From Scottsbluff to Omaha: The State Department’s Impact on Nebraska

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 the “Cornhusker State” of Nebraska through international exchange programs, university partnerships, and defense cooperation.

First, the State Department impacts Nebraska through its support and facilitation of international academic exchange programs. From 2012–2016, 137 Brazilian students attended the University of Nebraska in Kearney, Lincoln, and Omaha through the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. This program, which was funded by the Brazilian government and the private sector, sent 101,446 Brazilian university students in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — to study and conduct research abroad. The United States was a priority destination, having received 31.5% of these scholarship recipients. The program significantly contributed to the strengthening of U.S. and Brazilian institutional partnerships, the development of a workforce prepared for new opportunities, and long-term economic growth for both countries.

Secondly, the State Department administers a university partnership program which was established to promote academic links between Nebraska and South Asia. The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)’s College of Business Administration and Center for Afghanistan Studies have partnered with the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) to enhance the institution’s business school, shape strategic plans for the future, and improve the country’s economy. Two American faculty from Nebraska have offered courses, seminars, curriculum development, and mentoring in the partner institution in Afghanistan. Additionally, UNO has hosted AUAF faculty on campus, allowing them to review UNO’s business curriculum and adapt it for their own use.

In addition, UNO administered a three-year grant to upgrade the Department of Journalism at Kabul University. This resulted in a new four-year curriculum for journalism which was applied to all the national universities. Omaha also hosted a program for female university administrators from 13 South and Central Asian countries, and conducted a professional development program for junior faculty from three Pakistani universities. UNO is working with the Center for Strategic International Studies to administer a series of university partnerships in India.

University partnership programs like these support the internationalization efforts of American universities and advance American influence, directly supporting the United States’ South Asia strategy. The two-way exchanges enrich the global education of Nebraska students, and provide valuable research links for faculty.

Finally, the State Department works alongside our defense colleagues through the Foreign Policy Advisor Program managed by the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of State-Defense Integration. Emerging security issues demand that the U.S. government be agile, comprehensive, and inclusive when navigating foreign relations, and the interagency process remains the most efficient and effective means for the U.S. government to leverage resources for securing America’s interests abroad. Therefore, no agency, including the State Department, can operate in a vacuum. Foreign Policy Advisors, or POLADs, provide invaluable foreign policy expertise and advice to senior, strategic-level military leaders serving at various commands throughout the world. Today, one POLAD is assigned to U.S. Strategic Command, or STRATCOM, based out of Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha. Through this strategic collaboration and clear communication channels, State and Defense colleagues can respond seamlessly to our constantly-changing security environment.

From Scottsbluff to Omaha, the State Department impacts Nebraska communities through strategic partnerships and programs, thereby supporting Nebraska’s institutions and economy. And Nebraskans impact the world, contributing to defense goals and bolstering our people-to-people ties from the Western Hemisphere to South Asia and beyond.

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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The official Medium account of the U.S. Department of State

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