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Building Strategic Power through Exchanges
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 11:30 AM EDT
Category: Events


The Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will host an interactive virtual to provide international relations students, interns, and foreign affairs professionals with an in-depth understanding of the role of exchange programs in global power dynamics and strategic power and offer networking opportunities with foreign affairs related organizations.

A global threat or crisis can be addressed through diplomacy, military intervention, or communication between cities and people. Based on current appropriations, the United States spends nearly 500 times as much on the military as it does on broadcasting and exchange programs. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen sent a letter to Congressional leadership in February 2020 urging the full funding of the International Affairs budget. He included a handwritten inscription that read “the more we cut the International Affairs Budget, the higher the risk for longer and deadlier military operations.”

During this pandemic, we have seen a greater need for cooperation among governments and institutions. That comprehensive, cooperative response utilizes the full range of tools at the government’s disposal and is sometimes called Smart Power or Strategic Power.

The U.S. Department of State has numerous international exchange programs that help achieve U.S. foreign policy goals. Its premier professional exchange, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), celebrates its 80th year in 2020. Members of this panel will discuss the benefits of using hard and soft power in tandem to create an integrated strategy. Panelists will focus on the impact of exchange programs to enhance our public diplomacy efforts on complex global issues. Giles Scott Smith, author and educator will focus on the historic impact of the IVLP as an effective tool to build the strategic alliances that can enhance contextual intelligence. Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of North Carolina will share her thoughts on the ability of the U.S. government to use IVLP and other exchange programs to ensure that our key partners have an in-depth understanding of the United States. Colonel Chris Wade will discuss how exchanges can build relationships that foster the necessary connections to ensure effective military collaboration on the global stage.