Announcements / January 29, 2024

2024 Photo Contest

Congratulations to the following individuals for their stellar images capturing the spirit and impact of international exchange programs. These eight photos were recognized by the 2024 Photo Contest Review Committee—Erica Ginsberg, Meridian International Center; Lillian Mattiaccio, MCID Washington; Rachel Sunden, U.S. Department of State; and Angela Zheng, Global Ties U.S.—for their powerful depictions of citizen diplomacy and people-to-people engagement. Make sure to check out these images on display at the 2024 National Meeting; registration is open through Friday, February 23 HERE.

Best Overall Photo: Drumbeats of Change

This image captures a moment of joy and connection at the “Stories of Human Trafficking from Around the Globe” event as attendees from diverse backgrounds found common ground in the rhythm of drums. This gathering, organized by Global Ties Miami and sponsored by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, with special assistance from Commissioner Marleine Bastien, brought together IVLP visitors, local human trafficking advocates, and members of the Miami community. After an afternoon filled with deep discussions and personal stories from international experts addressing human trafficking, the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts invigorated our event, demonstrating their motto “Drumming is Universal.” This musical experience, woven into the fabric of the event, was a powerful reminder that despite our differences, we can unite to effect meaningful change. In the shared beats and melodies, our commitment to unity, cultural bridging, and collective action against one of the world’s most pressing challenges was vibrantly reaffirmed.

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)
Submitted by: Julia Totskaya, Communications Manager, Global Ties Miami

Best Community Service Photo: Smile for Diplomacy

YALI Mandela fellows had fun volunteering at FOCUS HOPE food drive with Global Ties Detroit staff. Fellows packed over 200 food boxes!

Exchange Program: YALI Mandela
Submitted by: Brianna Ramsey, Communications Coordinator, Global Ties Detroit

Most Artistic Photo: The Hotel California

Our amazing IVLPs Ali Zaki from Saudi Arabia and Eldar Gasimov, Eurovision 2011 Winner from Azerbaijan, performed the iconic “Hotel California” by the Eagles. This performance, set against the backdrop of the hotel sharing its name, was more than just a musical event. It was a fusion of nostalgia, music, and cultural exchange, creating an unforgettable experience when the world tunes in harmony.

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Music for Social Change
Submitted by: Kristina Yucel, Communications & Events Coordinator, International Citizen Diplomacy of Los Angeles (ICDLA)

Best Professional Meeting Photo: Governance

Global Ties Arizona proudly hosted a delegation addressing Transparency and Accountability in Government, gathering representatives from 21 countries. The group met with Arizona’s Secretary of State, Adrian Fontes, offering a focused perspective on the state’s initiatives and challenges in promoting openness and accountability.

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Transparency and Accountability in Government
Submitted by: Victoria Dowers, Coordinator, Program Operations & Communications, Global Ties Arizona

Best Community Connections Shot: A Gift for You

Home Hospitality in Winter Park, Florida with George and Judy Drewett. Elizabeth Drewett is receiving a gift from Yenten Jamtsho while Dorji Gyeltshen takes a picture.

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Strengthening Municipal Governance
Submitted by: Heather van Dyk, Project Manager, WorldOrlando

Best Home Hospitality Photo: Cross-Cultural Thanksgiving 

An international visitor from Togo presents gifts to his Thanksgiving dinner hosts in Plymouth, Massachusetts!

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Youth and Civic Engagement
Submitted by: Sarah Sibley, Vice President for Citizen Diplomacy, WorldBoston, Inc.
Photo provided by: Donald Brown, home hospitality host

Best Alumni Impact Photo: Framing Rights

Photographers and videographers gather in Abuja, Nigeria for a workshop on leveraging the tool of visual storytelling to raise awareness of human rights issues. This workshop is part of two-time IVLP Impact Awardee Osaze Efe’s project, which directly puts into practice the goal of his IVLP program: Promoting Social Change through the Arts.

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Promoting Social Change through the Arts
Submitted by: IVLP Collaborative Services, Meridian International Center
Photo provided by: Osaze Efe, IVLP alumnus and 2022 and 2023 IVLP Impact Award recipient

Honorable Mention: First Harvest 

Families from the Wit Santi indigenous community in Suriname have enjoyed their first harvest of vegetables from the community garden they created through Nuravni Sallons IVLP Impact Award project! Nuravni gained inspiration from her IVLP project “Climate and Energy Innovation in the Caribbean,” and used her project to train the community on Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) methods to decrease the impact that climate change is having on their food security.

Exchange Program: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Climate and Energy Innovation in the Caribbean
Submitted by: IVLP Collaborative Services, Meridian International Center
Photo provided by: Nurvani Sallons, IVLP alumna and 2023 IVLP Impact Award recipient