Letter From the Executive Director of Concordia Language Villages

8-28-2017 | This message was sent to internal staff, participant families and friends of Concordia Language Villages.

There has been a very significant development over the weekend regarding our J-1 Camp Counselor Exchange Visa. This visa category is definitely in peril of being completely eliminated through executive action. If this occurs, then we would be unable to invite international staff to join our Village programs in the future. I’ve been in meetings over the last couple days with Alliance for International Exchange (Washington, D.C.) staff and member organizations about critical next steps. Please click here to get a quick overview. The most important thing that we all can do is to contact our Congressional delegations. Since we spread out across the country, this can be very effective as we are covering many Congressional districts.
Please click here and act now! It’s a very easy process and completely automated. I just sent letters to my two Minnesota senators and representative. The Alliance constructed a letter that you can just upload or also personalize. I have provided a paragraph below that you might consider including. However, some of the information that the Alliance has inserted in the standard letter is key to economic impact, even if it doesn’t pertain exclusively to the J-1 Camp Counselor exchange visa. We are advocating right now for all the J-1 exchange visas, and not just Camp Counselor.   
I can’t stress enough how critical it is to send a letter. The Congressional staff are obligated to read them. And if an office is inundated by letters, they weigh them and report to their member of Congress what issue is of greatest importance and demands attention. We are asking all staff, villager families and donors to engage in this broad-based effort.
Please also forward  or post this message as you deem appropriate. It’s really important that we activate our full network to the greatest extent possible. I’m also happy to field any questions or concerns.
Many thanks for your time and effort. We will hopefully preserve what is an essential component of our Concordia Language Villages community!

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Concordia Language Villages of Concordia College has been a sponsor of the J-1 Camp Counselor Exchange Visa since 1975. Each year we invite close to 200 individuals from around the world to serve on staff at one of our 15 Language Villages on the J-1 Camp Counselor exchange program. These staff offer language and cultural skills that ensure top quality instruction in our iso-immersion setting. The international staff are vital members of the Concordia Language Villages community and help us provide an incomparable educational opportunity for thousands of young people in the state of Minnesota and across the country on an annual basis. Moreover, we have recently been designated a Language Training Center for the Department of Defense and J-1 exchange visitors are some of our language instructors.

Christine Schulze
Executive Director, Concordia Language Villages