10 FAM 380
(Office of Origin: IIP)
10 FAM 381 PURPOSES
American Spaces are U.S. State Department operated or supported public diplomacy facilities, providing digitally enhanced physical platforms for effective engagement with foreign audiences in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives.
10 FAM 382 PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
a. American Spaces provide public diplomacy programming designed to attract and engage targeted foreign audiences in open, participatory dialogue and hands-on activities. They are designed, configured, and equipped to promote critical thinking, innovation, and thoughtful discussions of issues important to the U.S. relationship with the host country and U.S. global interests. American Spaces programming showcases the breadth and depth of American values, ideals, culture, and perspectives on a variety of themes.
b. American Spaces programming focuses on five core programs:
(1) English language learning and teacher training;
(2) Educational advising and promoting study in the United States;
(3) Alumni networking, projects, and activities;
(4) Cultural and outreach programs; and
(5) Information about the United States.
c. While American Spaces are either directly operated by the Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) at post, or guided via partnership agreements, their programming engages a “whole-of-mission approach” supported by other sections of the embassy or consulate. Programming by the ambassador, the consular, political and economic sections, USAID, the foreign commercial service, etc., can include U.S. speaker programs; panel discussions; trade exhibitions; conferences; film screenings; entrepreneurship training; election programming; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) activities; and other programming supporting mission objectives.
10 FAM 383 SCOPE
a. Policies, guidance, training, evaluation, funding support, and programmatic content about the United States are provided by the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) in collaboration with other functional bureaus, regional bureaus, U.S. government (USG) foreign affairs agencies, and posts. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), in collaboration with partners and posts, has lead responsibility for four of the five core programs through their various offices, including English language learning, educational advising, alumni networking, and cultural outreach (see 10 FAM 200 for a full description of ECA programs).
b. American Spaces comprise facilities that are leased, owned, or operated by the U.S. Government (USG), and those that are hosted and operated by partner institutions. The policies and procedures listed herein delineate the responsibilities of IIP in supporting both USG leased, owned, and/or operated American Spaces (typically known as American Centers), and American Spaces located in the facilities of, and operated by, institutional partners (often referred to as American Corners and binational centers). Both types of American Spaces are part of embassy and consulate public diplomacy efforts to engage foreign audiences.
c. This section also defines the responsibilities of regional public engagement specialists referred to as REPS working with public affairs officers (PAO) at post in the management of American Spaces.
10 FAM 384 STRATEGIC APPROACH TO AMERICAN SPACES
a. The Department of State's public diplomacy strategic framework calls for the revitalization and establishment of “public diplomacy platforms and venues for direct engagement with foreign audiences to present a new face to foreign publics beyond fortified compounds as symbols of our desire to engage.” American Spaces support the strategic imperative for 21st century public diplomacy to build mutual trust and respect through expanded public diplomacy platforms.
b. IIP has lead responsibility for American Spaces strategic planning and program execution. IIP coordinates with other Department bureaus (R/PPR, regional PD offices, ECA, OBO, DS, A/OPE, among others) as appropriate to ensure that the interests of public diplomacy stakeholders are met.
c. In order to manage resources effectively, IIP consults with regional bureaus to prioritize certain American Spaces for development and program support. The prioritization process is based on the strategic importance of an “in-person” public engagement platform to conduct public diplomacy and advance U.S. foreign policy objectives in specific locations and with priority audiences. Prioritization designations, policies, and metrics are jointly reviewed by IIP and regional bureaus biannually.
d. Strong digital and interactive engagement with foreign audiences as well as data-driven programming to capture the interests, trends, and relationships with visitors and regular members are fundamental to the success of modern American Spaces as public diplomacy tools. Data analysis is effectively used to shape and direct programming to ensure that USG foreign policy messaging and programming remain relevant to foreign audiences.
e. Modern American Spaces represent less of a traditional library model and strive to be more dynamic, outreach-oriented, audience-focused, and distinctly American engagement platforms. Drawing on models of modern community and cultural centers in the United States, American Spaces offer posts strategic venues for dialogue and public diplomacy programming to advance USG foreign policy objectives.
f. American Spaces audiences typically include university students, young professionals and other emerging voices and leaders in the host country society, civil society organizations, and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), intellectuals, think tanks, public opinion leaders, and the media, as well as host-country local, regional, and national government officials. In addition to these traditional, establishment audiences, American Spaces should engage with underserved youth, indigenous groups, LBGTQI communities, and other marginalized sectors of the population with the goal of fostering democratic principles of open and inclusive societies.
10 FAM 385 OPEN ACCESS PRINCIPLES
a. In order to provide an environment conducive to dialogue and positive engagement with foreign audiences, American Spaces require open, unrestricted access to the physical and digital space where public diplomacy takes place. In coordination with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), IIP has identified five Open Access Principles (OAP) within the confines of extant security regulations and standards to guide the operation of American Spaces.
b. The open access principles include:
(1) Open public access: During regularly established hours for the American space, post should allow visitors to enter the public area of the facility upon arrival. No prior appointment should be necessary, and no prior security access request should be required. Posts should consider whether visitors should be issued a badge based on compound physical security measures in place.
(2) Unescorted access: After passing security screening, visitors should be allowed to proceed to the American space unescorted if under continuous observation by authorized, post personnel. Local guard force (LGF) personnel may not be utilized for visitor escort purposes.
(3) Separate security screening: At posts with high volumes of visitors, separate security screening (such as those used for visitors to consular operations) should be provided for American Spaces visitors, if feasible.
(4) Personal electronic devices allowed: Visitors to the American space should be allowed to bring their own personal electronic devices and be able to use them in the public area, as long as they are consistent with technical security standards and post access policies.
(5) Wireless internet access: American Spaces visitors need to be able to connect their own personal electronic devices (laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc.) to a network in the space using wi-Fi, and the network needs to provide the best-available bandwidth. All wi-Fi installation and usage must comply with Department wi-Fi policies.
c. Risk-managed security: Security standards, such as those approved by the Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB), supersede the OAP. DS applies security standards, such as those approved by the OSPB, which may preclude full implementation of OAPs, depending on the security environment DS determines for each specific American space location. The OAPs should therefore be viewed as the desired and preferable condition for USG owned/leased American Spaces, with applicable security standards as the default position. Where implementing OAPs will require exceptions to security standards, OAP implementation should be discussed by post’s PAO and the regional security officer (RSO), and requested formally by post for DS approval (12 FAH-5 H-200 Exception Requests). In consultation with the post Emergency Action Committee (EAC) and RSOs, REPS and PAOs overseeing USG owned/leased American Spaces must develop a risk management formula that welcomes visitors and balances security needs with open access
d. For USG American Spaces located on embassy or chancery compounds, posts, IIP, regional bureaus, OBO, DS, IRM, and other functional bureaus should work together to find solutions to balance security needs with open access principles.
e. For off-compound USG American Spaces, physical security requirements and security procedures for open public access will be coordinated with landlords and the RSO. Access to the internet and permission for visitors to enter with personal electronic devices will be administered by the PDS in cooperation with the RSO and information resource manager.
f. For non-USG American Spaces located in partner institutions, the PDS should work with partners to facilitate the OAP, and request assistance for security assessments from RSOs when needed. Technical assistance for internet connectivity and related equipment should be contracted out to third parties.
10 FAM 386 RESPONSIBILITY
a. IIP has the lead responsibility for developing and applying the Under Secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs’ strategic approach to American Spaces as well as managing the REPS corps.
b. Funding: IIP resources will be dedicated to maintaining the highest possible capability and effectiveness of American Spaces, according to established priorities. From upgrading facilities to improving foreign policy-driven programming, IIP funding is used to ensure that American Spaces reflect the best that the United States can offer to foreign audiences. IIP funding for American Spaces will supplement funding from posts, regional bureaus, and other sources in a collaborative, integrated approach to ensure maximum public engagement effectiveness.
c. Training: High-performing American Spaces require well-informed and trained staff and partners to effectively serve the public diplomacy goals of the mission. IIP is responsible for providing training and other program support in cooperation with the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and other approved training organizations, to ensure American Spaces engage foreign target audiences with the latest in programming, innovation, and technology developed for each audience.
d. IIP has the responsibility to:
(1) Develop annual priorities for the American Spaces program in consultation with regional PD offices, and communicate those priorities throughout the Department;
(2) In coordination with OBO and CGFS, prepare an annual American Spaces strategic facilities plan and budget for USG-owned, leased, and operated American Spaces for approval by R;
(3) Develop physical spaces to have the appearance, technology, programming, and staffing for effective, policy-relevant programming;
(4) Manage acquisitions, deployment, training, licensing, and evaluation/ measurement for commercial databases and information products for use by American Spaces staff;
(5) Facilitate access to materials that support programming in American Spaces;
(6) Devise standard performance measures to guide resource allocation decisions;
(7) Encourage the adoption or expansion of partnership models for cost-sharing;
(8) Identify ineffective American Spaces and recommend their closure to the appropriate regional PD office;
(9) Provide guidance on enhancing the American ambience and digital outreach of American Spaces;
(10) Provide annual guidance for American Spaces on fee recycling, as described in 22 U.S.C. 1475e and 10 FAM 387.5;
(11) Develop the standards and application through which to evaluate requests for new American Spaces and funding, please see cable 19 STATE 29128 for more information . Applications not approved by IIP/PL/AS are ineligible for annual American Spaces Support Funds and staff are not eligible for IIP-funded American Spaces training. However, Posts that open unofficial American Spaces (often called American Shelves), can still benefit by consulting the programming, management and design guidance created by IIP/PL/AS and available through https://americanspaces.state.gov/. REPS may provide support to unofficial American Spaces but have limited capacity to do so;
(12)Coordinate with OBO on funding needs for construction of new and renovation projects at USG-owned or leased American Centers;
(13) Coordinate with posts, regional bureaus, and A/OPE to determine the best procedures for funding and executing construction projects and programming through grants, cooperative agreements, and contract procurements; and
(14) Work with other USG offices and external partners such as corporations, academia, and NGOs to expand offerings and increase the impact and sustainability of American Spaces.
10 FAM 387 ADMINISTRATIONS OF AMERICAN SPACES
10 FAM 387.1 Categories
a. American Spaces can be categorized according to criteria of ownership, location, level of access to the public, and relationship to the U.S. Government. All American Spaces must provide people-to-people interactions and unfettered access to uncensored information about the United States.
b. American Spaces owned, leased, and operated by the USG are defined as American Centers. These are differentiated by their location on and off embassy or consulate compounds, and their level of public access.
c. American Spaces owned and managed by local host institutions are classified according to the relationship between post and the partner:
(1) American Corners are partnerships with host-country institutions governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the embassy or consulate.
(2) Binational centers (BNCs) are private, autonomous, non-profit institutions dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between the host country and the United States through educational, cultural, and informational programs.
(3) Hybrid spaces include aspects of both USG-owned and partner spaces in facilities and staffing.
(4) Moveable spaces are mobile display units appropriate for use at schools, malls, information fairs, and other public events in remote locations. IIP makes available USG-branded, standardized, high-quality sets with the goal of making it easy for posts to take programs on the road to reach new and diverse target audiences.
10 FAM 387.2 Standards for American Spaces
a. IIP develops and implements worldwide standards for American Spaces. These standards provide posts with the tools to evaluate their American Spaces and assess them against a common model. They also allow for a consistent approach to funding American Spaces and monitoring their performance, development, and structural needs.
b. The objective of these standards is to provide posts a tool to assess the program, management, and physical elements of their American Spaces; to identify appropriate areas for development; and to guide resource allocation decisions.
c. Standards are evaluated and updated in consultation with the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R) and regional bureau PD offices to reflect changing resources and environments. The standards focus on the following core areas:
(1) Program standards cover the five major program activities of American Spaces: English language learning, educational advising, alumni activities, cultural and outreach programs, and information about the United States. The American Spaces' strategic value in furthering the Post's mission to advance U.S. foreign policy goals, including population size as well as demographic and economic factors, must be evaluated.
(2) Management standards address such issues as performance of American Spaces staff, embassy oversight and support, REPS involvement, funding, reporting, evaluation, communication, and partnerships. The amount of financial, programmatic, and human resources that Post invests in its American Spaces network must be evaluated, as the greatest determinant for the success of an American space is the time and attention given by Post from both local and Foreign Service staff.
(3) Physical standards are gauged to assess representative American Spaces, provide design recommendations, and comply with Department standards for security, design, and structure, and with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Physical standards should ensure a safe, secure, welcoming, and attractive environment with accessible, digitally enhanced, flexible programming space with modular furniture and internet connectivity meeting specific public diplomacy objectives.
d. Embassy PD officers, REPS, Locally Engaged Staff (LES) responsible for the American Spaces program, and American Spaces staff should jointly assess how well an American space meets defined standards, identify remedial and/or developmental objectives for it, and decide whether to seek funding to meet those objectives.
e. Posts must identify those American Spaces that no longer meet minimum-level criteria or are not likely to do so IIP can revise the prioritized list of American Spaces eligible for funding. IIP will also recommend to the relevant regional bureau PD office and post that they transition to a more appropriate partnership model or terminate the partnership MOU and implement closure as an American space.
f. In the case of non-compliant partner spaces, post should consult with the regional bureau and IIP for the best course of action. In cases where continued post support will adversely affect mission goals or public image, post must notify the partner institution that they no longer meet American Spaces standards and will no longer be eligible for funding or programming. If Post discontinues or downgrades the American space-relationship with a host partner, IIP/PL/AS lists the American space as closed, and the American space is no longer eligible for American Spaces Support Funds.
10 FAM 387.3 American Spaces Management
a. While REPS provide direction for the American Spaces program in a region or single country, the Public Diplomacy section (PDS) at posts provide the administrative function to manage and coordinate American Spaces networks within their country.
b. In order to achieve successful programming, USG embassy/consulate staff, in coordination with the REPS, needs to provide training to the staff actually operating American Spaces in their country networks.
c. LES responsible for American Spaces also serve as a resource for selected host country contacts, who use a variety of reference services (e.g., subscription data systems, supervised Internet access, print collections, and online services) to find information about the United States, its policies, and values. At the discretion of PDS management, they also provide policy information to key mission members. In all cases, these activities should support the mission’s strategic goals and public diplomacy objectives.
10 FAM 387.4 American Spaces Staffing
a. While LES manage post’s American Spaces networks, American Spaces staff at USG or partner facilities can include the contracted staff of an implementing partner, or staff contracted by the host institution.
b. American Spaces staff are responsible for executing multiple projects of increasing scope and complexity, including space renovation, large-scale event management, policy-relevant programming, and implementation of advanced digital diplomacy technologies and strategies – all focused on advancing USG foreign policy priorities.
c. Although American Spaces staff benefit from professional and technical guidance from REPS, they are typically supervised by the PAO or a designated PDS official. As regional officers, a REPS may, on a case-by-case basis, accept delegated authority to oversee tasks related to development of the American Spaces program and associated LES; but this decision is made by the PAO.
10 FAM 387.5 Fee Recycling
a. Public Law 100-204, section 203 , amended by Public Law 101-246, section 208 (22 U.S.C. 1475e), authorizes American Spaces at U.S. missions abroad to charge and retain fees for certain services to such extent as may be provided in advance in appropriations acts (see 4 FAH-3 H-328, and 22 U.S.C. 1471, for more information on recycling funds).
b. Guidelines for fee recycling include:
(1) Membership fees – Membership fees cannot under any circumstances be charged for the use of American Spaces;
(2) Services covered – Fees may be charged for English teaching activities, library and student advising fees, exchange visitor programs, sale of educational and informational material,; agency- produced publications, photocopying, printing of electronic resources, interlibrary loan services, online database searches and associated telecommunications costs and print-outs, document delivery, and mailing of materials;
(3) Services not covered – Fees cannot be used to pay salaries, construction projects, pay U.S. Government employees, purchase vehicles, household effects, or other personal uses;
(4) Reporting requirements – The Office of American Spaces (IIP/PL/AS) grants approval of post recycling levels. Posts must report to IIP/PL/AS and appropriate Department of State budget offices on a routine basis monies collected under the recycling program;
(5) Guidance – IIP/PL/AS provides guidance to posts on specific recycling activities and expenditures;
(6) Ceilings – The recycling ceiling is the overall limit or “cap” authorized by Congress annually on the fee income generated by the Department. Regional bureaus, in coordination with the Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP), annually establish recycling ceilings for each program in participating posts, including English-teaching materials (10 FAM 229.1), teaching fees (10 FAM 229.3), educational advising fees (10 FAM 227.8-8), and fees received for American Spaces programs and materials (10 FAM 363.6).
10 FAM 388 REGIONAL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT SPECIALISTS
10 FAM 388.1 Roles of Regional Public Engagement Specialist (REPS)
a. Regional public engagement specialists (REPS, formerly IRO) are Foreign Service specialists based in IIP and in strategic U.S. missions around the globe. They provide expert consultancy to posts and partner institutions on the development and operation of American Spaces in a region or single country, providing direction for public diplomacy engagement in support of U.S. interests. REPS based in Washington, DC and in the field engage with regional bureaus and the posts for which they are responsible to help them effectively manage their American Spaces and engage key foreign audiences.
b. The REPS is primarily an advisor to the Public Diplomacy section (PDS) leadership on all IIP and American Spaces issues. The REPS assists the PAO to advance U.S. foreign policy goals, as established by the strategic plans of the Department, IIP, regional bureaus, and individual embassies, in particular using American Spaces as a programming platform.
c. Through regular visits and electronic communications, REPS work closely with PAOs, other PDS officers, and LES at posts in their portfolios. They ensure that the management of American Spaces, coordination of outreach programming, and delivery of products and services are cost-effective, of the highest quality and consonant with the mission’s public diplomacy strategy.
d. REPS coordinate their work with IIP headquarters in Washington, DC. They ensure IIP is creating products and services that posts find useful and relay feedback from the field to the bureau so that IIP products and services remain relevant to public diplomacy needs.
10 FAM 388.2 REPS Responsibilities for American Spaces
REPS are instrumental in guiding the establishment, management, and evaluation of all categories of American Spaces. Within their regions, field REPS assist posts in all aspects of strategic planning for these spaces. REPS based in IIP coordinate the global programs and services in close coordination with other units of IIP, ECA, and the regional PD offices. Specific REPS support for American Spaces includes but is not limited to the following:
(1) Provide guidance on IIP policy and standards for American Spaces;
(2) Advise posts on developing program budgets for American Spaces;
(3) Approve and evaluate proposals and budgets for submission to the annual American Spaces support funds request process;
(4) Assist in the effective use of web-based and mobile technologies, social media, and IIP products;
(5) Design and conduct training programs to build institutional capacity;
(6) Evaluate facilities, staffing, budget, and management practices to maximize information outreach;
(7) Ensure that American Spaces are reporting accurately and regularly on their programming events and visitor statistics;
(8) Advise on copyright issues, collection development/management, and American space related procurements, grants, and cooperative agreements;
(9) Advise and assist posts with developing local staff positions and job descriptions; and
(10) REPS based in Washington, DC advocate for American Spaces in general, participate in bureau initiatives supporting REPS and American Spaces worldwide, and serve as the IIP Bureau liaison to the relevant regional bureaus when applicable.
10 FAM 388.3 REPS Responsibilities as IIP Field Representatives
As IIP’s primary representatives in the field, and in consultation with the PAO, REPS have the following responsibilities:
(1) Serve as the primary point of contact for any regional American Spaces issues, explaining IIP policies and procedures to the PAO. Provide consultative knowledge and experience to all American Spaces within the assigned portfolio. These include U.S. government owned spaces and partnership spaces (e.g. American Corners and binational centers), and/or any host of hybrid variations of American Spaces;
(2) Develop strategic plans and provide expertise on programs, outreach, and information technology topics, including customer relations management;
(3) Contribute data to funding proposals to support programmatic needs and IIP initiatives in the field;
(4) Advise IIP on overseas program environments; monitor trends and developments; report on the impact of IIP programs, products, and platforms; and submit reports and data in accordance with Bureau-approved guidelines to ensure proper management of the American Spaces program.;
(5) Develop new products and services by conceptualizing and proposing new program ideas and operational procedures; serving as a member of product development teams; and testing and evaluating new commercial products for use in American Spaces;
(6) Serve as project manager for American Spaces initiatives. Responsibilities may include managing fiscal resources; identifying sources of funding and assisting with funding requests; reporting on results of American Spaces in accordance with IIP and Department accountability requirements; and utilizing a variety of reporting and analytics tools; and
(7) Serve as coordinator for major projects (such as American Spaces construction and renovation projects) that require multiple stakeholders (e.g. DS, OBO, MGT and external partners). For some American Spaces projects, serve as the official contracting officer’s representative (COR) or grants officer’s representative (GOR).
10 FAM 388.4 REPS Responsibilities as Public Diplomacy Specialist
As public diplomacy specialists, REPS have the following responsibilities:
(1) Monitor, evaluate, and improve performance of American Spaces, including the viability of local partnerships and the quality of services offered at American Spaces, through the use of data driven decision making and incorporating data collection applications and customer relations management software. Ensure maximized utilization of American Spaces as key venues to engage foreign publics on U.S. foreign policy matters;
(2) Provide training for American Spaces and public diplomacy staff on a wide variety of platforms, digital tools, and analytics tools in order to improve skills in the areas of project management, utilization of American Spaces, digital literacy, digital content development, quantitative communication technologies, audience identification, interactive engagement techniques, and creative programming development;
(3) At some posts, REPS directly supervise LES and manage their home post’s American space. This includes needs assessments for the space, professional development, and performance evaluation for the LES;
(4) Advise on American Spaces host institutions and partnership relationships, including clearing on MOUs for partnership agreements; promoting best practices for American Spaces partnership activities; and training partnership staff;
(5) Consult with each post in their portfolio, annually, to plan the resources and strategy that their American Spaces will use to meet the integrated country strategy (ICS), Mission Resource Plan (MRP), and public diplomacy goals. PAOs are requested to review these plans, which are updated or revised during the REPS' first visit to post in the fiscal year; and
(6) Coordinate outreach with local contacts and target audiences, promoting awareness of American Spaces, optimizing the use of IIP products through outreach and customer relations management; and liaising with American and foreign information and cultural communities.
10 FAM 388.5 REPS Travel
REPS are available to visit posts in their region of responsibility to evaluate and advise on the American Spaces program in that country. REPS usually travel at least twice per year to the highest priority American Spaces as designated by the IIP-regional bureaus bi-annual prioritization process. REPS may visit other posts and their American Spaces by invitation from the PAO as time and funding permits. During visits, PAOs and REPS consult to review the status of the post’s American Spaces, ensuring that these spaces are meeting Washington guidelines and embassy goals. Between visits, REPS are available for consultation by phone or electronically. For posts that have American Spaces with security restrictions prohibiting access, the REPS maintains contact virtually.
10 FAM 388.6 REPS Reporting Requirements
In order to provide the Office of American Spaces and PD stakeholders in Washington with up-to-date information on the status of American Spaces, REPS are responsible to work with posts to provide regular reports through IIP and MAT databases. In addition, REPS must provide narrative reports following visits to American Spaces and at scheduled times. These include the following reports:
(1) REPS are required to file trip reports within 30 days of completing their consultations at post. Such reports are filed with the post PAO, the Office of American Spaces (IIP/PL/AS), and the appropriate IIP regional offices, and are archived on an internal IIP database; and
(2) In December of each calendar year, REPS will submit an annual “home post” report on the status of American Spaces in the country where the REPS is based.
10 FAM 388.7 REPS Evaluations
In accordance with 3 FAH-1 H-2813.3, the PAO (or his/her designate) at the REPS’ home post is the field-based REPS' rating officer. The director of IIP’s Office of American Spaces or his/her designee is the reviewing officer for REPS. PAOs in the countries covered by the REPS provide input to the rating and reviewing officers to evaluate the REPS’ performance and contributions.