The current House of Representatives don’t hold with Amurkins knowin’ ’bout furriners, and seems determined to defund federal support for international studies in the US. The Neoconservative lobbyists have been gunning for these programs for years and want the money given to rightwing think tanks in Washington instead. And whereas in the old days, senatorial lions would roar back and protect this key resource, Sen. Reid & co. have folded on this one. This step represents a rollback of everything achieved since Sputnik reminded Americans that they are not the only game in town. The programs being cut are in Federal terms funded at the peanuts level and no real savings are had, but they leverage the big universities into being more supportive of less-taught languages, e.g. Please follow the instructions below if you care about America’s ability to understand the world and compete in it.
. . . tis the season of the budget in Congress, and this is an important one—as is NEH funding, which will be the subject of an additional appeal in the near future.
This is Title VI / Fulbright-Hays, an essential aspect of the infrastructure of research and education in areas beyond the boundaries of the United States. Many of you will be familiar with these programs. For those who are not, I can say with confidence that they are essential to our mission. The AHA Council has declared Title VI/Fulbright-Hays as one of the highest legislative priorities as we look at funding cuts in various sectors.
The U.S. Department of Education’s International Education and Foreign Language Studies (IEFLS) programs, including HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs, form the vital infrastructure of the federal government’s investment in the international service pipeline. The 14 IEFLS programs support comprehensive language and area study centers with the United States, research and curriculum development, opportunities for American scholars to study abroad, and activities to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in international service.
The Fulbright-Hays programs are of particular importance to historians because of the resources they provide for research and education relating to foreign languages and cultures. Funding opportunities include:
Short-term study and travel seminars abroad for U.S. educators in history and related disciplines for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries.
Grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in languages and area studies
Grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students who conduct research in other countries, in modern foreign languages and area studies for periods of six to 12 months.
Funding for the Department of Education’s Title VI/Fulbright-Hays International Education programs was cut $50 million (or 40%) from $126 million in FY 2010 to $76 million in FY 2011).
Congress did not complete work on the FY 2012 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Bill before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. A short-term Continuing Resolution for FY 2012 was enacted through November 18 at the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution levels, minus an additional 1.5% across-the-board cut.
In the Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of the FY 2012 Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill (S. 1599), all programs in the higher education account—including Title VI and Fulbright-Hays—are continued at the FY 2011 levels. Thus, a 40% decline from 2010 levels, which seriously threatens these crucial programs.
While the House Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Subcommittee has yet to take up its version of the bill, Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) has released a “draft” FY 2012 funding bill that eliminates funding Fulbright-Hays and the Title VI-C, Institute for International Public Policy. Title VI-A&B would be funded at the FY 2011 level.
If you are in the congressional district or state of the Members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees (see list below) call and urge their support for “holding the line” on funding, that is to say, no more cuts to Title VI/FH in FY 2012. Emphasize the impact of these programs in the Member’s district/state and on the national interest overall. We strongly encourage you to personalize this message. Working off the basic script below, tell Congress, in your own words, why one or more of the Title VI/Fulbright Hays programs are important to you (and/or your institution).
You can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your Representative or Senator’s office, or you can call directly. If you know the name of the staffer who works on appropriations policy, you can send an email or call and ask to leave a message for that person. If you don’t know the staffer’s name, phone the appropriate number below and ask if you can leave a voice mail message for the person who handles appropriations issues for the Member.
Time is of the essence. Congressional staffers are negotiating agreements on the Labor/HHS/Education FY 2012 appropriations bills now.
My name is _____ and I am calling from (place name in state). I want to urge Representative/Senator to oppose further cuts in Title VI international education programs.
Title VI higher education programs have already sustained a $50 million or 40% reduction in the FY 2011 Budget. Currently the differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY 2012 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill are being reconciled.
I urge you to consider the important federal role played by these international and foreign language education programs in supporting our nation’s long-term national security, global leadership and economic competitiveness capabilities. Successful U.S. engagement in these areas, at home or abroad, relies on Americans with global competence.
Instruction is provided in over 130 languages and 10 world areas, with emphasis on the less commonly-taught, strategic languages and areas of the world. Most of these languages would not be taught on a regular basis but for this support.
I strongly urge you to safeguard these programs from further reductions by providing no less than the FY 2011 level of $75.729 million provided in the Senate committee bill. This includes $66.712 million for the Higher Education Act, Title VI-A&B; $7.465 million for Fulbright-Hays 102(b)(6); and $1.552 million for the Title VI-C Institute for International Public Policy.
Thank you for your time.
American Historical Association
Truth in advertising: Juan Cole directs a Title VI National Resource Center at the University of Michigan.