American Spaces are required to conduct programs that incorporate the Six Pillars. American Spaces are also encouraged to work with Embassies and Consulates to ensure that the program themes align well with Integrated Country Strategy goals.
Information about the United States: As gateways for host nation audiences to learn about American society, culture, and values, posts should expect their American Spaces to present information that is accurate and balanced, current, and audience-appropriate, and which helps posts shape the narrative about the United States, especially when faced with disinformation or propaganda. This Pillar focuses on ensuring that the information presented by American Spaces meets this expectation. American Spaces offer multimedia collections of books, videos, transcripts, pamphlets, audio recordings, texts, newspapers, photo galleries, poster shows, and more. American Spaces also provide WiFi and Internet access, as well as access to eLibraryUSA (eLibraryUSA.state.gov), video streaming services, online newspapers and magazines, research databases, and other information services. Whether used dynamically in programs or made available for individual viewing and circulation – or both – these multimedia collections must present accurate, current, and audience-appropriate information. These information resources may be presented in English and/or host nation languages and should be refreshed regularly so that they remain accurate, up to date, and audience appropriate.
Alumni Engagement: American Spaces frequently engage alumni of U.S. exchange programs and cultural enrichment programs – both U.S. government-sponsored and privately funded. Whether they lead programs or participate as members of a larger audience by sharing their U.S. experience relevant to the program theme, alumni consistently enhance the quality and effectiveness of programming in American Spaces. Some American Spaces programs are designed to engage and benefit alumni themselves, e.g., by 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, which enables them to present American perspectives in a way that resonates with local audiences. For all of these reasons, this programming Pillar encourages posts to work with their American Spaces on engaging alumni as often as possible. Decisions about which types of alumni groups to engage should be made in alignment with post’s strategic goals. Posts should also review information available at alumni.state.gov and from the Office of Alumni Affairs to explore options for alumni engagement. A notable point is that if an individual in the host nation engages in American Spaces programming deeply enough, that engagement may qualify them as alumni even though they have not participated in an exchange program.
Educational Advising: Whether by hosting an EducationUSA Advising Center or providing public access to educational advising reference materials, American Spaces conduct a variety of educational advising services that promote higher education in the United States. This programming Pillar encourages posts and their American Spaces to promote the availability of online self-advising materials, engage with post educational advising staff and Regional Educational Advising Coordinators (REACs), and feature the EducationUSA logo alongside the American Spaces logo to amplify branding. Such programs also utilize webinars, social media platforms, alumni of U.S. educational institutions, and current and past participants in educational exchange programs to encourage foreign students to study in the United States. REPS work with REACs to facilitate programming in this Pillar and coordinate appropriately with other partner organizations.
English Language Teaching and Learning: This programming Pillar encourages posts and their American Spaces to offer a wide range of programs that build the skills of English language teachers and promote English language learning, particularly for underserved audiences. Programming in this Pillar may include clubs, teacher training workshops, activities led by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, and more. Posts and American Spaces develop English language programming that conforms with host country regulations about education and teaching, taking into consideration any relevant sensitivities in this area. Posts, REPS, and American Spaces are encouraged to work with Regional English Language Officers (RELOs) to seek advice on how to present effective, relevant English language programming and take advantage of the many instructional and professional development/teacher training resources provided by the State Department.
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 professional skills, how to use makerspace equipment to conduct projects, and how people can 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, Strategic Cultural Programs 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 requirements or financial cost of formal education.
Strategic Cultural Programs: American Spaces offer cultural and other types of programs that represent the full range of American culture, engage many different local audiences, and reflect U.S. foreign policy priorities. Cultural programs focus on visual and plastic arts, film, performing arts, literature, health, food culture/cuisine, sports, science and technology, U.S. policy and values (such as democracy, rule of law, civil rights, and good governance), elections, volunteerism, makerspace activities, environment, civil society, and entrepreneurship – introducing host nation audiences to virtually any aspect of culture, from an American perspective. American Spaces offer cultural programs through a wide array of cultural programming formats, including performances, roundtables, virtual viewing parties, webchats, summer camps, and competitions. This programming Pillar encourages posts and their American Spaces to take advantage of the full scope of cultural programming resources offered by the State Department, including arts, sports, and science envoys; speaker programs; films; the “GLOBE” program (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment); Model UN programs; and print and digital offerings developed by the State Department and the Smithsonian Institution.