FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 1998
Release No. 07-98
CONTACT: Lois Herrmann|
PHONE: (202) 619-4365
USIA DIRECTOR DUFFEY TESTIFIES ON AGENCY'S
Washington, D.C. -- United States Information Agency (USIA) Director Joseph Duffey testified yesterday before the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Subcommittee and presented the Clinton Administration's FY 1999 budget request for USIA, which totals $1.119 billion.
Responding to questions about funding the Agency's exchange programs, Dr. Duffey expressed his concerns about the hard budget choices facing USIA.
"We all want to increase the Fulbright budget because of its importance and historical place as a flagship exchange program, but it was increased at the cost of some other very valuable exchange programs. Both Fulbright and these other exchange programs are very important." Several members of the subcommittee expressed the hope, shared by the Director, that by the end of the year a way be found to redress the funding shortfall in non-Fulbright programs.
In prepared remarks Dr. Duffey said, "One of USIA's fundamental tasks is the job of public diplomacy. There is virtually no American foreign policy goal, no American national interest, that is not served and advanced by the application of intelligent, focused, coordinated public diplomacy efforts," Dr. Duffey stressed. "Whether the issue is land mines, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, NATO enlargement, Bosnia, intellectual property rights, China, or climate change, it is the women and men of the United States Information Agency who tell the world what American policy is."
Citing the Agency's public diplomacy effort on Iraq and other global trouble-spots, Dr. Duffey illustrated how USIA enables U.S. officials to explain foreign policy objectives to foreign publics in a direct fashion.
"USIA professionals are creative in devising ways to get our message across," Dr. Duffey noted. "They do this first by identifying the right individuals and the right audience, by understanding a country's or a region's languages, its values, and its culture to make sure that the American message comes through loud and clear in different languages, different cultures, in different political climates, under different regimes." "We employ every form of technology and exchange to move both people and information in support of American leadership in the world," Dr. Duffey emphasized. "We use paper and type. We use bits and bytes. We use radio and television, websites and by-liners, compressed digital video and live satellite interactives. Most importantly, however, we rely on the talents and abilities of public diplomacy professionals in more than 140 countries," Dr. Duffey said.
"Wherever U.S. interests are at stake, USIA is there," Dr. Duffey added. "USIA is the only U.S. presence in the volatile and politically-sensitive Kosovo region of the former Yugoslavia. In Bosnia, USIA and its private sector partners have made extensive efforts to spread the values of democracy, pluralism and a civil society among all ethnic and religious groups through civic education. The Agency helps to promote American economic prosperity and free trade in the global marketplace, and takes an active role in trouble-spots around the world, combating international crime and promoting a culture of lawfulness. In short, USIA is an active and vibrant force for U.S. interests, we tell America's story," he said.
"USIA programs add a dimension to U.S. policies that leaves an enduring legacy," Dr. Duffey concluded. "In this post-Cold War era, USIA has come a long way, as an agile promoter of America's national interest through the exchange of people, the articulation of our values, and the promotion of ideas."