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 directly impacts the “Pelican State” of Louisiana through military partnerships, educational exchanges, and law enforcement cooperation.
First, the State Department coordinates the Louisiana National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP) with Belize, founded in 1996. The State Partnership Program links a state’s National Guard with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. Through the SPP, the Louisiana National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements with Belizean counterparts in support of defense security goals. The SPP has become a key U.S. security cooperation tool, facilitating collaboration across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level.
Secondly, higher education institutions in Louisiana play a significant role in creating new opportunities to increase academic exchanges between Louisiana and Latin America so that more students can work in teams, solve real-world problems, and better prepare for the 21st century work force. The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration that supports new higher education partnerships between the United States and countries throughout the Americas. The Innovation Fund fuels new higher education partnerships, increases academic exchanges, provides critical access training programs, and builds bridges of opportunities. Louisiana State University and the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura in Honduras received a grant for both schools to offer study abroad opportunities for students from low-income, rural, indigenous, and Afro-Honduran populations who study agriculture. Partnerships like this one not only give low-income students opportunities they might never have had otherwise, but also build positive relationships and mutual understanding between the American and Honduran students.
Finally, In New Orleans, the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) – the department’s law enforcement and security arm – conducts investigations relating to visa and passport fraud, and provides support to the New Orleans Passport Agency. Special agents and investigative analysts assigned to the New Orleans Resident Office (NORO) often collaborate with U.S. partners and their DSS colleagues overseas to investigate these crimes. For instance, in 2018, NORO investigated multiple cases that involved the use of fraudulent documents to assume fake U.S. identities, and the misuse of U.S. visas. NORO recently led a multi-state, international visa fraud investigation that identified more than 100 individuals that used fake documents to pose as students coming to the United States for religious studies. In addition to conducting investigations, NORO special agents support the diplomatic community in the New Orleans area, provide dignitary protection for visiting officials, and support major events such as Mardi Gras and “Experience America” in Biloxi, Mississippi.
From Shreveport to New Orleans, the State Department impacts Louisiana communities through military partnerships, educational exchange, and law enforcement support. And Louisianans, in return, impact communities around the globe.
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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