Text: S.2505 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (05/13/2002)

 
[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 2505 Introduced in Senate (IS)]







107th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2505

     To promote the national security of the United States through 
 international educational and cultural exchange programs between the 
      United States and the Islamic world, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                 May 10 (legislative day, May 9, 2002)

 Mr. Kennedy (for himself, Mr. Lugar, Mr. Chafee, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Dodd, 
    Mr. Hagel, Mr. Smith of Oregon, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Brownback, Mr. 
Jeffords, Mr. Durbin, and Mr. Feingold) introduced the following bill; 
which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To promote the national security of the United States through 
 international educational and cultural exchange programs between the 
      United States and the Islamic world, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Cultural Bridges Act of 2002''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Educating international students is an important way to 
        impart cross-cultural understanding and create goodwill for the 
        United States throughout the world.
            (2) Students from the Islamic world are significantly 
        underrepresented among the approximately 500,000 international 
        students who study in the United States annually.
            (3) The volume of professional and cultural exchanges 
        between the United States and the Islamic world is extremely 
        low compared to other regions, and these exchanges have proven 
        extremely effective worldwide in building productive people-to-
        people ties.
            (4) The federally-funded Future Leaders Exchange Program 
        for high school students from the former Soviet Union, 
        administered by the Department of State, has demonstrated the 
        positive impact of reaching out to international students at 
        the secondary school level, introducing them to American 
        culture, and strengthening their commitment to democratic 
        values and ideals.
            (5) A critical element in the war against terrorism will be 
        increasing mutual understanding and respect between the peoples 
        of the United States and peoples around the world, particularly 
        those of the Islamic faith.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
        ``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee on 
        Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
        Senate and the Committee on International Relations and the 
        Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
            (2) From the islamic world.--The term ``from the Islamic 
        world'', when used with respect to a person, means that the 
        person is a national of a country in the Islamic world or has 
        as the person's residence or place of birth the West Bank or 
        Gaza.
            (3) Islamic world.--The term ``Islamic world'' means--
                    (A) the member countries of the Organization of the 
                Islamic Conference and does not include any country 
                having observer status in the Organization; and
                    (B) the areas consisting of the West Bank and Gaza.
            (4) Secondary school.--The term ``secondary school'' means 
        a school that serves students in any of the grades 9 through 12 
        or equivalent grades in a foreign education system, as 
        determined by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary 
        of Education.
            (5) Secretary.--Except as otherwise provided, the term 
        ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of State.
            (6) United states sponsoring organization.--The term 
        ``United States sponsoring organization'' means a 
        nongovernmental organization having United States citizenship 
        that is designated by the Secretary to carry out the program 
        authorized under section 5(a).

SEC. 4. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to promote the national security of the 
United States through international educational and cultural exchange 
programs between the United States and the Islamic world that would--
            (1) afford additional opportunities for eligible 
        participants from the Islamic world to study in the United 
        States;
            (2) foster mutual respect for American and Islamic values 
        and culture through people-to-people contacts; and
            (3) build bridges to a more peaceful world through programs 
        aimed at enhancing mutual understanding.

SEC. 5. NEW EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS FROM 
              THE ISLAMIC WORLD.

    (a) In General.--To carry out the purpose of section 4, and to 
redress the underrepresentation in United States international exchange 
visitor programs of persons from the Islamic world, the Secretary, 
acting under the authority, direction, and control of the President, is 
authorized to establish an international exchange visitor program under 
which eligible secondary school students from the Islamic world would--
            (1) attend a public secondary school in the United States;
            (2) live with an American host family and experience life 
        in a United States host community; and
            (3) participate in activities designed to promote a greater 
        understanding of American and Islamic values and culture.
    (b) Implementation.--The Secretary shall utilize the authorities of 
the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 to carry out 
the program authorized by subsection (a) by grant, contract, or 
otherwise with United States sponsoring organizations.
    (c) Eligibility Criteria.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2) and 
        section 7, a foreign student is eligible for participation in 
the program authorized by subsection (a), if the student--
                    (A) is from the Islamic world;
                    (B) is at least 15 years of age but not more than 
                18 and 6 months years of age at the time of initial 
                school enrollment;
                    (C) is enrolled in secondary school in the 
                student's country of nationality or in the West Bank or 
                Gaza;
                    (D) has completed not more than 11 years of primary 
                and secondary education, exclusive of kindergarten;
                    (E) demonstrates maturity, good character, and 
                scholastic aptitude; and
                    (F) has not previously participated in an academic 
                year or semester secondary school student exchange 
                program in the United States.
            (2) Exception.--An alien is not eligible for participation 
        in the program authorized by subsection (a) if the alien is 
        otherwise inadmissible to the United States under section 
        212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1182(a)).
    (d) Program Requirements.--The program authorized by subsection (a) 
shall satisfy the following requirements:
            (1) Recruitment and selection.--Each United States 
        sponsoring organization shall recruit and select eligible 
        secondary school students on a competitive basis under 
        guidelines developed by the Secretary and in a manner that 
        ensures geographic, gender, and socio-economic diversity.
            (2) English language proficiency.--The Secretary or the 
        United States sponsoring organization shall establish the 
        English language proficiency of eligible secondary school 
        students through standardized testing. For selected secondary 
        school students found in need of additional English language 
        training, the Secretary shall provide for not to exceed three 
        months of such training, depending on the need of the student, 
        prior to the commencement of the student's course of academic 
        study in the United States.
            (3) Preference for full academic year of study.--The 
        program shall emphasize educational exchanges consisting of a 
        full academic year of study.
            (4) Compliance with ``j'' visa requirements.--Participants 
        in the program shall satisfy all requirements applicable to the 
        admission of nonimmigrant aliens described in section 
        101(a)(15)(J) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1101(a)(15)(J)). The program shall be considered a designated 
        exchange visitor program for purposes of the application of 
        section 641 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant 
        Responsibility Act of 1996.
            (5) Regular reporting to the secretary.--Each United States 
        sponsoring organization shall report regularly to the Secretary 
        the information that the organization has obtained during 
        regular contacts with the sponsored student, the host family, 
        and the host secondary school.

SEC. 6. AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH NEW EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE 
              PROGRAMS AND EXPAND EXISTING PROGRAMS.

    Under the authority, direction, and control of the President, the 
Secretary is authorized to use the authorities of the Mutual 
Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 to establish new programs 
under that Act, and expand the coverage of existing programs under that 
Act, to increase the number of educational and cultural exchange 
activities involving persons from the Islamic world, except as provided 
in section 7.

SEC. 7. EXCEPTION FOR ISLAMIC WORLD COUNTRIES COVERED BY THE FREEDOM 
              SUPPORT ACT.

    An individual who is a national of any of the following countries 
shall not be eligible for participation in any new program authorized 
under section 5 or 6 or for participation in an existing program 
expanded under the authority of section 6: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, 
Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

SEC. 8. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) Initial Report.--Not later than 3 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate 
congressional committees a report setting forth the plans to implement 
this Act. The report shall include--
            (1) with respect to the program authorized by section 
        5(a)--
                    (A) a plan indicating priority countries and areas 
                in the Islamic world for participation in the program;
                    (B) an estimate of the number of participating 
                students from each country or area;
                    (C) an identification of United States sponsoring 
                organizations; and
                    (D) a schedule for implementation of the program; 
                and
            (2) with respect to fiscal year 2003, an allocation of 
        funds by country or area in the Islamic world for the program 
        authorized by section 5(a), and by program and country or area 
        in the Islamic world for the exercise of authority under 
        section 6.
    (b) Annual Report.--Not later than January 31 of each year, the 
President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a 
report on the progress and effectiveness of activities carried out 
under this Act.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATIONS OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) New Program Funding.--
            (1) In general.--In addition to funds otherwise available 
        for such purpose, there is authorized to be appropriated for 
        the Department of State $20,000,000 for each of the fiscal 
        years 2003 through 2007 to carry out the program authorized by 
        section 5(a).
            (2) Availability of appropriations.--Amounts appropriated 
        pursuant to paragraph (1) are authorized to remain available 
        until expended.
    (b) Funding of Expansion of Existing Programs.--
            (1) In general.--In addition to funds otherwise available 
        for such purpose, there is authorized to be appropriated for 
        the Department of State $75,000,000 for each of the fiscal 
        years 2003 through 2007 to carry out any new international 
        educational or cultural exchange programs under section 6 or 
        the expansion under section 6 of any existing such programs.
            (2) Availability of appropriations.--Amounts appropriated 
        pursuant to paragraph (1) are authorized to remain available 
        until expended.
    (c) Limitations.--
            (1) Single country limitation.--Of the amount authorized to 
        be appropriated by subsection (a), and of the amount authorized 
        to be appropriated by subsection (b), not more than 10 percent 
        of each such amount is authorized to be available for any 
        single country.
            (2) Single program limitation.--Of the amount authorized to 
        be appropriated by subsection (b), not more than 25 percent is 
        authorized to be available to carry out, or expand, any single 
        international educational or cultural exchange program.
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