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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

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SEPTEMBER 2017

25

broadened the focus.

We worked collaboratively with the

Indian embassy and its New York consul-

ate to organize the three-day trip. One

event, where we shared the stage with

India’s deputy consul general, featured

150 community leaders, as well as New

Jersey officials, and was broadcast as a

multi-part series on the TV Asia network.

In New York, we visited the Indian con-

sulate, its mission to the United Nations

and the U.S.-India Business Council.

The trip was covered in four Indian-

American newspapers and was even

picked up by outlets in India. One

headline read, “U.S. Diplomats Surprise

Indian Americans with a Flourish of Flu-

ent Hindi.”

A Worthy Goal

Such domestic immersion trips are

outreach opportunities. Yet although FSI

conducts about 40 total domestic and

international trips a year, funding is often

in doubt and few engage diasporas in

a concerted way. (The Arabic-language

trip to Dearborn, Michigan, is a notable

exception.) Generally students are

focused on their language exam and have

little motivation or support to seek policy

benefits from the trips.

However, a little coordination with

Main State could go a long way. For

example, regional bureaus could join the

trips to discuss policy, Consular Affairs

could answer visa and passport questions

and Legislative Affairs could help with

congressional coordination. Beyond the

trips, diaspora groups could be invited to

visit language and area studies classes at

FSI. (Both of these can be done via DVC

when travel is not possible.) Finally, FSI

can work closely with regional bureaus to

ensure alignment with policy goals.

I am confident the benefits from this

type of outreach will justify the effort.

n