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APAP|365 > Action > Advocacy > Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange

“We must use what has been called smart power: the full range of tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural – picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation.” — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

In Brief

U.S. State Department programs encourage the creation of links between cultural organizations in the United States and similar institutions around the world by providing grant opportunities for cultural exchange. Secretary Clinton has vowed to restore American leadership through “smart power” and cultural diplomacy is considered an active part of the smart power approach, using cultural connections in addition to other strategies to solve international problems. “Smart power” is a term originally defined by international relations theory expert Joseph Nye, as “the ability to combine hard and soft power into a winning strategy.”

While funding for the State Department’s Cultural Programs Division continues to remain limited, the cultural community continues to advocate for increases in this budget. An increased appropriation would expand the State Department’s ability to foster mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through new and expanded international cultural exchange programs.

Global Education & Culture Exchanges

The U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is responsible for the public diplomacy activities of the United States, including international cultural exchange programs. The Cultural Programs Division is the principal Department of State element focused on cultural diplomacy. The Division’s activities include grant opportunities to U.S. nonprofits for cultural exchange activities; residency, mentoring, and training programs; programs that are carried out overseas by or under the sponsorship of U.S. Embassy public diplomacy offices; and presentations at major international visual arts exhibitions and cultural centers. The Professional Exchanges and Cultural Grant Program provides grants to U.S. nonprofit organizations to carry out exchange programs in the arts, arts management, and arts education. The Performing Arts Initiative provides financial support to U.S. Embassies for presentations of American performing art and artists.

Arts Presenters provides funding and resources to promote global cultural exchange through various programs and relationships, including the Cultural Exchange Fund (CEF), Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant, individual projects with foreign government and entities, and other relevant opportunities for presenting professionals to expand and deepen their knowledge of artists, traditions and cultures from around the world.