From Chicago to the Shawnee National Forest: The State Department's Impact on Illinois

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Chicago skyline with the words "State4States" and "Illinois"
#State4States: The Department of State has direct impact on the state of Illinois

From Chicago to the Shawnee National Forest: The State Department's Impact on Illinois

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 benefits impact communities across the "Prairie State" of Illinois and span many areas including education, nuclear issues, and research. 

For example, the State Department provided grant funding to Illinois Community Colleges to host Community College Initiative (CCI) Program participants from Nairobi, Kenya. The Community College Initiative Program provides scholarships for students to spend up to one academic year at U.S. community colleges. While there, students participate in professional internships, service learning, and community engagement activities, and come away with strengthened English language skills and an understanding of the United States. Simultaneously, the program helps raise the profile of community colleges, like those in Illinois, as prime motivators and initiators of higher education globally, and enriches the classroom experience for both the American and international students.

The State Department funds a variety of programs at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Lemont, Illinois, to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. As part of a $3.5M in-kind contribution to the IAEA administered through the Argonne National Laboratory, approximately $1.37 million was expended at the ANL to host training courses and support fellowships and internships that safely and securely advance the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. For example, in FY2018, ANL hosted 13 courses for foreign nationals in support of IAEA technical cooperation activities in areas that include the use of nuclear technology for medicine, sustainable energy, and the environment. Since 1976, ANL has organized 250 joint U.S./IAEA training courses for over 5,400 people from approximately 148 countries. ANL has also placed more than 1,200 science and engineering fellows from 98 countries at U.S. institutes since 2003, giving them tools and resources needed for their countries to safely and securely apply peaceful nuclear technology. In the area of nuclear verification, for the last 10 years the New Brunswick Laboratory, which is located on the site of ANL, has provided unique, certified nuclear reference materials to the IAEA to enable it to properly calibrate the inspection instruments and sample analysis equipment it uses to verify peaceful nuclear programs and materials around the world.

Finally, the State Department works with Illinois' institutions to find solutions to our most pressing global problems. Wilbur Wright College in Chicago is a participating school in the Diplomacy Lab partnership led by the State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships. Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges. Partner schools like Wilbur Wright College conduct research around Department-selected topics including democracy and human rights, counterterrorism, nonproliferation, global health, and energy security. Over the course of a semester, professors guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the Department. Diplomacy Lab underscores the Department’s commitment to engage with the American people, including the people of Illinois, in the work of the State Department, and the need to broaden the Department’s research base in response to increasingly complex global challenges. 

State Department programs impact American communities in Illinois, from Chicago to the Shawnee National Forest, and Illinois, in turn, impacts the world.

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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