standards will be developed and maintained... the individuals to benefit will be of the highest caliber, persons who demonstrate scholastic and professional ability and whose personalities and characters will contribute to the furtherance of the objectives of the program." 

Cultural Property Advisory Committee 

The Cultural Property Advisory Committee was authorized by the 1983 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act to review and make recommendations to USIA about requests from foreign governments seeking to protect their cultural artifacts from pillage and unauthorized movement across international boundaries. 

The Cultural Property Advisory Committee is composed of eleven members appointed by the President. They represent museums, art dealers, the archaeology community, and the general public. The Committee reviews and makes recommendations to the Director of USIA about requests from foreign governments seeking to protect their cultural artifacts against illicit export to the U.S. 
 

The President's Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting 

The President's Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting reviews the effectiveness of USIA's Radio and TV Martí operations. The nine presidentially appointed members meet bimonthly and report to the President, the Director of USIA, and the Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. 
 

USIA'S HISTORY 

USIA can trace its roots to the Committee on Public Information (Creel Committee) of World War I, which represented the U.S. government's first large-scale entry into information activities abroad. 

After World War I, U.S. government-sponsored information activities were reduced until 1938, when the Interdepartmental Committee for Scientific Cooperation was formed in response to German and Italian propaganda aimed at Latin America. In 1940, Nelson Rockefeller was named Coordinator of Commercial and Cultural Affairs Relations between the U.S. and other American republics. The exchange of people and the establishment of libraries and binational centers were among the programs Rockefeller initiated. In February 1942, the Voice of America was created to counter adverse foreign propaganda. A few months later the Office of War Information was established. 

During the post-war period, as Europe became a battleground of ideologies, Congress recognized the need for more systematic American information and cultural programs overseas. It passed two pieces of legislation: 

o The Fulbright Act of 1946, which mandated a peacetime international exchange program; and 
o The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which served as the charter for a peacetime overseas information program. 

In 1949, the Hoover Commission recommended moving the foreign information program out of the Department of State. The U.S. Advisory Commission on Information (created to recommend changes in information and educational exchange programs) urged that an independent information agency be created. 
 

Beginnings 

On August 1, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower created the independent United States Information Agency to streamline the U.S. government's overseas information programs and make them more effective. The reorganization incorporated VOA into USIA, but left the educational exchange programs within the Department of State. By the end of 1954, VOA had moved its headquarters from New York to Washington, D.C. 

In 1961, Congress passed the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The Act consolidated various U.S. international educational and cultural exchange activities. It expanded other cultural and athletic exchanges, translation of books and periodicals, and U.S. representation in international fairs and expositions. The Act also established government operation of cultural and educational centers abroad. 

USIA's Reorganization 

Another major USIA reorganization, approved in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter, took effect on April 1, 1978. The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and USIA were combined as the United States International Communication Agency (USICA).

President Carter's definition of the agency's mission, transmitted to Congress in 1977, added a second mandate for the agency. It stated that the Agency's principal function should be "to reduce the degree to which misperceptions and misunderstandings complicate relations between the United States and other nations. It is also in our interest--and in the interest of other nations 

--that Americans have the opportunity to understand the histories, cultures, and problems of others, so that we can come to understand their hopes, perceptions, and aspirations." 

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan restored the agency's name to the United States Information Agency. 

Domestic Dissemination 

Since its founding, USIA has been prohibited by Congress from directing its informational programs toward its own citizens. By design, under the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, USIA's informational programs have been directed only to overseas audiences. An amendment to that act in February 1990 authorized the Director of the U.S. Information Agency to make certain products available to the Archivist of the United States for domestic distribution. Motion pictures, films, videotapes, and other material prepared for dissemination abroad are available 12 years after material is first sent abroad, or, in the case of material not disseminated abroad, 12 years after the preparation of the material. 

This publication was produced by the United States Information Agency's Office of Public Liaison. For more information about USIA, contact: 

Office of Public Liaison 
U.S. Information Agency 
301 4th St., S.W. Room 602 
Washington, D.C. 20547 

Tel. (202)619-4355 
Fax (202)619-6988 

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August 1998