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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Media Note

December 20, 2000

United States and European Community Renew Agreement on "Program of Cooperation in Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training"

As part of the U.S.-E.U. summit December 18, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, European Community External Affairs Commissioner Christopher Patten, and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine signed the U.S.-E.C. "Program of Cooperation in Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training" at Blair House in Washington, D.C. This agreement, following a similar accord signed in 1995 by USIA Director Joseph Duffey and Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, renews for five years a program of cooperation by U.S. and E.U. institutions of higher education and vocational education and training. It bolsters the Department of State's U.S.-EC Fulbright exchange program and furthers the aims of various international educational consortia co-sponsored by the Department of Education.

Secretary Albright and Secretary Riley underscored the importance of the agreement in remarks about its significance in the context of the President's International Education Policy. Secretary Riley emphasized that this agreement was part of what his Department terms "educational diplomacy."

Commissioner Patten and Foreign Minister Vedrine both welcomed the strengthening of transatlantic bonds through educational and vocational exchange.

The signing of the agreement was the culmination of nine months of negotiation and planning by the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Office of Policy and Evaluation, working with the Bureau's European Fulbright Branch, the State Department's Office of the Legal Advisor and Bureau of European Affairs, USEU PA, the Department of Education, and the European Union.

The flagship international educational program sponsored by the United States Government, widely known as the Fulbright Program, is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries..." With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 230,000 participants - chosen for their leadership potential - with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants.

April 19, 2000-President Clinton signed the "Memorandum on International Education Policy." The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education are working in partnership to implement this policy and prepare American citizens for a global environment while continuing to attract and educate future leaders from abroad.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Sam Westgate
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Policy and Evaluation
Phone (202) 619-5305

[end of document]