From Kalispell to Billings: The State Department’s Impact on Montana
On behalf of the American people, the State Department promotes and demonstrates democratic values and advances a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. By leading America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance, the Department keeps the American people safe both at home and abroad and advances our shared economic prosperity. The State Department directly impacts “Big Sky Country” in the state of Montana through economic engagement, public-private partnerships, adoption support, and exchange programs.
First, the State Department, in partnership with agencies across the federal government, creates jobs for American workers by opening markets and eliminating trade barriers overseas, as well as by attracting foreign direct investment to the United States. In 2018, Montana exported $1.6 billion in goods, and as of 2016, Montana goods exports supported approximately 13,079 jobs. Foreign direct investment into Montana supported an additional 7,200 jobs in 2016.
Secondly, as part of the Diplomacy Lab network, the State Department has partnered with Montana State University. Led by the State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships, Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges. Partner schools like Montana State University conduct research around Department-selected topics, and over the course of a semester, professors guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the Department. Diplomacy Lab underscores the Department’s commitment to engage with the American people in the work of the State Department, and the need to broaden the Department’s research base in response to increasingly complex and evolving global challenges.
Third, the State Department impacts Montana through the intercountry adoptions process. In FY 2018, the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued visas to 24 children who were adopted by U.S. citizens from Montana. Intercountry adoption is one of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ highest priorities, as the bureau’s Office of Children’s Issues works diligently to establish and maintain intercountry adoption as a viable option throughout the world.
Finally, the State Department benefits Montanans through international exchange programs, including the Fulbright program. The Fulbright Program fosters bilateral relationships and promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. More than 380,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the Program since its inception more than 70 years ago, and the Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide. In the 2017–2018 academic year, 5 Scholars, Students, and Teachers from Montana were awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and 11 international students received a Fulbright grant to study in Big Sky Country. Outside of the Fulbright program, over 1,700 international students studied in Montana in 2016/2017. In the year prior, 269 exchange visitors from overseas visited the state, and 148 Montana residents traveled abroad on State Department-funded exchange programs. These various exchanges build our people-to-people relationships and foster mutual understanding between the international community and the people of Montana.
From Kalispell to Billings, the State Department builds bridges that bring the people of Montana and the people of the world together. State Department-facilitated educational exchanges, adoptions, economic investment, and public-private partnerships positively benefit both Montanans and the many people they meet along the way.
Find out more about the Department of State’s impact in American communities at Department of State by State.
Editor’s Note: This entry originally appeared on DipNote.
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