Promoting Mutual Understanding with the State Department's 22.33 Podcast

Image for State Department podcast of a city at dusk with a speech bubble that says "22.33" overtop

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), in the Department of State, has released a new podcast entitled 22.33, which highlights and recounts stories from people who have participated in or worked on ECA programs. The name 22.33 comes from Title 22, Chapter 33 of the U.S. Code, which established the ECA. This podcast provides a new way to further ECA's mission of promoting mutual understanding.

According to the podcast’s website: “Each week, 22.33 delivers stories of people finding their way in new surroundings. With a combination of travel tales, innovation, empathy, and even survival at times, the 22.33 podcast delivers unforgettable first-person stories from people whose lives were changed by international exchange.”

As of February 20, there are 11 episodes to listen to, with new episodes dropping every Friday. Each one details the story of one person, and the way that ECA programs played a part in their journey. They don’t just highlight Americans participating in the Bureau's well-known Fulbright and Sports Diplomacy programs, but also people from Iraq and South Africa and Burma, and programs like the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF), as well as international Fulbright students studying in the United States.

Here are a few examples of what you will hear in the podcast:

Episode 02 - Captain Courageous with Husham Al-Thahabi

  • “Husham Al-Thahabi never set out to be a hero. As he saw more and more orphans and homeless people in his community in Iraq, he took it upon himself to create a center where needy community members would be cared for and trained for careers.  As time went on and the community flourished, an entire village with the name Al-Thahabi stands as a testament to his legacy. Husham visited the United States as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.”

Episode 04 - The ABC Song in St. Petersburg with Eric Swinn

  • “Eric Swinn found himself in St. Petersburg, Russia, tasked with teaching English to marginalized students who sometimes didn’t even speak Russian. Describing his regular trips from the city center to the end of the metro line in a barely inhabited village—firmly in the present, but always conscious of Russia’s deep and heavy past. Eric visited the Russia as part of the Critical Language Scholarship program.”

Episode 06 - Hope in You, Hope in Me with Eaint Thiri Thu

  • “Eaint Thiri Thu never set out to be a human rights activist.  She did not like what was happening to minority populations in her country, but it was only when the government pushed to silence her that her anger and stubbornness not to be quieted emerged, along with courage and the sense that what she is meant to do is speak for those without a voice. Thiri visited the United States as part of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program.”

You can listen to the podcast across a variety of podcasting apps and websites, including iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

Learn more: