Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund

2023 Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund

2023 application closed Wednesday, March 15

Are you an alumni of a U.S. government sponsored exchange program ready to use skills and knowledge gained during your exchange experience to create change? Do you have a great public service project in mind, but need funding to get it off the ground?

If you answered yes, then you could apply for – and win! – up to $10,000 through the 2023 Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni. The competition provides small grants to teams of two or more U.S. government-sponsored exchange alumni to carry out public service projects related to one of the following five themes:

  • Strengthening Democratic Institutions & Fighting Disinformation
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Building Community Through Arts, Sports, Language, and Technology
  • Human Rights, Refugees, and Migrants
  • Fostering Alumni Network Development 

CDAF is a unique opportunity for alumni to use skills and knowledge learned during their exchange, connect with fellow alumni, and elevate their role as community leaders. Past participants have developed projects that promote media literacy education, build community resilience, foster alumni network development, and engage with issues such as climate change and sustainable development.

To apply: At least one team leader must be a U.S. citizen alum, and this individual will be responsible for accessing the proposal form. Projects may be carried out virtually, in the United States or its territories, or internationally. If the project is proposed to take place overseas, at least one of the team leaders must have direct international exchange experience in that community. All teams must describe the specific actions they will take to limit the spread of COVID-19 during project implementation.

Applications closed Wednesday, March 15, 2023.


  • Projects must be submitted by teams of two or more exchange alumni of U.S. government sponsored programs. See a list of eligible programs here (note: this is not a comprehensive list of eligible programs).
  • Each team must comprise at least one U.S. citizen exchange alum and either one U.S. OR international citizen alum of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.
  • The primary project team lead (Team Lead 1) must be a U.S. citizen alum over age 18.

Competition Project Themes

Strengthening Democratic Institutions & Fighting Disinformation

Projects strengthen democratic institutions to counter authoritarianism, empower citizens, fight disinformation, and foster a strong civil society. Projects may include initiatives to instill confidence in free and fair elections, combat corruption, support a free and independent media, strengthen media literacy education to counter disinformation, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, or increase the civic participation of women and marginalized communities.

Protecting the Environment

Projects support healthy, environmentally conscious populations by strengthening education, increasing understanding, and fostering sustainable practices. Projects may include initiatives to support conservation, boost recycling and reduce waste, empower farmers to strengthen sustainable farming practices, introduce outdoorsmanship skills, connect communities to their environment, or (re)develop local economies through environmental cleanup and investment in newer, greener jobs. Projects may look at tackling critical energy issues both in the United States and around the world, proposing bold ideas and strategies to address the growing energy crisis. 

Bolstering Community Through Arts, Sports, Language, and Technology

Projects foster strong civic engagement by strengthening education, economic empowerment, peace building, or community resilience through programs using new technology, the arts, sports, and language. Projects may include initiatives to promote self-expression, foster mutual understanding, support mentorship programs for aspiring artists and athletes, increase access to language classes and foster cross-cultural communication, develop educational and civic engagement opportunities for minority, refugee, and indigenous language communities, and integrate new technologies into communal spaces and public engagement.  

Human Rights, Refugees, and Migrants 

Projects should support the needs of refugees, migrants, and those facing human rights abuses around the world. Projects may establish supportive programming to alleviate stressors, tackle challenges, give voice to the voiceless, and shine a light on difficult situations. Projects are encouraged to seek outside support to raise awareness and provide appropriate, adequate, and helpful assistance in each situation. For certain projects, teams should be prepared to work closely with U.S. Embassies around the world. 

Fostering Alumni Network Development

Projects extend the impact of international exchanges by building lasting networks, providing mentorship opportunities, sharing alumni stories, and advancing the professional development of alumni. Projects must connect alumni from multiple exchange program and should create permanent networks that outlive the grant period. Projects should be sure to include diverse representation, ensuring that alumni from historically underserved backgrounds are empowered and given opportunities. Projects may include initiatives to form local, regional, or affinity-based alumni associations that connect alumni with one another, share personal accounts of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, and strengthen the professional and academic development of U.S. citizen exchange program alumni. Grantees should expect to work closely with the Office of Alumni Affairs and program offices to reach key audiences and cross-promote alumni opportunities.

CDAF 2023 Resources

CDAF Informational Webinar (January 24 at 5:30 p.m. ET)

During this webinar, we provided an overview of CDAF, the five selected themes for this year’s projects, and the application components. Time was left at the end for any questions.

View recording

CDAF Team Networking (February 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET)

During this webinar, we will discuss the 2023 CDAF team structure and thematic content. Participants will have the chance to meet other alumni and connect around shared interests.

View recording

CDAF Project Alumni Panel (February 15 at 5:30 p.m. ET)  

Hear from past CDAF project participants on their project planning and implementation. We will leave plenty of time for attendee questions.

View recording

CDAF Open Office Hours

CDAF staff will hold three (3) office hours throughout February and March to answer any questions about the program and the application process (links to come):

More Information

Click here to see a page of Frequently Asked Questions.

Learn more about the winners of the Fall 2020 Competition.

Learn more about the winners of the Rapid Response CDAF Competition.




The Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and implemented by Global Ties U.S. in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.