Cultural Exchanges

The Cultural Affairs Office in the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy offers different cultural/arts programs designed to enhance mutual understanding among the people of Zimbabwe and the United States of America:

The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 developing countries around the world. AFCP-supported projects include the restoration of ancient and historic buildings, assessment and conservation of rare manuscripts and museum collections, preservation and protection of important archaeological sites, and the documentation of vanishing traditional craft techniques and indigenous languages. Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity. By taking a leading role in efforts to preserve cultural heritage, the U.S. shows its respect for other cultures. Through this fund the Embassy facilitated a) the installation of state-of-the-art electronic surveillance equipment at the Great Zimbabwe Museum to curb thefts and potential abuse of valuable archaeological artifacts in 2007 and in 2013 the restoration and preservation of collapsed and deteriorating walls of the 16th Century archaeological structure – the Naletale National Monument, one of Zimbabwe’s World Heritage Sites. In 2016 the Embassy successfully applied for a grant for the documentation and preservation of Ndebele art and architecture. The project site for this grant is Matobo, a World Heritage Site famous for its distinctive granite land-form.

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The American Film Showcase brings award-winning contemporary American documentaries, independent fiction films, and documentary know-how to audiences around the world, offering a view of American society and culture as seen by independent filmmakers. Funded by a grant from the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and produced by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), the Showcase highlights the value of film in fostering understanding and cooperation, dialogue and debate. The AFS films explore diverse topics including civil rights, disabilities, social justice, sports, freedom of the press, technology and the environment. To date the Embassy has hosted two filmmakers and two film experts in 2013 and 2016.

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The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13-20 year-olds from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions.  Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 95,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the Access Program. The U.S. Embassy has partnered with Chiedza Child Care Center in Mbare, Harare and Hope for a Child in Bulawayo to offer and manage the Access program for disadvantaged youth.

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Community Solutions is a professional development program for the best and brightest global community leaders working in Transparency and Accountability, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution, Environmental Issues, and Women and Gender Issues. Participants take part in a four month U.S. fellowship with a local nonprofit organization or government agency; structured virtual learning and networking via the Online Community Leadership Institute; and, the design and implementation of follow-on projects in their home countries.

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The IWP Fall Residency is an opportunity for established writers who have achieved literary distinction in their own countries, as well as for rising stars who have demonstrated notable literary talent.  Fiction and literary non-fiction writers, bloggers, screenwriters, poets, and dramatists are eligible for nomination.  Except in extraordinary circumstances, candidates should have at least one published volume of work or professional script credit, or works that have appeared in significant publications or attracted significant audiences over a period of at least two years.  Nominees must be fluent in English, comfortable with cross-cultural dynamics, and eager to engage with writers from diverse cultures.  Participants spend 12 weeks in the United States.

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OneBeat is a music exchange and incubator for music-based social entrepreneurship, where innovative musicians from around the world launch collaborative projects designed to make a positive impact on local and global communities. An initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by Found Sound Nation, OneBeat is cultivating a groundbreaking international network of leading artistic, technological, and social innovators in music.

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Meridian implements the U.S. Department of State’s Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP). This dynamic youth leadership program brings together students from across Africa with adult mentors for a three week U.S.-based training and cultural exchange. The program strengthens the students’ understanding of civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and the importance of community engagement. Also included in the PAYLP design is a series of workshops on social entrepreneurship and two weeks of living with American host families.

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The Zimbabwe U.S Alumni Association (ZUSAA) is a non-profit association that unites alumni of the State Department exchange programs in Zimbabwe. Established in 2010 the association has four functional chapters in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare. Chapters in Gweru, Mutare, Harare and Bulawayo are housed and closely tied to American Corners (ACs); the Masvingo Chapter is nascent and most events occur at a local community center. ZUSAA is administered by volunteers led by a National Coordinator ensures that programs are representative of a collective alumni body and match critical needs as identified by local chapters.

Activities include Food for Thought dialogue sessions in Harare, pre-departure orientations for new exchange participants, including the 30 Zimbabweans selected as Washington Fellows for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Ambassador’s Forums, conversations/public lectures, networking events, commemorations and volunteering programs, and hosting of visiting U.S speakers. Outside of the traditional IVLP alumni, ZUSAA incorporates alumni from a variety of other programs to expand its outreach, including YALI, TechWomen, the Business and Entrepreneurship Exchange Program (BEEP), Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI), VOLVIS, Fulbright and Humphrey Scholars, Community Solutions, as well as EducationUSA returned students. ZUSAA has also brought on board United States Student Achievers Program (USAP) participants, integrating them into ZUSAA activities. PAS currently provides office space for ZUSAA in Harare, ensuring smooth collaboration and coordination of programs with the Embassy.

Contact: zwusaa@gmail.com or zusaprogrames@gmail.com