there was this neat program to send 15 artists on 45-day residencies around the world, in an attempt to use cultural diplomacy to solve the world’s problems.
i thought perhaps the program would be short lived. one of those compromises on spending that happened this year.
But after striking a deficit-cutting deal with Congress designed to save $917 billion (669 billion euros) in total, Obama has already seen $8 billion cut from his proposed $55.1 billion budget for the State Department and economic and humanitarian assistance agency USAID this year.
Some officials suggest that the State Department and USAID could see operating budgets cut by as much as 35 percent.
Supporters of the cuts say that the US has for too long measured its foreign policy successes by the size of the check it has written and that it’s time prioritize with more cost-effective models which have a quick impact while furthering US national security.
The massive cuts could have a crippling effect on “smart power” initiatives such as the Economic Support Fund, which helps stabilize fragile foreign governments, the “Feed the Future” program – Obama’s initiative for fighting global hunger, and US contributions to the United Nations and international organizations which could compromise UN peacekeeping missions and the operations of the World Food Program.
but the smartpower program doesn’t say anything about it on their website.
i got my rejection letter in mid-may, but there’s been nothing at all about it since.
the state department’s department of education and cultural affairs have the smartpower program, but they just refer you to the bronx museum, which administers the program, and their page hasn’t changed since the application closed in february.
i’ve got an email in to the administrator of the program; i’ll update this post if i hear back.
and i did hear back, right away, and was assured that they’ll be releasing an announcement around the end of october. it’ll be good to know what’s going on.