Photo of YES participants

About ECA

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations.

What We Do

As mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) works to build friendly, peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges, as well as public -private partnerships.

Who We Engage

In an effort to reflect the diversity of the United States and global society, ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. Opportunities are open to people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Bureau is committed to fairness, equity and inclusion.

Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth, and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges.

How We Work

ECA leads public diplomacy outreach efforts for the U.S. Department of State through our exchange programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Our Functional Bureau Strategy 2018-2022 details how our programs advance the National Security Strategy and the ECA Strategy Crosswalk highlights how ECA priorities align with the Strategy.

A worker in the new Metropolitan Museum of Art galleries that contain many works of Islamic influence.
Cultural Exchanges for Over 50 Years

Brief history of the bureau and the events that led to its establishment.

Edward R. Murrow participant, Viktoriya Piriyeva of Azerbaijan, in front of CNN International
Partnering with ECA

Our partnerships broaden our scope and bring the exchange experience to people around the world.


Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State, SA-5,
2200 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20522-0500
Tel: 202-632-6452
Fax: 202-632-2701