The University of Florida's Political Science Department hosts the Study of the United States Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy.

The University of Florida's Political Science Department hosts the Study of the United States Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy.

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State Department Gives UF Grant to Explore U.S. Foreign Policy

Eighteen academics from around the world are coming to the University of Florida to better understand and appreciate the intricacies of U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S. Department of State has renewed the UF political science department's grant of nearly $290,000 to conduct the 2009 Study of the United States Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy.

The institute starts Monday and will end July 17. Its theme — "Domestic Sources of U.S. Foreign Policy: Beyond the Beltway, Beyond CNN" — will be studied during the four-week academic residency in Gainesville and two weeks of study tours to Miami, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The program also includes day trips to Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee and St. Augustine.

More than 30 experts in international affairs and U.S. politics will teach at the institute, including many from political science and other departments. Political science professors Ido Oren and Aida Hozic are the institute's co-directors.

"The idea is to expose them to American society in order to improve their understanding of U.S. policy," Oren said. "This will help them improve their curriculum and course offerings."

A few of the countries represented include Nigeria, Mongolia, Cameroon, Venezuela and Turkey, and no two people are from the same country. The participants were selected for the program by the Department of State. All teach in their home country and are required to have a working knowledge of English.

The institute offers opportunities that some would not have in their home countries, including extensive access to research or library resources, but Oren said that the spirit of academic cooperation among the participants ensures that the faculty learns as much as they teach.

"How many opportunities does one have to spend an extended amount of time with such an extraordinarily diverse group of people?" he said.

The program has lasting effects for its teaching staff, participants and the students they teach, according to Oren. People from last year's inaugural program are still in e-mail contact, interacting on a social and professional level. Their connections improve not only their ongoing international understanding and appreciation but their academic research as well.

About 30,000 people participate annually in exchanges managed by the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Study of the U.S. Branch every year. Other programs include the Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program. The Bureau seeks to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a range of academic and professional exchanges.



Katie Privett


Ido Oren,, 352-273-2393

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