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Newsletter: Public Diplomacy in Europe, July 2007

U.S. State Department
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Washington, DC


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Newsletter: Public Diplomacy in Europe, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Summer 2007
In This Issue:


Romania: 400 High School Students Celebrate America 

The New York team celebrates a big win, June 14, 2007. [Bogdan Cristel, U.S. Embassy Romania]
The New York team celebrates a big win, June 14, 2007. [Bogdan Cristel, U.S. Embassy Romania]
400 students from the top five high schools in Bucharest celebrated Flag Day on the U.S. Ambassador to Romania’s Residence grounds. The students participated in a competition to design the best poster about an American State, with the focus this year on famous people. The students used all of their creative talents to outdo each other in the quest for prizes (American books and DVDs), dressing up in costumes (special guests included Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Lamour, and Britney Spears). During the preparation of the presentations the students visited and made use of U.S. Embassy Bucharest resources, learned details about the individual states, and became involved in Public Diplomacy programming. Many signed up for receipt of outreach and/or obtained information on studying in the U.S. from the Fulbright Student Advising Center. More importantly, they took home great memories of a fun evening at the Ambassador’s Residence along with a sense of pride in “their” American state.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Madrassa Students Graduate from English-Access Program

Ambassador McElhaney, far right, flanked by Dr. Mustafa Ceric with the six different Madrassas graduating students, June 30, 2007. [Mostar Madrassa, Access program]
Ambassador McElhaney, far right, flanked by Dr. Mustafa Ceric with the six different Madrassas' graduating students, June 30, 2007. [Mostar Madrassa, Access program]
The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo co-organized a graduation ceremony for 76 students from Bosnia’s six state-funded madrassas who completed an English-Access Micro-scholarship Program, a program funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered in-country by the American Councils for International Education. U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Douglas L. McElhaney along with a number of local dignitaries, including the Head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Islamic Community, Reis-l-ulema Dr. Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti Kavazovic and Head Imam Karic of Tuzla Canton, attended the graduation held at the Tuzla madrassa, the largest in the country. The Reis was quoted in leading Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz as saying that Bosnian Muslims heard President Bush's words that the U.S. had helped Bosnian Muslims during the war and that America was not against Islam. The Reis also praised the cooperation between the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Islamic Community in organizing English-language teaching programs for Bosnian Muslims studying at madrassas. In his remarks, Ambassador McElhaney recognized the critical role the program plays in encouraging the sharing of ideas, enhancing employment prospects, and building bridges among communities.


Russia: New Exchange Program with Tatarstan

Public Affairs Officer Jim Kenney, center, and  Professor Marina Solnyshkina, 3rd from left, pose with Tatar University students who recently returned from the U.S., June 24-28, 2007 [U.S. Embassy Moscow]
Public Affairs Officer Jim Kenney, center, and  Professor Marina Solnyshkina, 3rd from left, pose with Tatar University students who recently returned from the U.S., June 24-28, 2007 [U.S. Embassy Moscow]
The Public Affairs Officer from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow traveled to Tatarstan with a delegation of deans and professors from the State University of New York (SUNY) to meet with Tatar Ministry of Education officials and representatives of more than a dozen Tatar universities interested in launching new exchange programs with American universities. In the spring semester, a group of 16 Tatar students and graduate students took courses at three SUNY campuses, with all their travel expenses covered by scholarships from the government of Tatarstan. Next fall, a second group of 31 students will receive similar scholarships from the Ministry. SUNY and the Ministry of Education of Tatarstan have drafted a formal agreement to start up the largest new academic exchange between the U.S. and Russia in more than a decade.


Slovenia: U.S. Ambassador Completes “Walk Across Slovenia”

Ambassador Robertson and Mrs. Robertson join Slovene officials at the completion ceremony, July 7, 2007. [U.S. Embassy Ljubljana]
Ambassador Robertson and Mrs. Robertson join Slovene officials at the completion ceremony, July 7, 2007. [U.S. Embassy Ljubljana]
Completing a journey he began in 2005, U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Thomas B. Robertson reached the end of the E6 European Walking Route in the Adriatic town of Strunjan on July 7. The Ambassador’s approximate 200-mile hike along the Slovenian portion of the transcontinental trail served as a fundraiser for the International Trust Fund for Demining (ITF), a Slovenian non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of landmines in South Eastern Europe. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs will match every dollar raised by the walk. Slovenia’s Foreign Minister, Dimitrij Rupel, the head of the ITF, the local Mayor, and the Ambassador’s hiking partners from the Slovene Mountaineering Association joined him for the completion ceremony.


Armenia: U.S. Embassy Sponsors Dina Preston Country and Western Band

The Dina Preston Band performs at an outdoor concert in Armenia, July 7, 2007. [Photogroup Armenia]
The Dina Preston Band performs at an outdoor concert in Armenia, July 7, 2007. [Photogroup Armenia]
The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan brought the Dina Preston Band to Armenia for a week of concerts in the capital Yerevan and around the country. At a press conference the musicians talked about country music, as well as their numerous tours around the world and their upcoming performances in Armenia. In addition, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy organized an exclusive interview of the band members with one of the most popular music/culture magazines in Armenia. Several thousand people attended the outdoor concert in Yerevan to hear country music and experience American culture.


Serbia: U.S. Embassy and MTV Join Forces for Tolerance at Serbian Music Festival

Interview at Exit Music Festival, July 12-15, 2007. [MTV photo]
Interview at Exit Music Festival, July 12-15, 2007. [MTV photo]

The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and MTV collaborated to launch MTV Movement, a new initiative that promotes diversity and tolerance, at the Exit Music Festival in Serbia. Over 200,000 youth converged in the Serbian city of Novi Sad July 12-15 to attend the festival which featured artists such as the Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, and Robert Plant. MTV Europe Foundation Chief said the festival was “the most important cultural and social event of the year for young people from across South Eastern Europe.” The festival featured a special MTV Movement Stage spotlighting diverse artists from around the world including many young Roma hip-hop artists from across Serbia. As part of the initiative, MTV is also creating a documentary on the festival which will feature artists discussing tolerance and diversity issues.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Civic Education Summer Camp Unites Youth

Deputy Chief of Mission Judith Cefkin is interviewed by local TV, July 6-10, 2007. [Nedzad Biberovic, Civitas Coordinator]
Deputy Chief of Mission Judith Cefkin is interviewed by local TV, July 6-10, 2007. [Nedzad Biberovic, Civitas Coordinator]
With funding from the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and local sponsors, a program sponsored by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo organized a summer camp in the Brcko District July 6-10 that brought together over 300 students and teachers from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as guest teams from Montenegro and Serbia. The students attended workshops, visited local communities, conducted volunteer actions such as removing litter from the Sava River, and participated in sports and other games.


Turkey: Algiers Brass Band Performs in Istanbul

A member of the Algiers Brass Band shows how to swing, July 3-8, 2007. [Craig Kuehl, U.S. Consulate Istanbul]
A member of the Algiers Brass Band shows how to swing, July 3-8, 2007. [Craig Kuehl, U.S. Consulate Istanbul]
The Algiers Brass Band carried out New Orleans style street performances throughout the city of Istanbul July 3-8. The band was in Turkey as part of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Cultural Initiative support of the Istanbul Jazz Festival. The street concerts and performances at various locations brought historically and culturally unique New Orleans marching band style to Turkey. The Istanbul street audiences and jazz lovers represent an audience that is difficult to reach through standard public diplomacy program activities. Thus, lively and appealing American music representatives worked well in building a positive image of the U.S.


Denmark: Erie, Pennsylvania TV Station Highlights Danish Youth Exchange Program

Danish exchange students pose while in Erie, PA, July 2007. [Finn Balle Kjeldsen, National Director YFU-Denmark]
Danish exchange students pose while in Erie, PA, July 2007. [Finn Balle Kjeldsen, National Director YFU-Denmark]
Sixteen ethnically diverse Danish high school students from predominantly Muslim immigrant neighborhoods traveled to the U.S. in July on a three-week "Window on America" program organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen in collaboration with Youth for Understanding-Denmark (YFU). The young Danes lived with American host families in the Erie, Pennsylvania area for two weeks, and traveled to Washington, DC and New York City for cultural programs and visits that allowed them to learn more about American society and values. Local TV in Erie did an evening news story on the visit, airing interviews with several of the students in which they talked about how their pre-conceptions about the U.S. have changed and how they will return to Denmark with a more positive view of Americans and American society.


Turkey: U.S. Swimming Coach Connects with Hundreds of Kids in Sports Camps

Alison Terry guides a Turkish youth in the water, July 2-14, 2007. [Aysegul Taskin, U.S. Embassy, Ankara]
Alison Terry guides a Turkish youth in the water, July 2-14, 2007. [Aysegul Taskin, U.S. Embassy, Ankara]
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara brought Alison Terry, a USA Swimming Board member and nationally recognized coach, to Ankara for a 2-week program in cooperation with the Ankara Provincial Youth and Sports Directorate. Ms. Terry held "Train the Trainer" sessions and interacted with over 900 children involved in the Directorate's annual summer sports camps. Ms. Terry was much beloved by the other coaches and students, many of whom were working with an American for the first time. During the visit, the Turkish Swimming Federation approached the Embassy and asked for support and exchange possibilities during the coming year. They also asked Ms. Terry (a board member of USA swimming) for help in securing an American coach to serve as the coordinating coach for Turkey's national and Olympic swim teams.


Turkey: Basketball Coach Teaches Turkish Youth NBA Drills

Frank Lopez teaches teamwork to Turkish youth, July 2-14, 2007. [Serdar Ozsoy, Milliyet Newspaper]
Frank Lopez teaches teamwork to Turkish youth, July 2-14, 2007. [Serdar Ozsoy, Milliyet Newspaper]

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara brought Frank Lopez, a basketball coach who works with the Orlando Magic and the Jr. NBA, to Ankara for a joint project with the Ankara Youth and Sports Directorate. During the program, Mr. Lopez taught basic techniques and drills that he uses with the pros to 150 students from all different social and economic classes. He also participated in an impromptu program with Buyuk Kolej, a private high school in Ankara, where he did "train the trainers" sessions and worked with local high school basketball teams.

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
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