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,"