Exchange Matters / December 24, 2019

2019 in Review

Catch up on all of the highlights from Global Ties U.S. in 2019:


Congratulations to the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, San Diego Diplomacy Council, and the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana for hosting successful Summits and Learning Labs this year! Check out more highlights from each Summit and the outcomes by the numbers.


Photo credit: Bobby Henson

This year was one of our busiest for custom exchange programs. In addition to the study tours of the Police Professionalization Exchange Program (PPEP), we partnered with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States on a study tour to Brussels for American educators; the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to host a group of Iraqi professors at the annual NAFSA conference; TEB Akademia in Poland to host MBA students and administrators; and finally, with the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan on virtual exchange classroom with American high schools that will commence in 2020. We are thrilled to work with partners who believe in the value of international exchanges and look forward to more collaboration in 2020!


Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

This year, we welcomed eight representatives from the Global Ties Network to Washington, DC to spend a week building stronger connections with DC- based partners and National Program Agencies. Each representative delivered presentations on the strengths of their organizations and cities in hosting exchange program visitors.

2019 participants:

  • Crystal Bock Thiessen, Lincoln Council for International Visitors (pictured above, left)
  • Matt Britton, WorldDenver
  • Ariana Cole, Global Minnesota
  • Michael Graf, Northern Nevada International Center (pictured above, center)
  • Jena Melançon, Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council
  • Andrea Myers-Hartley, GlobalJax
  • Jody Powers, Grand Island Area Council for International Visitors
  • Heather van Dyk, World Affairs Council of Central Florida



In August, we hosted the National Programmers Workshop in Washington, DC for our National Program Agencies and U.S. Government partners. Over 200 program associates, officers, directors, and more attended the full-day workshop featuring sessions on exchange programming best practices, how to handle emergency situations, and exchange program innovations. The lunch keynote featured Marcus Holmes, Associate Professor of Government at William & Mary, who spoke on “The Neuroscience of Face-to-Face Diplomacy.”



In July, we hosted our first-ever Summer of Public Diplomacy, a professional development opportunity for alumni of our Emerging Leaders Program and other globally-minded young professionals. More than 200 people supported the event held at the NYU – Washington DC campus and Mindspace co-working space. We thank our sponsors for their support of the event and making it a resounding success!



As part of the Police Professionalization Exchange Program (PPEP), a third round of training institutes in Mexico were completed in October. Law enforcement professionals from Texas, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington, DC conducted two-day seminars in Pachuca, Mexico on topics such as ethics-based leadership, internal affairs, combating gender-based violence, and community policing. Trainers found that police departments in the U.S. and Mexico faced common challenges and appreciated the opportunity to share best practices and broaden their perspectives on law enforcement. The most significant impact of the training has been the increased understanding and continued relationship building from officers on both sides of the border. Read more



For International Education Week (November 18-22), we launched a campaign to tell the exchange journey stories of the Global Ties Network. Check out the stories as interactive maps here.


This year, we said farewell to several members of the Global Ties Network. In memoriam:

  • Tom Gittins (1940-2019), Member, Global Ties U.S. Advisory Council
  • Robert “Bob” Fischer (1937-2019), Executive Director Emeritus, World Affairs Council of St. Louis
  • Sue C. Root (1937-2019), Former Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts
  • Robert E. Schade, Member, World Affairs Council of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky