US Department of StateWASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs programs engage youth, women, and undeserved audiences to address environmental issues in their home communities and empower a new generation of leaders. Through exchange programs, teachers, youth, academics, and emerging leaders gain skills and resources to create positive change for the environment around the world.

The Exchange Visitor Program has specific exchanges created exclusively to promote environmental sustainability. The current sponsor, EarthCorps, educates emerging leaders about environmental restoration and building capacity to protect and restore local ecosystems worldwide. The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) program connects farmers with sustainable food advocates to strengthen and create reliable food systems.

Many International Exchange Alumni complete their U.S.-based programs and return to their home communities with knowledge to improve local conservation efforts. In the Gambia, Alumni formed environmental clubs with 100 underserved youth to create and maintain a seed bank and plant tree nurseries. In India, Parvati Gubbi, an alumna of the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program, teaches students to practice sustainable lifestyles.

Youth exchange programs engage and educate youth around the world to do their part and secure a healthy and sustainable future. The U.S.-Australia Virtual Environmental Partnership links high schools in Australia with their counterparts in the U.S. to collaborate on local environmental water resource projects. Through the American Youth Leadership Programs in Cambodia, Malaysia, Paraguay, and Singapore, American youth learn about environmental issues abroad and create projects back home to work on with their new partners overseas.

The Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program convened 20 scholars from the United States, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay through international exchange, seminars, and collaborative research on environmental sustainability. Led by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kammen, the Fulbright NEXUS participants are collaborating on interdisciplinary projects focusing on climate change adaptation strategies.

In 2013, 316 current and emerging foreign leaders will participate in 53 environment-based projects with their American counterparts for the International Visitor Leadership Program. On Earth Day and as part of the Department’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, 13 participants from Africa will visit the United States to work in partnership to combat international wildlife trafficking and learn best practices in anti-poaching of U.S. wildlife resources.

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