Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Office of American Spaces 2015 Annual Report

Full text at



Our Mission

Who We Are

Director’s Message

2015: Concrete Results

2016: The Next Level

2015 Financial Report

American Spaces History and Statistics

Priority American Spaces, 2014-2016


The Office of American Spaces develops and supports modern, effective physical platforms for public diplomacy engagement with foreign targeted audiences in support of United States foreign policy objectives.


Established in 2011, the Office of American Spaces is the administrative support base that provides strategic direction, funding and training to the hundreds of American Spaces around the world. As diverse as the communities where they are located, American Spaces serve as the primary places of ongoing people-to-people connections between the United States and foreign audiences that are essential to advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives. The office is home to the 30-member Foreign Service Specialist corps of Information Resource Officers (IROs) who are strategically stationed around the world to provide expert assistance to embassies and consulates on means and ways of informing foreign audiences about the United States and its policy positions. Residing in the Bureau of International Information Programs, the Washington-based Office of American Spaces consists of 26 staff members (23 in Washington and three in the Vienna, Austria, satellite office) who provide services and support to American Spaces and the IROs and advocate for them across the State Department, with Congress and to other U.S. government agencies.

Message from the Director

Fiscal Year 2015: Proving the Model of American Spaces as Preeminent Policy Platforms

This inaugural American Spaces Annual Report is intended to convey to our stakeholders, partners and funding authorities how resources were invested in the development of American Spaces worldwide during fiscal year 2015,* and the results in support of U.S. national interests that those and previous investments have yielded.

Tremendous strides have been made over the past few years in providing the modern engagement platforms the United States needs to conduct person-to-person public diplomacy with key targeted audiences in strategic locations around the world. The Bureau of International Information Programs and its Office of American Spaces have moved from a bureaucratic to a business model for managing the American Spaces program. We’ve set clear priorities, allocated resources in line with those priorities and made strategic investments in platforms, people and programs as the means and ways to deliver the ends our country requires. 2015 marked the first year that a greater part of American Spaces Support Funds (ASSF) was invested in the most strategically important American Spaces in each region of the world. Setting these priorities in collaboration with the State Department’s six regional bureaus provided a rational framework for investment of limited resources linked to policy impact.

This report highlights several American Spaces that were quickly transformed at relatively low cost into the kinds of dynamic modern engagement platforms worthy of the United States. To ensure we are able to make the most of these upgraded platforms, we took an entirely new approach to training our people who manage and operate American Spaces, providing the vision and skills they need to create and evaluate compelling, policy-oriented programming for targeted audiences. In addition to the Information Resource Officers, we trained over 180 staff members from American Spaces, reaching 54 of the 60 strategically selected American Spaces, between March and September.

These investments in our platforms and people are aligned with increasing our capability to deliver programs that move beyond cultivating relationships and greater understanding of the United States to those that directly advance specific U.S. foreign policy objectives. We are focused on enabling American Spaces to deliver programming that is interactive and outcome-based and that leverages the latest digital technologies—this is how our targeted audiences engage with their world, so it is how we must engage with them.

Through partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, non-governmental players and State Department colleagues focused on policy priorities from countering violent extremism to increasing trade, we are providing the inspiration and resources for American Spaces to realize IIP’s mission of Connecting People with Policy.

My team and I are excited about the new direction we are taking American Spaces, and above all, what we are achieving. I hope this report both shows that we are wisely investing taxpayer funds in ways that are producing valuable results and spreads our excitement about making it all happen.

Chris Dunnett

Director, Office of American Spaces

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