Public diplomacy spells the opportunity for the common people of two nations to get to know each other better and thus accomplish what cannot be achieved by official means alone. To assist such contacts, as well as to explain and support U.S. foreign policy and promote U.S. national interests, the U.S. Government has established a range of exchange, training and information programs. In Belarus and at U.S. Embassies throughout the world, these functions are performed by Public Affairs Sections (formerly USIS posts).
Academic, cultural, professional and citizen exchanges are among the most effective tools of public diplomacy. They seek to promote the free exchange of information and ideas, and to increase mutual understanding between the citizens of the United States and other countries. Exchange activities are conducted in cooperation with private sector organizations, foreign governments and community volunteers. In cooperation with Belarusian institutions, PAS Minsk has been bringing to Belarus U.S. representatives of fine and performing arts.
Being the public affairs arm of the U.S. Embassy, PAS issues press releases and arranges press events with Embassy officials or U.S. Government representatives visiting Belarus; a "virtual" press center has been set up on this site to be another source of information for local journalists and their colleagues from overseas. To better explain United States policies, PAS makes available official texts, transcripts and articles and holds U.S. Government public awareness campaigns, like the one on intellectual property rights. Check our Program Calendar for the list of our events.
The Embassy and its Public Affairs Section rely on a variety of media and methods to accomplish the public diplomacy mission. We widely distribute the Department of State's Electronic Journals. Together with specific bureaus of the Department of State, the Embassy Public Affairs Section works on bringing speakers to and arranging teleconferences with Belarusian audiences; we send Belarusian journalists on training programs and writing assignments in the U.S. We maintain a special public facility known as the Information Resource Center which is the major source of information on the United States for local public.
American Studies and English Teaching
The U.S. Government supports the formal study of the United States in academic institutions abroad through short-term exchange programs for foreign educators involved in teaching about American culture, society and institutions. For this purpose textbooks and classroom materials are developed; a number of universities throughout the world have been privileged to receive the American Studies Collection. We also provide support for American studies conferences abroad and the formation of local American Studies organizations.
Various activities promote the learning and teaching of English, including the development and distribution of specialized English teaching materials. Many of these materials are available in the IRC.