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. These impacts are fear reaching across the “Golden State” of California.
For tourists and students alike, California is often a dream destination -- the source from which many draw their ideas of America. From the glitz and glam of Hollywood to the innovative spirit that fuels Silicon Valley, California is at the top of many bucket lists. It is, therefore, no surprise that California is ranked number one in the United States for the number of international students its colleges and universities attract. In fact, international students contributed an estimated $5.2 billion to the California economy in the 2015-2016 academic year. EducationUSA, the State Department’s official educational network which provides unbiased information about U.S. higher education to students at advising centers in more than 175 countries, regularly promotes study in the United States, including California. Whether from Japan, India, Peru, or Nigeria or whether in the classroom or sitting on surfboards off the California coast, international students contribute both to California’s economy and the United States' goals of building mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Connections are inevitably made during exchange programs, but they are also made through the recognition of common goals. In one case, the shared goal of countering violent extremism (CVE) has brought cities around the world together. The Strong Cities Network – launched and sustained by the State Department – is a global network of mayors, municipal-level policy makers, and practitioners united in building social cohesion and community resilience. The network is made up of over 125 cities worldwide, including Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait participated in the Network’s Global Summit in Denmark in May 2017, and in February he co-led a delegation to India, along with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, which included a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Los Angeles was a stop for the 18 International Visitors who connected with U.S. practitioners on local CVE strategies during the Strong Cities exchange program in 2017, and the city will host the 2019 Strong Cities Network Global Summit.
The State Department facilitates important connections that have the potential to save lives. Every year, California faces potentially devastating wildfires that threaten its communities. In 2017, U.S. Embassy Canberra signed the Wildland Fire Management Resources Agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Interior, and Emergency Management Australia to help facilitate bilateral resource-sharing to combat wildfires. In October 2017, under a separate state-to-state agreement, the Australian State of Victoria sent 33 emergency management staff to help fight wildfires in Northern California.
From fighting wildfires to building connections in the classroom, the State Department regularly establishes avenues to positively impact the United States. But, when we bring together stakeholders that benefit Californians… eureka! We create golden opportunities.
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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