Cultural Programmes

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, through its Cultural Programs Division, supports a variety of cultural exchange programs that further our nation’s foreign policy, foster America’s artistic excellence and promote mutual understanding and respect for other cultures and traditions.

Cultural Representatives are comprised of a dedicated group of people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines who participate in exchange programs to further the Department’s public diplomacy goals. These programs, which include the Ambassadors, Envoys and Visitors programs, build and strengthen relationships among diverse world cultures. The activities they carry out help countries to strengthen their own cultural institutions as well as to build sustainable linkages and relationships between American individuals and institutions and their foreign counterparts. Cultural Representative programs respond to Washington and field needs and provide opportunities to showcase American arts and arts management through targeted programs and short-term residencies. These programs also offer an opportunity for Americans to learn about foreign cultures, arts and arts management.

Grant Opportunities The ECA Cultural Programs Division provides grants to U.S. nonprofit organizations to carry out exchange programs in the arts, arts management, and arts education. The purpose of each exchange program is to provide engagement with youth, particularly those with limited opportunities, to promote American heritage in the arts, to demonstrate respect for foreign cultures, and to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

Performing Arts Program The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs supports a variety of cultural exchange programs that utilize the performing arts to reach out to diverse publics abroad. Performing arts programs are an important means of developing an appreciation of American culture and values in foreign audiences. American performing artists in music, dance and theatre present performances, conduct workshops, master classes and related activities with the goal of engaging overseas audiences and encouraging mutual understanding and respect. Through these programs, American performers also learn to value other cultures.

Special Initiatives The Department of State, in partnership with public and private cultural entities, has launched the “GLOBAL CULTURAL INITIATIVE” – a comprehensive initiative to coordinate, enhance and expand our cultural diplomacy efforts worldwide. Through initial partnerships with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Film Institute (AFI), the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the State Department will be able to combine, build upon and call attention to the vital work of government agencies and the broader cultural arts community.

Visual Arts/Film Programs Cultural Programs in the visual arts provide international audiences greater access to American art, and promote American achievements in the arts. ECA provides opportunities for presentations of American art and contemporary visual artists through exchanges, traveling exhibitions, participation in major international art exhibitions and widely distributed poster series. Cultural programs in the visual arts reach target audiences, providing access to the arts for museum-goers, as well as those for whom a visit to a museum may be impossible.