John Kerry’s exit letter detailing the accomplishments of the Obama administration and the Department of State was brilliantly composed and thoughtfully stated. Secretary Kerry was quick to remind a sometimes forgetful nation of the sad state of economic and diplomatic affairs when Barack Obama first took office in 2009. But in a detailed and beautifully articulated letter, Kerry outlines the tremendous progress over the past eight years that as provided the American people with greater security at home and abroad. He describes the efforts to thwart foreign despots from threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction, the destabilization of major terrorist groups that included bringing the people responsible for the 911 attacks to justice, and the diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving conflicts all over the world. Along with greater security for American people, the Obama administration has also made tremendous progress in gaining support for initiatives aimed at protecting our planet, expanding opportunities for American businesses and people, defending universal values and modernizing the State Department so that its important work throughout the world can be conducted with greater efficiency and security.
Secretary Kerry is a statesman, a gentleman and a patriotic American who has dedicated his life in service to the American people. He has been an ardent supporter of diplomacy programs such as the Exchange Visitor Programs, which introduce and immerse foreign students and visitors in American culture for the purpose of education and greater understanding. As visitor exchange sponsors, we have witnessed the palpable changes in perspective, attitude and understanding when people work, study and learn side by side and hand in hand. When we approach human beings with humanity and humanely, we can and will create peace and prosperity on the planet.
In a recent blog post, AAG expressed our belief about what makes America great. We believe that is America is great precisely because we embrace the diversity of people, perspectives and the idea that all beings under God and this nation are created equal and therefore, due equal rights. We echo and applaud Kerry’s closing remarks:
American greatness is a fact but not an entitlement. It cannot be taken for granted. It must be demonstrated and earned by every generation. It demands the best from us, and the best within us. The world will be watching to see whether we – the American people – remain up to that challenge. There is not a scintilla of doubt in my mind that the answer is yes, but we will have to work at it, together, and make the investments that leaders have a responsibility to make. Today’s State Department is a rewarding place to work because we have a unique country to represent, great things to accomplish, and a matchless set of colleagues by our side. I will always be grateful for the incredible opportunity I have been given to serve – it’s been the honor of my life. I send President Obama’s successor, and mine, all the best wishes as they embark on what will be a truly extraordinary journey representing the greatest country on earth.
We sincerely hope that the incoming administration will embrace as passionately the values of inclusion, equal rights and diversity that, as Americans, we all hold dear. We eagerly await their direction and offer our support of exchange and other diplomacy efforts that protect our nation’s security and freedom.
Alliance Abroad would like to thank Secretary Kerry for his service and all the tremendous accomplishments that have served to advance greater peace and prosperity around the world. We salute Barack Obama for his courage, tenacity, composure and purposeful agenda to help all Americans – not just the privileged and powerful. He stood convicted in the face of constant opposition and harsh criticism, undaunted in his pursuit to uphold the very principles of our constitution and the convictions of our forefathers- liberty, justice, freedom and equality for all. Well done gentlemen. Thank you.
Local Organizations Seek Employer Support of Important US-Mexico Internship Program
Strengthening economic and educational opportunities between the U.S. and Mexico has been an important ongoing mission of both countries. A program of formal educational exchange initiatives between the countries are aimed at “enhancing hemispheric competitiveness, increasing prosperity and providing study abroad opportunities to better prepare a globally aware and culturally competent workforce.” In a public statement, President Obama shared his belief that when people study and work together, they prosper together. Locally, the Mexican Consulate and Alliance Abroad Group (AAG) are working together to sponsor regional support, which includes the U.S.- Mexico Intern Program.
The Hispanic population in the United States is over 55 million, making it the largest ethnic group, with Texas being home to over ten and half million people of Hispanic origin. One out of three citizens in Austin are of Hispanic descent and the broader program goals of Western Hemisphere prosperity is of keen interest to our community. Alliance Abroad Group (AAG), headquartered in Austin, is a U.S. Department of State designated sponsor of cultural exchange programs that support educational and work abroad programs. “We are excited about the chance to connect Austin and other Texas employers with educated and motivated Mexican interns,” says James Bell, AAG President. “In our considerable experience with cultural exchange, we know everyone ends up benefitting from the experience.”
The organizations believe that Austin is the perfect fit for this initiative with its many established and emerging companies and businesses searching for top talent. “We’re appealing to local businesses to support this program by serving as a host employers,” says Bell. Unlike traditional internship programs, foreign exchange internships can be up to 18 months. The exchange program requires an employer to invest in the intern’s learning, development and cultural exposure opportunities rather than traditional compensation and benefit packages. Interns have the chance to put their formal education into practical application while contributing a global perspective to employer goals. “We’ve got to stand behind this program as a community and country,” says Carlos Gonzalez Guiterrez, Consul General to Mexico. “There is so much good that can come from programs that create opportunities to learn from one another.”
The two group maintain that beyond local educational and economic impact, the program has far-reaching diplomacy efforts that stretch well beyond our own Texas borders and Austin backyard.
About Alliance Abroad
Alliance Abroad Group (AAG) is a company of cultural exchange enthusiasts and recruiting solutions experts. Fueled by a desire to bring education, enrichment and enlightenment to people around the globe, AAG is also passionate about creating lasting value and life-changing experiences for businesses and individuals. The company has been a cultural exchange leader since 1992, helping hundreds of thousands of international students and young professionals come to the United States to work, intern and train. AAG has made a palpable impact on creating global understanding, tolerance and connectedness, one person, one community, one company and one country at a time. Travel and education makes the world and differences smaller, is the underlying belief and purpose behind our brand. Learn more: www.allianceabroad.com
As cultural exchange leaders and Austin neighbors, Alliance Abroad Group (AAG) shares GAACC’s passion for driving economic growth for businesses with ties to Asia and Asian Americans. We are proud sponsors of the Korea WEST Intern program, a joint venture between the U.S. State Department and the South Korean Ministry of Education. The program’s purpose is to foster international relations between the U.S. and South Korea.
We are currently sponsoring Korean students who are looking for internship opportunities in the United States. Candidates are eager to put their education into a practical business application, improve their English speaking skills and learn more about our country and communities. In our 27 years of experience with international exchange programs, we know that these programs serve to strengthen the ties between global citizens, creating lasting professional and personal value and connection.
The Korean students and recent graduates are pursuing a variety of academic degrees but share a common desire to enhance their education and resume, expand their perspectives and contribute to an American business as an intern. If your business has a need for an enthusiastic and educated intern and you want to provide opportunities to support the Asian community in America, we encourage you to become a host employer.
At a time when there is so much concern about the future state of U.S. visa and immigration policies, we must stand together, united in our belief that these types of programs that allow people from around the world to connect and collaborate are more important than ever. Our passion for the work we do centers on the tremendous positive impact of cultural exchange. We know that bringing people together serves to educate and enlighten, eliminating prejudice, intolerance and misunderstanding. AAG has always been a company that believes tearing down walls is far more powerful in creating peace and prosperity than building walls of separation.
The best chance we have of protecting the values of this country – inclusion, equality, justice and tolerance – is to stand together bonded our common belief in those important principles. We can demonstrate both our commitment to advancing foreign relations and pride in our ancestral heritage by exposing more, not fewer, people to our great nation.
The GAACC mission is to promote Asian American community and community at large as a catalyst for local and global economic growth through advocacy, connections and education. We ask your enthusiastic support of the advocacy initiatives:
“We engage with public officials at multiple levels: City of Austin, county, state (MBE Public Policy Day), and federal through our membership with National ACE. At the national policy level, we support increasing opportunities for Asian Pacific American (APA) entrepreneurs, international trade, immigration reform, disaggregation of APA data and workforce leadership. Locally, we advocate on behalf of our members and the APA community at large to assist them with their business objectives.”
For more information on how you can better your business, community and country by investing in the future of a young person, contact us today. We’re honored to help.
The Presidential election in the United States has raised questions and concern about the future of international exchange programs. We want to assure you that there will be no immediate or dramatic decisions that will affect the existing program.
President-elect Donald Trump will need to first appoint key staff members including a Secretary of State, White House advisors and a leader of The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It will take some time before Trump’s team comes together and any implications to the program begin to emerge.
International Exchange has been supported by both parties and many previous administrations. As a united industry we have worked hard to educate and enlist support of our program, preparing for this possible outcome by making congressional and government allies and establishing strong federal, state and local engagement. Our belief in the positive and far-reaching benefits of cultural exchange is echoed by many other organizations, interest groups, politicians and government agencies. At the Department of State, supporters of the program will likely remain in their current roles as program advocates and administrators.
We commit to all of you that we will continue to work hard on your behalf and for the program in which we firmly believe. All of us are passionate about cultural exchange as a way to promote greater understanding between global citizens. Ours is a program that tears down walls of separation, prejudice, ignorance and division; we do not believe in or support walls of separation. All of us must unite in this higher purpose of the program and do our part to ensure the principles of education and enlightenment are our legacy outcomes. Our best chance at preserving and growing this program will be by our success achieving these important goals.
We promise to keep you informed of any developments, but do not anticipate any program changes for quite some time.
Alliance Abroad Group
Keri Lowry on the State and Fate of J-1 Exchange Program
The newly appointed U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary, Keri Lowry, will be attending The World Youth Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) later this month in Belgrade, Serbia. Keri oversees the U.S. Department of State’s Visitor Exchange program, which facilitates over 300,000 foreign visitors coming into the United States each year to teach, study and intern. The ultimate goal of the program is to create greater understanding and lasting connections among global youths. Keri is expected to provide important information and updates on the J-1 programs and the impact of current affairs on participants and providers.
“International education and cross-cultural exchanges are important elements of U.S. foreign relations. The people-to-people ties and transfer of knowledge achieved through international exchanges builds and sustains a more democratic, secure and prosperous world that benefits the entire global community. International exchanges are vital to our diplomacy efforts and establish lasting ties and relationships between individuals and nations,” said Ms. Lowry.
Current political and social unrest have shaken tourism and travel industries but youth travel remains strong maintains industry experts. The J-1 visa program is an important element in diplomacy and education and support continues as the program grows and evolves.
“I look forward to engaging with the global youth and stakeholders in the student and educational travel industry. Events like WYSTC help build people-to-people diplomacy by preparing young leaders and students globally to be engaged citizens, critical thinkers with broader perspectives of world, and an appreciation for cultural diversity and foreign languages. This ultimately helps break down stereotypes, transforming nations into peoples and translating ideologies into human aspirations.”
As cultural exchange enthusiasts, Alliance Abroad is passionate about the intangible and far-reaching benefits of visitor exchange programs. Because we believe that access to travel, education and amazing experiences shouldn’t be a privilege; it should be available to everyone, everywhere.
The World Youth Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) is the leading trade event for the global youth, student and educational travel industry. Since its inception in 1992, the conference has been held in a different international location and this year it will take place in Belgrade, Serbia September 20-23. Six hundred industry professionals from over 100 countries are expected to come together to network, exchange ideas and collaborate to fuel and further the youth and student travel industry.
David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation, the event sponsor, is optimistic about the strength and resilience of the youth travel market. “Despite the unsettled nature of travel as a whole, with terrorism and political unrest halting tourism in some areas, youth travel remains resilient. Not only do young people continue to travel during difficult times, but the agencies and organizations helping them also continue to offer new products and services that meet the needs of young travelers.
The conference covers all aspects and interests of the industry and is an incredible opportunity to strengthen partnerships and create new ones. The latest information on policies affecting the travel and tourism industry, innovations that improve the experience, industry trends and the emersion of new programs are some of the many topics discussed through workshops, networking and seminars.
WYSTC provides insights and education to the many influences and factors facing the industry and keeps us abreast and in tune with challenges and concerns of war, terrorism, safety and our important role as visa sponsors in facilitating safe and meaningful experiences.
Alliance Abroad is honored to be a finalist in the Most Extraordinary Experience category. Follow Thato Khasuli, our 2015 WYSTC intern recipient, on our blog and his amazing journey from South Africa to America. Thato reminds us that what we do has a higher purpose and can change the world…one person, company, community and country at a time.
The Austin-based leader in cultural exchange will visit Universities and Government Officials in Mexico City to promote internships with Texas organizations
Austin, TX – May 15, 2015 – Alliance Abroad Group, a leader in cultural exchange announced today it is travelling to Mexico City with the U.S. Department of State to promote Texas-based internships in the fields of Management, Business, Commerce and Finance; Public Administration and Law; Information Media and Communications; The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial occupations.
“This program is a great opportunity for Texas organizations to promote cultural exchange and support U.S. – Mexico relations while also gaining high-quality interns,” said James Bell, President at Alliance Abroad Group. “Hosting an international intern brings a new, global dynamic into an organization. We are honored to represent Austin and invite any and all organizations interested to reach out to us.” (more…)
Many of you are probably like me – most of your holidays have been spent the same, with family and friends in your hometown. I grew up in Iowa, so mine were filled with farm-tastic fun. Seriously, they were really fun. However – my most memorable holidays are the few I spent abroad when I was in college. That Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years will forever stand out in my mind. I vividly remember what I did, whom I was with…and I know I always will.
As we say goodbye to summer and slowly trudge into fall a few things become clear: soon we will see cooler temperatures, shorter days, and we will have to come to grips with the harsh reality that winter is coming. Now unless you live and work at a ski resort or think that shoveling is the best cardio workout you can get for free then you will probably agree: winter sucks! (more…)
As you know, Labor Day is considered a national holiday and traditionally represents the end of summer. The holiday at the core signifies the national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. Here are some things you might not know and encourage you pass along to our international participants. (more…)