Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act

Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 seeks to promote educational and cultural exchange between the US and other countries in a bid to enhance mutual understanding of the US people and the people of other countries. The US State Department has recently ended 5 cultural exchange programmes with China under this Act. These programmes include the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the US-China Friendship Programme, the US-China Leadership Exchange Program, the US-China Transpacific Exchange Program and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Programme.

Key Features of the act

  • To increase the mutual understanding between the US and the people from other countries.
  • To strengthen the ties that unite the US and other nations in terms of education and cultural developments.
  • To promote international cooperation in educational and cultural advancement
  • To assist in the development of peaceful relations between US and other countries in the world.

Powers of the President

  • The Section 102 of the act authorises the president to take actions that will promote bilateralism. It authorises the president to take steps that would strengthen international cooperation. This includes providing grants, participation in international fairs and interchange of books, government publications, etc.
  • Section 103 of the act authorises the president to form international agreements to advance the purpose of the act.
  • Section 104 gives powers to the President to delegate his authorities as he determines to be appropriate.

The USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the Department of State are responsible for the US sponsored exchanges made under the act.

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

In India, the ICCR is responsible for cultural exchanges between India and other countries. It was established by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in 1950. It operates missions internationally through established cultural centres. The headquarters of ICCR is located in New Delhi. The council administers the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.

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