Cultural Affairs Office

The Cultural Affairs Office is part of the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section and is responsible for promoting cultural and educational ties between the United States of America and Uruguay in order to foster a better understanding of the American society and culture among Uruguayans. This is achieved through a wide range of programs that include exchanges, speaker programs, and several education programs targeted at youth among others.

The Cultural Affairs Office main activities are:

  • Cultural programs
  • Education programs

Cultural Programs

In order to promote bilateral understanding between Uruguay and the United States, the Cultural Affairs Office seeks to show U.S. culture in its different forms. This is done by organizing artistic presentations, hosting American athletes, and co-sponsoring local events that include U.S. artists and/or their work.

The Cultural Affairs Office supports a variety of cultural exchange programs that foster America’s artistic excellence and promote mutual understanding, encourage cross-cultural understanding and collaboration by sharing the rich artistic traditions of the United States with the Uruguayan community. American arts and culture reflect the nation’s democratic principles, showcase the diversity of the society, and provide an excellent vehicle to engage and connect with audiences abroad. The office’s activities encompass programs in the visual arts, performing arts, film, arts education, arts management, sports programming, and cultural studies. Such programs include public exhibitions and public performances, screenings, master classes, production workshops, sports clinics, and any of the broad range of arts activities that support the arts and culture. Some programs are supported through grants to U.S. non-profit arts and educational institutions as well as grants to local cultural institutions. American participants in these programs are professional artists, filmmakers, musicians, educators, athletes, among others. Our cultural exchanges seek to empower, educate, and engage foreign audiences and American participants to foster a sense of common interests and common values and offer people throughout the world a positive vision of hope and opportunity that is rooted in America’s belief in freedom, justice, opportunity and respect for all.

In addition, the Cultural Section sponsors presentations from the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra by bringing U.S. Conductors or supporting U.S. presentations. Support to the Binational Center Theater for plays from U.S. authors is part of our regular program as well.

The Cultural Affairs Office organizes several exhibits yearly in the Embassy featuring local artists. These exhibits offer Embassy staff and visitors the possibility to enjoy original art by Uruguayan artists through monthly exhibitions held in the lobby of the Embassy.

Cultural and Educational Grants

Through a small-grants program, the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Montevideo provides support for projects proposed by Uruguayan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Uruguayan cultural/artistic/educational organizations that aim to promote understanding of the U.S. and foster exchange between the United States and Uruguay.

For more information, please see: Cultural and Educational Grants.

Exchange Programs

International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)
The International Visitor Leadership Program brings participants from Uruguay to the United States each year to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience the United States firsthand. The visitors, who are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, and other fields, are invited to participate by members of the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay. Many Uruguayans including current and former Heads of State, cabinet-level ministers, and many other distinguished leaders in government and the private sector have participated in the International Visitor Program.

Voluntary Visitor Program
The Voluntary Visitor Program gives individuals the opportunity to meet and confer with their professional counterparts throughout the U.S. in order to obtain a broader view of American culture, society and politics. These programs are “tailored” to the needs of the participants.

Speakers and Specialists
U.S. Speaker and Specialist programs provide opportunities for U.S. experts to visit Uruguay to share U.S. experiences of professional importance and relevance with their Uruguayan counterparts, and allow an exchange of viewpoints on subjects of common interest.

Since the U.S. Speaker participants hail from a wide variety of private and public institutions, including universities, think-tanks, NGOs, state and federal government offices, their views and analysis may reflect U.S. government policies or views of their own.

In all cases, Speakers and Specialist programs are proposed, planned and organized by the Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Office. Most of the programs, however, are co-organized and co-sponsored by Uruguayan academic, public and private sector institutions.

In 2010, our speakers included incoming American Bar Association President Stephen Zack, Author John Katzenbach, NGO Management Specialist Dawn Crosby, and San Francisco City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Educational Programs & English Teaching

The U.S. Embassy in Montevideo manages a wide variety of educational programs and exchanges that aim at fostering better understanding and building strong relationships among people of our two countries.

U.S. Embassy Montevideo directly touches hundreds of Uruguayans each year with educational programs and exchanges as well as opportunities to study English, travel to the U.S., and study and work with U.S. institutions and universities.

We work closely with Uruguayan institutions in organizing a variety of activities which promote personal, professional, and institutional ties between private citizens and organizations and universities in the United States and Uruguay and also in presenting U.S. history, society, art and culture in all of its diversity to Uruguayan audiences. These activities include lectures, seminars, workshops, camps and performances by U.S. specialists, academics and researchers in Uruguay, as well as the visit of Uruguayan professionals to the U.S.

The Public Affairs Section also supports the Uruguayan national English authorities and local universities in their efforts to enhance and advance English Teaching, as well as Uruguayan participation in other educational programs such as DESEM-Junior Achievement, Intel and NASA International Fairs and Contests, and other programs that engage youth.

The Educational programs can be classified in three categories:

  1. Education Programs for Youth
  2. Education Programs for Scholars
  3. English Teaching

1. Education Programs for Youth

The Cultural Section administers several academic exchange programs targeted to youth, such as the following:

SUSI for Student Leaders
Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders are four-to-six week academic programs for small groups of foreign undergraduate student leaders.  Hosted by academic institutions throughout the United States, the Student Leader Institutes include an intensive academic component, an educational study tour to other regions of the country, local community service activities, and a unique opportunity to get to know American peers.  Designed to promote a better understanding of the United States among the next generation of world leaders, the Student Leader Institutes examine topics such as principles of U.S. democracy, the U.S. political system, the role of civil society, and the media.

Youth Ambassador Program
The Youth Ambassadors Program enables Uruguayan secondary-public school students to visit the United States to help broaden their knowledge of U.S. culture, society and education. The program fosters understanding among the participants and U.S audiences to promote increased mutual understanding among peoples of the Americas.  Selected students should have good academic grades, a good level of English language skills and be able to demonstrate very good leadership skills through community service involvement or extra academic activities. During this exchange program, participants visit Washington, DC and other U.S. states during three weeks, and have the chance to increase their knowledge of U.S. culture, improve their English language skills, live with an American host family, exchange views with their U.S. counterparts and serve as “ambassadors” for Uruguay.  This program is managed by Partners of the Americas in the U.S., and Cultural Section works closely with this organization in the selection of the most qualified students and escorts.

2. Education Programs for Scholars

SUSI for Scholars (Study of the U.S. Institute)

Scholar Institutes are designed to strengthen curricula and improve the quality of teaching about the United States overseas.  These institutes host multinational groups of university faculty. Each institute is thematically focused on a field or topic of U.S. studies. Participants interact with American scholars, meet with experts in their disciplines, visit civic institutions, and explore the diversity and culture of the United States. The following are the six institute programs offered:

  1. U.S. Culture and Society
  2. American Politics and Political Thought
  3. Contemporary American Literature
  4. U.S. Foreign Policy
  5. Journalism and Media
  6. Religious Pluralism in the U.S.

SUSI for Secondary Educators

The Institute for Secondary School Educators provides two multinational groups of 30 experienced and highly-motivated secondary school educators (teachers, teacher trainers, textbook writers, curriculum developers, and education ministry officials) with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present. The institute is organized around a central theme or themes in U.S. civilization and has a strong contemporary component. Through a combination of traditional, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, institute content is imaginatively integrated in order to elucidate the history and evolution of U.S. institutions and values, including illuminating contemporary political, social, and economic debates in American society.

3. English Teaching

English Access Micro Scholarship Program
The U.S. State Department’s English Access Microscholarship Program provides a foundation of English language skills to 14 – 18 year old students worldwide through afterschool classes and intensive summer learning activities. Access students gain an appreciation for American culture and democratic values, increase their ability to participate successfully in the socio-economic development of their countries, and gain the ability to compete for and participate in future U.S. exchange and study programs.  The Access program is sponsored by the Department of State and administered in Uruguay by the Binational Center Alianza Cultural Uruguay-E.E.U.U.  The selection process is managed by the U.S. Embassy and the Binational Center with the support of the English Inspection of Secondary Education and UTU.  In 2010, we provided 340 scholarships for English language instruction and cultural immersion through this program.  CUTCSA, the largest bus company, is supporting the Access Program by providing bus tickets for the students in Montevideo.

E-Teacher Program
The E-Teacher Scholarship Program offers English teaching professionals living outside of the United States the opportunity to take seven innovative, online, graduate level classes through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Oregon. The courses explore major areas of the academic specialty of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

The courses introduce the most recent English language teaching methods and techniques, offer the opportunity to engage in an innovative distance-learning program that employs the latest in modern technology, and provide direct access to U.S. experts with whom participants might not normally have the opportunity to interact.

All participants must be nominated through U.S. Embassies.

  • Building Teaching Skills through the Interactive Web
  • Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)
  • Critical Thinking in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Curriculum
  • English as a Foreign Language Assessment
  • English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Best Practices
  • Methods Course I: Survey of Best Practices in TESOL
  • Methods Course II: Developing EFL Literacy through Project-Based Learning

English Language Specialist Program
The Department of State’s English Language Specialist Program recruits U.S. academics and professionals in the fields of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) to conduct two-week programs overseas. English Language Specialist assignments may include teacher training, curriculum and textbook development or host institution program evaluation.

Requests for specialists should be made through the U.S. Embassy.

English Language Fellow Program
Through the English Language  Fellow Program (EL Fellow), highly qualified U.S. educators in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) participate in 10-month-long fellowships at academic institutions throughout the world.

The EL Fellow Program fosters mutual understanding, promotes English language learning, and enhances English teaching capacity abroad. Through projects sponsored by U.S. embassies, EL Fellows share their professional expertise, hone their skills, gain international experience and learn about other cultures.  EL Fellows model and demonstrate TESOL classroom practices that help foster thoughtful and responsible behavior in students and teachers of English.

More than 1,000 EL Fellows have conducted projects in more than 80 countries. Examples of past EL Fellow projects include: Classroom Teaching, Teacher Training, In-Service and Pre-Service Training, Curriculum Development, Workshop and Seminar Design, Program Evaluation, Needs Assessment, Testing, and English for Specific Purposes (ESP).

FORUM Magazine
English Teaching Forum is a quarterly journal published by the U.S. Department of State for teachers of English as a foreign or second language. Over 82,000 copies of the magazine are distributed in more than 125 countries. Most of the authors published in English Teaching Forum are classroom teachers.

If you are interested in submissions please contact the U.S. Embassy.

For more information and other programs, please visit the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website.

State Alumni

State Alumni is a dynamic and interactive global community for all past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.

If you are a State Alumni, stay connected with your exchange experience, and explore the various opportunities available.  Find fellow alumni in your country and all regions of the world. Share your ideas, learn from your fellow alumni and find out about alumni activities being implemented in communities the world over.  Focus on your professional development by searching for job and grant opportunities, and post your résumé or academic articles.  Prepare your research through State Alumni’s Online Resource Center, and access over 20,000 U.S. and international periodicals, newspapers, and more!

To contact the Uruguayan State Alumni Coordinator:

For more information on State Alumni please visit the State Alumni website.

Affiliated Institutions

Fulbright Commission
In addition to the Speakers and Specialists programs, the Public Affairs Office interacts with Uruguay’s public and private universities through the Fulbright Commission program.  The Fulbright Commission in Uruguay administers a wide variety of academic programs that enable Uruguayan students and professors to study in the United States and also U.S. students and academics to study and research in Uruguay.  The Commission also provides counseling services for those interested in studying in the United States.

Binational Center – Alianza Cultural Uruguay-Estados Unidos
The Cultural Affairs Office is a major sponsor of the Binational Center cultural and educational activities. The Binational Center, Alianza Cultural Uruguay-Estados Unidos, runs a very ambitious cultural program hosting an year-round theater season, regular art exhibits as well as concerts and dance performances and a very well known English teaching program including the Frank and Cathy Baxter Science Corner.