Host Family Tax Deduction, Federal Budget Update

Location: Edison D

This session will provide a comprehensive look at our community’s advocacy effort to raise the federal income tax deduction for families hosting J-1 high school exchange students.  Panelists — all of whom have been directly involved in this process — will cover the role of the CSIET and Alliance boards in the campaign, and discuss our advocacy strategy and progress to date.  The session will also include an update on Congressional appropriations for exchange programs.


Panelist: Mark Overmann, The Alliance

Mark Overmann serves as Deputy Director at the Alliance, which he joined in 2009 as Assistant Director and Senior Policy Specialist. Prior to joining the Alliance, Mark was the Director of College Communications at Georgetown University, where he worked closely with the university’s outreach and exchange programs to China. He also previously worked as the Program Associate for Communications at the National Council for International Visitors. Mark made his first substantive trip abroad during college to study in Angers, France. Following his graduation with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, he taught English and studied Chinese in Northeast China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region. He subsequently earned his M.A. in International Communication from American University’s School of International Service. Mark is coauthor with Sherry Mueller of Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development (Georgetown University Press, 2014 and 2008). He speaks French and Chinese, and is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio.


Panelist: Mike McCarry, The Alliance

Michael McCarry has led the Alliance as its Executive Director since October 1994. Prior to joining the Alliance, he spent 18 years with the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) as a Foreign Service Officer. He served as U.S. Cultural Attaché in Beijing in the years immediately following the Tiananmen Square events of 1989, and led negotiations, which resulted in the restoration of the Fulbright program after its suspension by the Chinese government. He also served as director of USIS Chiang Mai, Thailand, and as Assistant Cultural Attaché in Bangkok. He speaks Chinese and Thai.

Michael’s domestic assignments with USIA include staff director/special assistant in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, chief of Advising and Student Services, policy officer for East Asia, Voice of America branch chief for Southeast Asia, and desk officer for Southern Africa. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Michael worked as a legislative and press aide for Rep. Robert McClory (R-IL), and as a journalist in Illinois and Texas.Michael received an M.A. from the University of Texas (Austin), a B.A. from Notre Dame, and spent a year at Melbourne University in Australia as a Rotary Graduate Fellow. He is originally from Chicago, IL.


Panelist: Laura Rose,  CCI Greenheart

Laura Rose is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Greenheart International, whose cultural exchange divisions, CCI Greenheart & Greenheart Travel, facilitate programs for approximately 10,000 people from over 75 countries each year.   Participants are encouraged to increase their awareness of societal opportunities and challenges through involvement in service learning projects as an integral part of their cultural exchange experience. Additionally, Laura is co-founder and secretary of the board of directors of Fundación por El Futuro (Foundation for the Future), a Spanish not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of environmental awareness and educational programs for American and Spanish youth. Laura is currently serving a second term on the executive committee of the board of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel, and also serves as vice chair for the board of the Alliance for Educational and Cultural Exchange based in Washington, DC.