On behalf of the American people, the State Department promotes and demonstrates democratic values and advances a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. By leading America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance, the Department keeps the American people safe both at home and abroad and advances our shared economic prosperity. The State Department directly impacts the “Palmetto State” of South Carolina through programs that benefit the economy, adoption support, and exchange programs.
First, Charleston, South Carolina is home to the largest domestic Department of State presence outside of Washington, D.C. There are five State Department Bureaus located in the Charleston Regional Complex, employing 1,500 staff. The 450 employees of the Charleston Passport Center adjudicate approximately 17% of the overall annual U.S. passport workload.
Second, the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs advocates in meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity for the conservation of pollinators. Pollinators contribute $24 billion to the national economy and $151 million to the economy of South Carolina alone for cotton, as well as tens of millions more for other agricultural products like melons, tomatoes, and peaches. This advocacy has a positive impact on South Carolina’s economy and, in turn, its communities.
Thirdly, the State Department benefits South Carolina through the intercountry adoption process. In Fiscal Year 2018, the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued visas to 45 children who were adopted by U.S. citizens from South Carolina. Intercountry adoption is one of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ highest priorities, as the bureau’s Office of Children’s Issues works diligently to establish and maintain intercountry adoption as a viable option for children in need of permanency throughout the world when it is in the best interest of the child and domestic solutions have been given due consideration.
Finally, the State Department enriches South Carolina through exchange programs. For the past four years, International Leadership in Education Program alumnae Sandra Jara has led a U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara-sponsored high school exchange program called Activa Tu Speaking. The program connects high school students in Jalisco and Aguascalientes, Mexico, with their counterparts at J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, South Carolina, through weekly online conversations and subject-based joint projects. Over the course of the academic year, students have the opportunity to practice their foreign language skills in a real-life context using vocabulary relevant to future careers in hard science and social science. The exchange culminates in a select number of students traveling to visit each other’s high schools in person, thereby uniting and benefiting these communities across borders.
From Greenville to Charleston, the State Department has a positive impact on South Carolinians through environmental advocacy, exchange programs, and international adoption support. These programs have real, meaningful impacts, benefiting the people of South Carolina and communities around 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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