The Department of State is pleased to announce that the transfer of funding to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) by the Libyan General People’s Committee for Education and Scientific Research has been finalized, allowing Libyan students on scholarships in the United States to continue their studies until the end of May 2012. Because of UN, EU, and U.S. sanctions on the Libyan government, this transfer required special authorizations from the United Nations and the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This funding will cover and tuition fees for the benefit of more than 1,900 Libyan scholars studying at educational institutions across the United States.
In addition, to ameliorate the hardship arising from the current crisis in Libya, the Department of State announced special relief for certain Libyan J-1 exchange visitors who have suffered severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Libya since February 2011. The Department has suspended until December 31, 2011 the application of certain conditions and requirements governing program status and employment for students from Libya whose means of financial support have been delayed or interrupted.
This provision, published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2011, allows Libyan students in the Exchange Visitor Program to pursue full- or part-time and on- or off-campus employment. Temporary suspension of these conditions allows for a reduction in course load that may be necessary for some students due to this employment.
All Libyans students studying in the United States should contact the Office of International Students at their university for more specific information about funding and employment authorizations. Additionally, the Department continues to work with Libyan students and their universities to search for solutions regarding the approximately 200 Libyan students who are privately funding their studies and have experienced difficulty in transferring personal funds from Libya to the United States to cover their expenses.
Text also available in Persian (Farsi) A video message is available here: http://video.state.gov/en/video/952172201001 I am very pleased to announce a big step forward in the Obama Administration’s support of the Iranian people. Under our old visa policy, Iranian students and exchange visitors were eligible for visas that lasted for only three months and could be used to enter the country just one time. As of today, that has changed. They are now eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas. This gives young Iranians the opportunity to return home for family events, to participate in internships, to travel outside the United States—and they won’t need to get a new visa every time. I’ve heard from many Iranian students and Iranian Americans that you wanted this change. So I want you to know that we are listening to your concerns. We want more dialogue and more exchange with those of you who are shaping Iran’s future. We want to be able to share with you what we think is great about America. Because as long as the Iranian government continues to stifle your potential, we will stand with you. We will support your aspirations, and your rights. And we will continue to look for new ways to fuel more opportunities for real change in Iran. Thank you.
[Also available in Persian]
As of May 20, 2011, qualified Iranian applicants for visas in the F, J, and M categories for non-sensitive, non-technical fields of study and research and their dependents will be eligible to receive two-year, multiple-entry visas. This is an increase in the current visa validity of three months, single entry.
This change will allow Iranian students and exchange visitors to travel more easily, furthering our goal of promoting the free flow of information and ideas. This important decision is being taken as the global community witnesses the Iranian Government’s increasing censorship and isolation of its own people.
Iranians currently in the United States on a three-month, single-entry visa in one of these categories must reapply outside the United States at a consular post in order to obtain two-year, multiple-entry visas. Keep in mind that the validity of a visa refers to the time period the visa holder has to enter the U.S. It has no bearing on the length of stay permitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the port of entry. Iranian students and exchange visitors in good standing in the United States do not need to apply for a new visa until after they depart the United States.
Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at Reception Hosted by New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray Stuart McCully
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to be here. This is both a great opportunity on behalf of my country and also a great personal pleasure, because when my husband and daughter came, had a memorable visit 10 years ago, I was running in the Senate and I could not leave my campaign. So I am delighted finally for myself to experience this wonderful, warm welcome. And I am honored to participate in a powhiri this afternoon. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I am delighted to have survived it. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank the foreign minister. He and I have been working together in many different settings, both in his trips to Washington and our visits at the United Nations, and it’s gratifying to see how much has been accomplished in a short period of time. I know that here in this audience are former prime ministers, current and former cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and many guests. And I thank you for everything you are doing to strengthen the relationship between the United States and New Zealand.
As Murray said, I am in the homestretch of a long trip to Asia because I believe strongly that the United States must have a presence in Asia, that our friends and our partners around the region must know that we’re ready to work with them on everything from climate change and security to disaster preparedness and response. Now, naturally, like any friends, we do not always see eye-to-eye on every issue. But our relationship today is stronger and more productive than it has been in 25 years. And I believe that we have an opportunity to broaden, deepen, and strengthen it even more.
When I look at everything we already are working on, from the magic of moviemaking to the high science of the Antarctica, we’re interacting at every level. Kiwi and American students are studying abroad on Fulbright scholarships and on other programs – exchanging ideas, learning about each other, strengthening personal and national ties. And I know there are students and alumni in some of these programs here tonight, and I am delighted to greet you. Kiwi and American soldiers are serving side-by-side in Afghanistan, helping the people of that country rebuild and defend itself after years of conflict.
Kiwi and American aid workers are teaming up to deliver support to the victims of natural disasters like the tsunami that devastated Samoa and American Samoa last year in very difficult circumstances. Indonesia is a growing case. Kiwi and American scientists are hard at work in the (inaudible) projects, studying samples of sediment and ice to understand how greenhouse gases may have effected glaciers in the past and giving us a glimpse of how climate change could affect us in the future.
Kiwi and American businesses exchange more than $5 billion a year in goods and services, from meat and wine and dairy to farm equipment and airplane parts, as well as, of course, of kiwi fruit. So the lessons of our relationship are very clear to me, and that is we need to do more together, particularly in this region. I think that there are opportunities for the United States and New Zealand to partner in working with many of our friends around the Pacific Island nations. We’re working, for example, to help empower women in places like Papua New Guinea, where I was last night. We are also committed to dealing with the real-life problems that plague too many people, from the lack of clean water and the lack of appropriate waste disposal to child and maternal mortality.
I am someone who believes strongly that if we do not empower half the population in some of these countries, that they cannot develop in a sustainable way. And I met yesterday night with a group of women from PNG, and because of that recognition and the awareness of it as well by the New Zealand Government, I’m very proud to announce that there will be a women’s empowerment initiative in the Pacific Region, which is a commitment in collaboration among New Zealand, the World Bank Group and the United States. Because we want to help people help themselves, and in order to do that, you’re going to have to work and divide into two roles and helping to change the mindsets that will create that kind of atmosphere.
We’re going to be identifying best principles. For example, New Zealand is doing good work bringing more women into the political process and want to (inaudible). There’s so much that I think we can do to fill in the blanks of the Wellington Declaration. It’s really a framework as to how we can take our relationship to the next level. I’m very excited about it. I appreciate the support that we have received for working hard on our relationship, on a process – political spectrum here in New Zealand as well as the civil society and the private sector.
I guess on a personal note, I was very struck by how warm and friendly people were on a windy Wellington morning when I ventured out and took a long walk. I mean, I don’t know if I saw one – I probably saw 25 signs welcoming me to the best little capital in the world. (Laughter.) And certainly, you have made a believer out of me. Tomorrow, I’m going to Christchurch where we will be doing some work on our mutual efforts in Antarctica and on disaster response, and in particular, with respect to the recent earthquake there.
So although this is my first visit, I’m hoping it will not be my last visit. I can’t find too many excuses to come too often or I’m afraid that Congress might get a little bit suspicious and “Why are you spending more time in New Zealand than in Afghanistan?” (Laughter.) But I leave tonight with very warm feelings about all that is possible in this relationship and a very personal commitment to pursue it in every way that I can.
So again, thank you all very much. (Applause.)