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  Daily Briefing  

April 12, 1999

Gore honors international exchange efforts

By Katy Saldarini

More than 60 federal agencies involved in international training and exchange programs are now working together to share resources, thanks to the work of an award-winning interagency group.

Vice President Gore recognized the Interagency Working Group on United States Government-Sponsored International Exchanges and Training (IAWG) with one of his Hammer awards this month for its efforts to eliminate duplication among the efforts of agencies and private-sector organizations involved in international training and exchanges.

IAWG, which is housed in the United States Information Agency, includes representatives from 28 agencies, including the departments of State, Defense, Education and Justice, and the Agency for International Development. The group was established in 1997 to act as a clearinghouse of information for the numerous agencies involved in international outreach and training.

"We try to identify duplication and overlap of activities by agencies," said Bill Kiehl, IAWG's staff director. "We get them to form a partnership or combine their resources to make sure [overlapping programs] are complimenting each other."

Before IAWG was founded, for example, some agencies were spending more than they needed to on medical insurance for international visitors. IAWG identified best practices in this area so agencies could learn from the success of their peers. IAWG also advises agencies on how to match programs with U.S. national interests overseas, and tries to expand public-private partnerships for international exchanges.

The group's 1997 annual report has an inventory of 200 different international programs run by 60 agencies. "There's never been a systematic way of collecting and sharing this information before," Kiehl said.

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