Announcements / December 16, 2019

2020 Citizen Diplomat Award Goes to Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor

Global Ties U.S. is thrilled to announce that the 2020 Citizen Diplomat Award recipient is Dave Fortier, a nonprofit leader and Boston Marathon bombing survivor.

Nominated by WorldBoston, a Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Member organization, Dave “embodies what it means to be a citizen diplomat.” After surviving the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Dave discovered a passion for leading efforts to support recovery and resilience among trauma survivors. In 2018, he founded the One World Strong Foundation (OWS), which sustains an international peer-to-peer network of survivors, families of victims, and first responders to “improve the lives of those impacted by terrorist attacks, hate crimes, or traumatic events” around the globe.

“I’m honored and humbled to even be nominated for an award like this. We’re always happy to meet the international visitors that come through WorldBoston, allowing One World to connect and interact with leaders from around the globe in an engaging and mutually beneficial exchange, right here in the city where we are based. Our partnership with WorldBoston also allows us to expand our direct relationship with the U.S. Department of State and we’re excited to see where the New Year takes us!” Dave says.

Dave is actively engaged on a number of public diplomacy initiatives, including the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the flagship professional exchange program of the U.S. Department of State. Through WorldBoston, which helps implement the program, Dave has served as a professional resource for participants since 2017, often “going above and beyond” what is asked.

In turn, he also garners inspiration from the visiting groups: the One World Marathon, a global event in which teams from around the world combined distances to achieve 26.2 miles run over four days, was the result of a brainstorming session with a group of IVLP participants from North Africa and the Middle East visiting Boston.

Additionally, Dave helped form a Sister City relationship between Newburyport, MA, and Qardho, Somalia on three program areas: art and cultural exchange, humanitarian assistance, youth and educational program development.

Dave works closely with U.S. embassies, as well as with foreign governments and local community leaders, to help align the short and long-term needs of survivors, families that have lost loved ones, and first responders. The U.S. Embassy in London invited Dave to travel to Manchester, England and speak with survivors of the 2017 bombing there. The U.S. Embassy in Paris did the same for survivors of the 2018 Christmas market attack in Strasbourg, France. He also works closely with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Victims Assistance Teams to design innovative inter-agency global responses to communities impacted by mass casualty events.

“Dave’s work exemplifies citizen diplomacy at its best. His story of creating One World Strong to provide unique and mutual support to survivors across countries is inspiring, and shows the way that exchange can amplify the best in people, even in the face of trauma. WorldBoston is proud to have been part of Dave’s work, and to have him as an important community partner in ours,” says Mary Yntema, President & CEO of WorldBoston.

Because of his accomplishments in furthering the cause of international understanding and global engagement, and for the demonstrated impact of his work locally and internationally, Global Ties U.S. is honored to name Dave Fortier the 2020 recipient of the Citizen Diplomat Award. He will deliver acceptance remarks at the 2020 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting this January 22-25 at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, DC


For Global Ties U.S., contact Daniel Bremer-Wirtig, Director of External Affairs,
For WorldBoston, contact Sarah Sibley, VP Citizen Diplomacy,