For more than 50 years the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has sought to cultivate mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961.
More than 1 million people around the world have participated in ECA exchange programs, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current and former heads of state and government.
As part of America’s larger story of respect for and interest in all cultures and faiths, ECA’s range of programs exist to encourage mutual understanding as well as international, educational and cultural exchange, and leadership development.
From artists, educators, and athletes to students and the youth in the United States and more than 160 countries, ECA engages rising leaders through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges. Striving to reflect the diversity of the United States and global society, ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.