The Monitoring Evaluation Learning and Innovation (MELI) Unit of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of ECA’s educational and cultural programs, which work 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.

The Unit’s work consists of five mutually supporting mechanisms designed to assess the effectiveness of ECA’s programs: 1) monitoring, 2) evaluation, 3) promoting learning, 4) capacity-building, and 5) innovation. The data and analyses provided by our efforts enable program staff and senior leadership to assess performance and inform strategic planning activities at both the Bureau and individual exchange program levels.

Monitoring and Evaluation Efforts


  • Inform strategic planning activities at both the Bureau and individual exchange program levels
  • Generate evidence to determine whether an exchange program was implemented well, and if the program met its goals and objectives;
  • Allow us to better understand both program successes and unintended consequences, as well as the ripple effect (how our exchange programs have impacted wider communities, both in the United States and throughout the world)


  • Provides information used to assess program performance;
  • Supplements the information that ECA program officers receive from their implementing partners and exchange participants to provide a comprehensive view of programmatic activities; and
  • Allows the Bureau to respond more quickly and reliably to ad-hoc requests from Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and internal DOS stakeholders.

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