Exchange Matters / March 29, 2023

2023 Photo Contest

Congratulations to the individuals whose exceptional photographs captured the spirit and importance of international exchange programs throughout the United States. The 2023 Photo Contest Judging Committee—Amerisa Kyriazis, FHI 360; Kristie Moore, Global Ties U.S.; Katerina Peifer, Office of International Visitors; and Hallie Skirpak Gordon, World Learning, selected these eight photos for their powerful depictions of citizen diplomacy and international exchange.

Best Overall: Fun For Everyone

International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants of the “A Global Moment in Time: Photojournalists Document Challenges and Opportunities in the COVID Era” have fun at a pumpkin patch in Minnesota.

Program: International Visitor Leadership Program – Global Moment in Time

Submitted by: Karlis Dambrans, IVLP participant

Best In-Person Professional Meeting Photo: The Situation Room

Jack Doutrich, Foreign Policy Advisor to North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, welcomed International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants to the NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters on Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado. The IVLP group, from Spain, discussed homeland defense initiatives and the importance of global integration, interagency collaboration, and deterrence in pursuit of homeland defense.

Program: International Visitor Leadership Program – U.S. European Security Issues

Submitted by: Shannon Payne, Program Manager, WorldDenver

Best Home Hospitality Photo: Best BBQ in the United States

Youth Ambassadors Program participants enjoy home hospitality in Kansas City, MO. Nothing says diplomacy like backyard barbeque. This is food diplomacy at its sauciest.

Program: Youth Ambassadors Program

Submitted by: Courtney Brooks, Executive Director, Global Ties KC

Best Outdoors Photo: Success at the Summit

All of our visitors get to experience Arkansas, The Natural State. Although we think our progamming takes each participant to new heights, sometimes Arkansas steals the show.

Program: Open World

Submitted by: Toni Carr, Executive Director, Global Ties Arkansas

Best Community Service Shot: Food Lifeline

The exchange program is like a journey of a thousand miles. As each day passes, you see, irrespective of the country you come from, your background, and your culture, that one thing brings us together and that is to learn. Working together while volunteering was one way to build self-esteem, teamwork, and resilience.

Program: Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Scholars Program

Submitted by: Yusuf Talatu, Student

Best Group Selfie Shot: Independence Day

We celebrated Independence Day as if it was our own festival. We got to meet so many people and we befriended the orchestra; there was dancing the whole day. This is a picture of people who feel at home.

Program: Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Scholars Program

Submitted by: Habeba Elshimy, Student

Best Action Shot: We’re All in This Together

On October 31, 2022, USA Pavilion Youth Ambassadors coordinated a Halloween flash mob in the Rocket Diner of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Under the life-size replica of the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, we wowed a crowd of international visitors with our rendition of “We’re All In This Together” from High School Musical. We were excited to bring this slice of U.S. culture to visitors from across the world at the first World’s Fair in the Middle East.

Program: USA Pavilion Youth Ambassadors Program – Expo 2020 Dubai

Submitted by: Kyla Denwood, Expo 2020 Dubai Youth Ambassador

Taken by: Jheel Patel, Expo 2020 Dubai Youth Ambassador

Most Artistic Shot: A Wall We Built Together

International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants enjoy a colorful moment at a local independent assisted living organization, and feel inspired to add to the designs on the wall.

Program: International Visitor Leadership Program – Diversity, Inclusion and Equality

Submitted by: Anise Jasman-Sayers, International Visitor Program Director, World Affairs Council of New Hampshire