Six Pillars of American Spaces

American Spaces are required to conduct programs that incorporate the below five core programming elements. American Spaces are encouraged to work with Embassies and Consulates to ensure that the program themes align well with Integrated Country Strategy goals.

Alumni Engagement

Whether they lead programs in American Spaces, share their U.S. experience, or serve on advisory boards, alumni consistently enhance the effectiveness of programming at American Spaces. Some programs at Spaces are designed to benefit and engage the alumni themselves, such as hosting alumni association activities or offering professional development opportunities. Often leading experts in their fields, alumni have an understanding of both American and local culture and language that enables them to present American perspectives in a way that resonates with local audiences. See Alumni Engagement Toolkit (PDF 1.6 MB) for more.

Strategic Cultural Programs

American Spaces offer programs that represent the full range of American culture to engage with key audiences. Cultural programs can include but are not limited to arts, sports, film, cuisine, health, science, technology, maker space activities, environment, and entrepreneurship. In coordination with the Embassy or Consulate, American Spaces utilize a wide array of cultural programming formats, including performances, clubs, classes, roundtables, virtual viewing parties, webchats, summer camps, and competitions. The State Department, particularly the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers a variety of cultural programs to foster meaningful cultural exchanges among foreign audiences and Americans.

Educational Advising

Whether by hosting an EducationUSA Advising Center or providing public access to the educational advising materials, American Spaces conduct a variety of activities that promote higher education in the United States. American Spaces staff work with Regional Educational Advising Coordinators (REACs) and educational advising staff to ensure that American Spaces offer accurate educational advising at the appropriate level. Programs in this core area promote the availability of online advising materials, facilitate contact with local advising staff and REACs, and feature the EducationUSA logo to amplify branding. Such programs also utilize webinars, social media platforms, and alumni of and current participants in educational exchange programs to encourage foreign students to study in the United States.

English Language Teaching and Learning

American Spaces offer a wide range of programs that build the skills of English language teachers and promote English language learning, particularly for under-served and strategic audiences. In coordination with Embassies and Consulates, American Spaces develop English language programming that conforms with host country regulations on education and teaching. American Spaces are encouraged to work with Regional English Language Officers to seek advice on how to present effective, relevant English language programming and take advantage of the many English language instructional resources provided by the State Department. English language programming may include English language clubs, teacher training workshops, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant-led activities, hosting English Language Fellows, and more.

Information About the United States

American Spaces are gateways for audiences to learn about American society and values. American Spaces share America’s story by providing foreign audiences with accurate and timely information about the United States. Such programs are similar to cultural programming, often engaging similar audiences and using the same resources; however, the focus of programming in this core area is more on policy and values. Common examples of programming themes include elections, governmental operations, foreign policy, civil society, Model United Nations programs, democracy, rule of law, civil rights, countering disinformation, and countering violent extremism.

Skills Building

Skills Building: Programming in the Skills Building Pillar empowers current and future host nation leaders to develop skills and increase capacity in a wide array of areas that will help them meet global challenges, mitigate crises, increase participation of underrepresented communities, reduce economic disparities, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and opportunity, and strengthen resilience to economic, technological, environmental, and other systemic challenges. This programming Pillar encourages posts and their American Spaces to draw on a wide range of post expertise and Department public-facing resources to teach skills such as critical thinking and media literacy, resume writing and job promotion, how to launch entrepreneurial or social development projects, how to engage in constructive dialogue, how to deepen their professional skills, how to use makerspace equipment to conduct projects, and how to effectively and creatively see, hear, and speak for themselves. Beyond the English language skill-building, cultural, and educational growth opportunities presented through programs in the English Language Teaching and Learning Pillar, Cultural Pillar, and the Educational Advising Pillar, American Spaces programming in the Skills Building Pillar provides workshops or similar engagement formats that could be as short as half an hour to as long as a semester-long or even year-long series, with the goal of teaching host nation audiences skills they wish to develop further, but without the intensity or financial cost of formal education.