Dear WAC Friends:
International exchange programs have always received bi-partisan support in Congress. However, the White House’s newly released FY2018 budget calls for an unprecedented cut of 28 percent to the Department of State. While we don’t know by what amount, it is clear that the administration will soon propose steep cuts to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). If enacted into law, these cuts would greatly harm our nation’s public diplomacy efforts and, ultimately, our national security and economy.
As a nonpartisan organization, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana was founded on international exchanges over 30 years ago. We believe that by offering our communities an opportunity to interact with people from around the world, each of us can play an integral part in promoting peace and mutual understanding. Over these three decades, we have hosted thousands of delegates from every corner of the globe, connecting them with countless organizations, businesses and people in the region, from Louisville to Hazard to Bowling Green to Paducah, as well as Southern Indiana, and the many towns in between. The proposed cut would directly affect our mission and the services that we provide to our community and the region.
We need your support now more than ever. Congressman Hank Johnson is collecting signatures on a letter to the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations in support of exchange program funding. This letter calls for the highest possible funding level for exchange programs in FY2018. The deadline for members of Congress to join the “Dear Colleague” letter is Wednesday, March 22.
The Alliance for International Exchange has organized a letter-writing campaign that makes it very easy for you to write your representative. Click here to access a pre-written letter that you can customize if you would like. It only takes a minute or two to send this letter to your representative in Congress.
Adding your voice to this effort will truly make a difference. Thank you for taking action today.
Xiao Yin Zhao
World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana