Public diplomacy is the conduct of foreign relations directly with the average citizen of a country, rather than with officials of a country’s foreign ministry. Embassy London’s Public Affairs Section, with experienced and motivated American and local staff, builds public understanding and support in the UK for America’s goals in the world. Here where media is so dominant, we talk to Britain and the world via television, radio, newspapers, the web and social networking media.
We also conduct people-to-people exchanges, where American experts, authors, artists, educators, and students interact with their peers here. Embassy London, with its huge interagency presence, in-house broadcast studio and a steady stream of high-level visits, offers an unmatched platform to tell America’s story to the world.
The Minister Counselor for Public Affairs (the “Public Affairs Officer,” or PAO) functions as the Ambassador‘s and the Mission’s senior advisor on public affairs and public diplomacy.
The Public Affairs section consists of the Cultural Affairs Office (CAO) and the Press Office (or Information Office, IO).
BAAS Small Grants Program
BAAS Small Grants Program – OPEN
The British Association for American Studies (BAAS), supported by the United States Embassy, London, offers small grants for cultural, educational and outreach activities that will foster American Studies and otherwise enhance the understanding of the United States in the United Kingdom.
Applicants need to show how they intend to actively promote an understanding of the United States and how they will engage with American studies communities and the wider public. Grants may be requested for a range of activities, including (but not limited to):
- Curriculum development, including schools activities;
- Student exchanges;
- US and UK Speaker programs;
- Film and arts programming;
- Conferences and symposia;
- Faculty development and exchange;
- Public dissemination of academic research.
Full details on the current grants season are available here.
Cultural Affairs Office
The Cultural Affairs Office encourages U.S.-UK institutional linkages in the cultural and educational fields, and promotes a wide variety of American music, art, dance, film, and literature in the UK. The Cultural Affairs Office also manages a wide variety of U.S. government-sponsored professional exchanges for UK citizens. These Embassy exchange programs include:
- International Visitor Leadership Program Exchange (IVLP)
- British-American Parliamentary Group Exchange Program
Over the last 60 years, thousands of UK citizens have traveled to the United States on exchange programs sponsored by the American Embassy in London.
We also manage the U.S. Embassy in London’s Grants program which is designed to assist organizations implement programs that promote the U.S.-UK partnership.
The Cultural Office maintains a list of UK locations or institutions with significant U.S. cultural links, called Cultural Connections. We also post information on the annual Thanksgiving Day service at St. Paul’s cathedral in London.
The office also manages the Embassy’s Speaker Bureau, which offers your group or school the chance to hear from Americans first-hand on the topics of interest to you.
Artistic and Educational Exchanges
There are many organizations in the United Kingdom providing information on artistic and educational exchanges between the U.S. and the U.K.
Enquirers interested in American Studies programs in the United Kingdom may like to contact the British Association of American Studies.
U.S. Department of State Alumni is an interactive web site for alumni of selected U.S. Department of State Exchange programs managed by U.S. Embassies around the world. It operates as an online community that helps alumni stay in contact with one another and with the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington, DC. If you are an alumnus of one of the American Embassy in London’s exchange programs, you may register at this site: https://alumni.state.gov
We also invite all exchange alumni to register with their local alumni associations for England, Wales, and Scotland by notifying the Cultural Affairs Office using our contact form (please note this is NOT for visa or ESTA enquiries).
U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission
The U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission is the world’s largest merit-based scholarship program. Created by treaty in 1948, the Fulbright Commission aims to foster cultural understanding through educational exchange, via an awards programme and the EducationUSA advisory service.
Full details are on their Commission’s website at Fulbright.org.uk
John Adams Society
The alumni organization for U.S. Embassy exchange programs for England and Wales. The John Adams Society website is http://johnadamssociety.co.uk
Contact Details for the Cultural Office
The Cultural Affairs Office may be contacted as follows. Please do NOT post visa or ESTA questions as your email will be deleted:
Online: Via our contact form
Phone:  (0)20 7499-9000 (ask for the Cultural Affairs Office)
The Press Office of the U.S. Embassy in London works closely with British print and electronic media to provide authoritative information on U.S. government policies and manages this website as well as our social media properties.
Journalists may contact the Press Office as follows:
Phone:  (0)20-7499-9000 (ask for Press Office)
Representatives of the foreign media traveling on assignment to the United States require “I” classification visas.
They are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program or enter the United States on B-1 business visas. Those who attempt to do so may be denied admission to the United States by immigration authorities at the port of entry.
Further information is available on the Consular Section Visa Requirements for Members of the Media page.
New London Embassy
The United States has built a new Embassy in London in the Nine Elms area of Wandsworth.
The U.S. Embassy Speakers Bureau, gives you or your group the opportunity to hear from Americans on the topics of interest to you. Popular topics have been American foreign policy, the work of the United States Government, and other aspects of American society, politics, and culture.
Our Speaker Bureau page has more details and contact information.