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Press and Cultural Affairs - Text

The Press and Cultural Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota manages seven important educational programs in Colombia. These programs consist of professional development exchange programs, scholarships for undergraduate or graduate study in the U.S., or English language scholarship programs in Colombia.  During the past sixty years, over 3,000 Colombians have participated in one of these programs.

The most important is the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) which is the flagship professional exchange program of the Department of State.  The International Visitor Leadership Program annually brings to the United States approximately 5,000 foreign nationals from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience America firsthand.  The visitors are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other fields.  Among the thousands of distinguished individuals who have participated in the IVLP since its inception almost seven decades ago are more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, 2,000 cabinet-level ministers, and many, many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.  From Colombia, former presidents Belisario Betancur and Cesar Gaviria Trujillo participated in this program.  The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) consists of a three-week trip to the United States on a variety of topics and includes travel to four or more cities, where they meet with their U.S. counterparts, and are introduced to current trends and the latest technology in their fields.  The program is also designed to expose the participants to a greater range of U.S. society and culture than most short-term visitors’ experience.

The Press and Cultural Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota also works with the Fulbright Commission in Colombia which offers a total of 16 scholarship programs for international educational exchange. Each year the Fulbright Commission provides grants to between 40 and 50 Colombians for postgraduate studies, to conduct research, to lecture in universities and in secondary schools, and to participate in a variety of other academic and professional activities. At the same time, approximately 25 U.S. scholars, students and experts come to Colombia yearly with Commission sponsorship in order to study and engage in research in Colombian universities, research centers, and art institutes. Since the founding of the Commission nearly 50 years ago, roughly 2,000 Colombians and 1,200 U.S. citizens have received grants from Fulbright Colombia.

Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Program was established in 1953 as a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Eisenhower Fellowships engages emerging leaders from around the world to enhance their professional capabilities, broaden their contacts, deepen their perspectives, and unite them in a diverse, global community - a network where dialogue, understanding, and collaboration lead to a more prosperous, just, and peaceful world.” We bring two groups of approximately 25 outstanding mid-career Fellows (aged 32-45) drawn from 49 different countries to the U.S. annually for an intensive, individually designed program in the fellows professional field.   Fellows are identified by high-level in-country nominating committees and selected by a committee at Eisenhower Fellowships headquarters in Philadelphia.  Approximately, fifty Colombians have participated in this two month professional development program. 

Founded in 1978 in honor of the late Senator and Vice President, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program brings to the United States accomplished mid-level professionals from designated countries that have a wide range of development needs.  Fellows are nominated by U.S. Embassies or Fulbright Commissions based on their potential for leadership and a demonstrated commitment to public service. The program provides a basis for lasting ties between citizens of the United States and their professional counterparts in other countries. It fosters an exchange of knowledge and mutual understanding, through which the United States joins in a significant partnership with developing countries.  Fellows are placed in groups by professional field at selected U.S. universities offering specially designed programs of study and training. This year’s program includes 163 Fellows from 90 countries, who are being hosted by 15 universities throughout the United States.

Martin Luther King (MLK) Fellows program was created to provide English language and leadership training, as well as educational advising, to outstanding afro-Colombian university students at Colombian Bi-National Centers in Bogota, Cali and Medellin.  The goal of the MLK Fellows Program is to prepare high-potential Afro-Colombian university undergraduates for U.S. post-graduate educational opportunities and to acquaint them with issues relevant to bi-national relations. At the end of 2008, the MLK program had 37 fellows in Cali, 25 in Bogotá, 12 in Quibdó, and 37 in Medellin. About fifty, Afro-Colombians and indigenous high-school students also participate in the College Horizons Outreach Program with provides two years of English training, mentoring, and academic advising.

The College Horizons Program was initiated in 2007 to provide English language training to economically disadvantaged Afro-Colombian youngsters ages 13 to 17 from the pacific coast of Colombia. The project was created to help fulfill the Mission’s commitment to reach out to diverse populations in Colombia. As part of the two-year program, College Horizons Fellows receive USG funding for English-language scholarships and educational advising. The program also has a mentoring component that provides individual orientation and counseling to the Fellows as necessary. Program goal is to offer English language training to outstanding high school students from depressed areas of the country and seeks to increase access opportunities to undergraduate education in Colombia. Currently there are 50 Fellows beneficiaries of the program, 25 of them based in Tumaco, Nariño and 25 others in Buenventura,Valle del Cauca.

The Youth Ambassadors Program offers Latin America youth new international opportunities and experiences to broaden their knowledge of U.S. culture, society, and education.  The Youth Ambassadors Program will not only provide new knowledge and experience for participants, but also prepare them for a lifetime of leadership and community service. During the past two years, eighteen outstanding public high school students visited the United States for a two-week exchange visit.  During these program, Youth Ambassadors experience U.S. history and culture in Washington DC, live in home stays with U.S. families across the country, attend schools and cultural activities, and interact with U.S. youth.  Returning to their home countries, the Youth Ambassadors share their experiences with friends and neighbors, creating a multiplier effect. They also have the opportunity to network with Youth Ambassadors from other countries and continue to expand their knowledge.

Partners of the Americas Program was inspired by President John F. Kennedy, who in 1963 launched the Alliance for Progress, a program of government-to-government economic cooperation across the Western Hemisphere.  Partners of the Americas brings together citizen volunteers from Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States to build opportunity, and mutual understanding among people.  In Colombia, Partners institutes the American Government and Business Fellows Programs which engages civil servants and private sector professionals in hands-on work at host entities. In this program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, five Colombian participants have exchanged expertise and established institutional linkages through their work in organizations throughout the Americas.