Dear Friends,

Shortly before Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) retired as Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, I worked with one of his senior staff members to try to get an amendment introduced to Section 1334 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6553) which created The Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The proposed amendment would have required that at least one U.S. citizen living abroad in the private sector be named and always serve as a member of this advisory commission. The initiative, alas, failed and no such mandatory representation of the overseas American community exists today on this Commission.

As you can see below, the current Congress, under new leadership, has now come up with a different bright idea on how to improve the effectiveness of our Public Diplomacy efforts abroad. Legislation to be debated today includes a new proposal to reinforce the activities of Public Diplomacy Resource Centers abroad by, among other innovations, insuring that movies will be shown as part of the newly named Johnny Grant Film Series. Now that is nothing short of brilliant and a great new deployment of our public funds. The cakes will walk proudly again. Hooray.

Sic transit Gloria mundi!

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FLOOR SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2007


Item 14)   H.R. 2553 – Public Diplomacy Resource Centers Act of 2007 (Rep. Watson – Foreign Affairs)

HR 2553 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2553

To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for the establishment and maintenance of existing libraries and resource centers at United States diplomatic and consular missions to provide information about American culture, society, and history, and for other purposes.

 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 24, 2007

Ms. WATSON (for herself and Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

 

A BILL

To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for the establishment and maintenance of existing libraries and resource centers at United States diplomatic and consular missions to provide information about American culture, society, and history, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited at the `Public Diplomacy Resource Centers Act of 2007'.

SEC. 2. UNITED STATES PUBLIC DIPLOMACY.

 

(a) Establishment and Maintenance of Libraries- Section 1(b)(3) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 2651a(b)(3)) is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (D), by striking `and' at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (E), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(F) provide for the establishment of new and the maintenance of existing libraries and resource centers at or in connection with United States diplomatic and consular missions.'.

(b) Operation of Libraries-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy shall ensure that libraries and resource centers established and maintained in accordance with subparagraph (F) of section 1(b)(3) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (as added by section 2(a)(3) of this Act) are open to the general public to the greatest extent practicable, subject to policies and procedures established by the Under Secretary to ensure the safety and security of United States diplomatic and consular missions and of United States officers, employees, and personnel posted at such missions at which such libraries are located.

(2) JOHNNY GRANT FILM SERIES- The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy shall ensure that such libraries and resource centers schedule public showings of American films that showcase American culture, society, values, and history. Such public showings shall be known as the `Johnny Grant Film Series'.

(c) Receipt of Donations- The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy may accept donations that are made to the libraries and resource centers authorized under this Act if the Under Secretary determines that such receipt will not result in any cost to the Federal Government.

(d) Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy - The Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (authorized under section 1334 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6553)) shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report containing an evaluation of the functions and effectiveness of the libraries and resource centers that are authorized under this Act.

(e) Authorization of Appropriations- In addition to amounts that are otherwise authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State under the educational and cultural exchange programs account to carry out purposes similar to those required under this Act, there are authorized to the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.

 


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