US Dept. of State to take part in 2015 National Conference!

Robin Lerner, the deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State will be speaking at the ACA National Conference on February 5, 2015. Ms. Lerner oversees the Exchange Visitor (J-1 visa) Program, which annually brings some 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States to study, build skills, and teach — including approximately 25,000 who are placed in American summer camps as cultural exchange visitors.

Ms. Lerner will join ACA Chief Public Policy and Outreach Officer Susan E. Yoder and ACA volunteer Sharon Kosch for a lively session: International Camp Counselors and Support Staff — Emerging Issues from the U.S. Department of State. They will be discussing issues of regulation and compliance and the future of the cultural exchange program.  Ms. Lerner will also share her observations from last summer as she traveled the country visiting camps and other organizations that host cultural exchange visitors!

If your camp utilizes international staff — or is considering doing so — it is imperative that you understand what is happening at the U.S. Department of State. Participate in this session to understand the emerging issues and their potential impact on cultural exchange and international camp staff across the county!

Ms. Lerner is a former camp counselor who understands the incredible value of the camp cultural exchange program. A lawyer by training and a member of the California bar, she has an impressive background, including staff attorney for the ACLU of Mississippi, counsel for the majority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, senior reporting officer for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, senior congressional liaison for the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, deputy press attaché to the U.S. Embassy Cairo, staff of the U.S. Embassy Baghdad and Regional Office in Kirkuk, legal and human rights advisor for OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) missions in Croatia and Kosovo, and election supervisor in Bosnia and Croatia.