Bureau of International Information Programs

Bureau of International Information Programs

The US Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs (also called IIP) describes itself as follows:

Among other things, IIP operates the [http://www.america.gov America.gov] website to deliver "information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture." [http://usinfo.state.gov/usinfo/about_usinfo.html] . America.gov is the successor to the [http://usinfo.state.gov USINFO] website, although some languages are still available only on USINFO.

The Bureau prides itself on using cutting-edge technology and strategic alliances to improve its effectiveness. The Bureau's products and services--including web sites and other internet services, electronic journals, speaker programs, print publications, and CD-ROMs--uniquely are designed to support the State Department's initiatives, as well as those of other U.S. foreign policy organizations. It also manages Information Resource Centers overseas and offers reference specialists based in Washington, DC, to answer specialized information queries from abroad. The IIP was created from elements of the U.S. Information Agency when it merged with the Department of State on October 1, 1999. It is headed by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State For International Information Programs; Michael S. Doran has been nominated to fill the now-vacant office.

The Organization

Operating as a reinvention laboratory through its team-based management structure, the IIP comprises three offices:

* The Office of Geographic Liaison is the first point of contact within IIP for missions overseas and the audiences they serve. Its teams' writer-editors, information resource officers, program officers, and translators provide regionally oriented products and services.
* The Office of Thematic Programs has multifunctional teams organized in one of two ways: along subject-matter lines, such as economic security, or along product lines, such as electronic media. The thematic teams work closely with the geographic teams in preparing products and services that support Washington initiatives and mission requests.
* The Office of Technology Services is responsible for developing, interpreting, and applying government-wide technology policies and procedures in support of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and IIP.

Screening of speakers

The Bureau runs the U.S. Speaker and Specialist Program, which selects U.S. experts to deliver lectures, serve as consultants and conduct seminars, either overseas or from the United States via teleconferences. Senator Joe Biden requested a review of the program after a December 2005 story in which State Department officials said that political litmus tests were being used to weed out speakers critical of the Bush administration.

In September 2006, a report by the department's Inspector General's Office said that U.S. officials screened the public statements and writings of private citizens for criticism of the Bush administration before deciding whether to send them on foreign speaking assignments. The screenings amounted to "virtual censorship" in the State Department's selection of speakers, said the 22-page report. [Jonathan S. Landay, [http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/15903402.htm "State Dept vetted speakers for criticism of Bush Administration"] , "McClatchy Newspapers", November 1, 2006]

ee also

*United States Information Agency (which served a similar role from 1953 to 1999)


External links

*US Department of State's [http://usinfo.state.gov/usinfo/about_usinfo.html Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP)]

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