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On Tuesday, February 2nd, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing for Ann Stock, who was nominated by President Obama to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.

Noting that the majority of students currently studying abroad go to Europe, Sen. Wicker (R-Miss.) asked Ms. Stock during the hearing how she plans to advance study abroad participation and to diversify locations where students are studying.  She agreed that was a goal worth focusing on and said that she looks forward to working with the Senate to figure out how to do that. Senator Wicker then commended the bill he introduced along with Senator Durbin, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act (S. 473), to her as the model for doing so.

During her testimony, Ms. Stock also spoke highly of exchanges in general, saying, "Exchanges are a quintessentially American form of diplomacy that, if confirmed, I would hope to increase, to amplify, and to sustain in a lasting and meaningful way."  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination next Tuesday.

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