The Government Relations Advisory Group will increase awareness of AFS and its programs in Washington, D.C. so as to enable strategic positioning both in the regulatory and funding realms of the Federal Government. To do this, the Government Relations Advisory Group will ensure a more coordinated effort in training volunteers and others to educate Congress and the Administration about the work that AFS does and garner support for AFS and, more broadly, international educational exchange programs.
The Government Relations Advisory Group will focus on networking in Washington, D.C., developing relationships with members of Congress and their staffs both in D.C. and in their home states/districts, and coordinating effectively so as to advance following five areas:
- Ensuring that federal decision makers make or change regulatory requirements (primarily the J-1 visa regulations), with the information to ensure they are effective and efficient.
- Ensuring that the Department of State’s exchanges are appropriately funded in order to ensure government-sponsored exchange programs are successful and prudently expanded, and in so doing advocating within Department of State for AFS to expand its role in exchange programming.
- Cultivating champions on Capitol Hill for AFS and international educational exchange programs
- Requesting more reasonable tax treatment for hosting on J-1 program (current deduction level has not changed from its original $50/month level).
- Cultivating the networks and relationships to ensure flexible capability to meet future priorities, seize opportunities, and meet challenges.
What is the composition of the advisory group?
The core group will be engaged and activated regularly, but also activated at key times based on current climate and activities within DC and on Capitol Hill. The group will be nimble, composed of consistent members that are able to commit to being activated quickly and who have backgrounds that allow them to contribute knowledge of navigating the federal government.
This advisory group is accountable to the AFS-USA Government Relations Department and the AFS-USA Board of Directors.
How much time is required?
- The Government Relations Advisory Group will meet quarterly or as needed. In addition, members will be present at events/gatherings that further the objectives of the group. For example, Government Relations Advisory Group members could attend meetings with legislative officials (congressional representatives, senators, etc), networking events, etc.
- Strategic involvement of AFS affiliates (volunteers, returnees, host families, staff, etc) for specific events and efforts.
How long are the terms of membership?
Minimum 2 year commitment. Members will be expected to serve indefinitely as their role will be focused mostly on building and maintaining relationships; frequent turnover will not be ideal.
How can I get involved?
To indicate interest in serving as a volunteer on the national level, please complete the National Council Committee and Advisory Group interest form here.