From Little Rock to Little Flock: The Department of State’s Impact on Arkansas
The State Department benefits the American people by advancing U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, providing services, and reaffirming our country’s exceptional role in the world.
The State Department impacts Arkansas though the U.S. defense trade. The United States is committed to strengthening allies and partners worldwide so that they meet their own legitimate self-defense needs and can improve their capabilities to operate beside U.S. forces to address shared security challenges. The State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) oversees most government-to-government arms transfers and the commercial export licensing of U.S.-origin defense equipment and technologies, consistent with the Arms Export Control Act and other statutory authorities and relevant international agreements. In fiscal year 2017, Arkansas-based companies received approval to export an incredible $14,803,443 worth of defense articles and services licensed by PM’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.
Arkansas is also the birthplace of the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. In September 1945, J. William Fulbright, the freshman senator from Arkansas, introduced a bill in Congress that called for the use of proceeds from the sales of surplus war property to fund the “promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.” One year later, President Harry S. Truman signed the Fulbright Act into law. From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which other countries and governments work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The fundamental principles of international partnership and mutual understanding remain at the core of the Program’s mission.
The great state of Arkansas maintains its Fulbright legacy. In the 2017/2018 academic year, seven Fulbright scholars, students, and teachers from Arkansas were awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and 50 international students received Fulbright grants to study in Arkansas. In 2015, U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, along with the binational U.S.-Argentina Fulbright Commission, launched the Friends of Fulbright Undergraduate Exchange Program which sent 30 undergraduate students to study at the University of Arkansas and the University of Central Arkansas. That same year, 198 exchange participants visited Arkansas from overseas and 111 Arkansas residents traveled overseas as part of Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange funded programs.
Exchange participants visit Arkansas from overseas, and Arkansas residents travel overseas as part of U.S. Department of State’s exchange funded programs every year.
Finally, the U.S. Department of State partners with agencies across the federal government to creates jobs for American workers by opening markets and eliminating trade barriers overseas. The Department and partners also do this by attracting foreign direct investment to the United States. In 2015, foreign direct investment into Arkansas supported 48,100 jobs. In 2017, goods exports of up to $6.3 billion supported another 41,168 Arkansan jobs.
The State Department continues to pursue avenues to build global relationships with the great people and businesses of Arkansas. These connections contribute to international goodwill and mutual understanding — a fitting testament to the legacy of Senator J. William Fulbright.
Find out more about the Department of State’s impact in American communities at Department of State by State.
Editor’s Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.
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Originally published at blogs.state.gov on October 24, 2018.