Art In Embassies Celebrates Serving Abroad …Through Their Eyes

Art In Embassies
(AIE) is a program of the U.S. Department’s of State and Defense that promotes cross-cultural dialogue and understanding around the world through the visual arts, sponsoring dynamic artist exchanges. For five decades the public-private partnership program has played a big role in U.S. diplomacy. This month, in commemoration of Veterans Day, the AIE program announced the 12 “Best in Show” photographs featured in AIE’s 50th anniversary “Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes photography exhibition.

Last year on Veterans Day, military, civil service and Foreign Service personnel were invited to submit photographs illustrating their life while serving abroad. Over 3,200 images were submitted, 161 finalists were chosen then the 12 “Best in Show” were identified.

“These photographs depict themes of friendship, places, faces, loss or triumph, providing a window on the complexity, diversity and courageous work performed by America’s heroes throughout the world,” said the U.S. Department of State in a release.

Today, AIE engages 20,000 artists, museums, galleries, universities and private collectors in more than 200 venues in 189 countries. Over 58 permanent collections have been installed in State Department facilities throughout the world.

See all the finalists here

In the video below we see artist Tom Gosford talking about the installation of his work in the U.S. Tijuana consulate, and a look at the Art in Embassies exhibition in the consulate.

The AIE 50th anniversary celebration features U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honoring five artists on November 30, presenting the first U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts for their outstanding commitment to the program.

[Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State]

State Department issues Libya travel warning – read more about this forbidden destination

As the unrest in the Middle East continues, the US Department of State has issued a Libya travel warning, advising Americans to steer clear of the country, and especially of “gatherings” there. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“‘U.S. citizens in Libya should minimize overall travel in-country, exercise extreme caution when traveling, and limit all travel after dark,’ the US said in a travel advisory. It said demonstrations, violence and looting were all possible over the next several days, and urged US citizens to stay away from any gatherings.

‘Even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment, or worse,’ according to the State Department advisory.”

I know I’m not the only one who will have no trouble staying out of Libya in the near future. Confession time: I had never considered going there. So, why do people travel to Libya? Gadling’s Tom Johansmeyer posted about a package deal there back in August 2010 (An easy way to get to Libya), with quotes about its “archaeological riches” and “a sense of discovery in a land virtually unknown to the modern world.” Libya also reportedly has 1250 miles of coastline “teeming with underwater wrecks, ruins and Nazi gold,” making it a highly-prized scuba diving destination (see: Diving in Libya). Furthermore, it’s a popular cruise ship port for the British and Italians (see: Will Libya Again Open to US Cruise Passengers?).

In case you or any of your friends were already in-the-know about the secret wonders of Libya, Americans in Libya are being urged to contact the embassy in Tripoli with the following contact details:

  • +218 (0)21-337-3250
  • After business hours: 091-220-5207

[Source: WSJ]

[Photo by anniemullinsuk via Flickr.]

State Department not budging on European travel warning

The State Department’s terror alert for Americans traveling and living in Europe is alive and well – and nobody cares. Even though there are concerns of a terrorist plot for a “Mumbai-style massacre,” according to Fox News, the State Department isn’t budging and Americans aren’t paying attention. But, the good news is that at least the British haven’t changed their level, which is “severe,” giving us at least some validation and a friend just like us.

Targets being watched include: the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, luxury Hotel Adlon near Berlin‘s Brandenburg Gate and Berlin’s Central Station.

According to Fox News:

State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin told journalists in London on Thursday that the American government’s position on the issue has not changed.

“We don’t view the conditions as warranting us rescinding the (travel) alert,” he said.

Why is this such a big deal? Well, the current U.S. alert is only a step below a formal warning to us to stay out of Europe.

[photo by geoftheref via Flickr]

Register with the Department of State – International travel tip

Utilize the U.S. Department of State‘s Travel Registration service. Yes, it seems like an invasion of privacy and feels like Big Brother is watching. However, in the case of natural disaster or political unrest, there is no better group of people to share your travel plans.

It also works in reverse — if you must be contacted in case of an emergency stateside.

Travelers register their personal information, where he or she will be staying, and emergency contact information.

The State Department adheres to the Privacy Act and will not share a traveler’s itinerary or other information with anyone.