Exchange Matters / February 27, 2018

A Tribute to John S. Gibson, Former President of Global Ties U.S., (1926-2017)

Article by Michelle Utter, Communications Consultant, Global Ties U.S.

In January, Tufts University announced that John S. Gibson, professor emeritus of political science who also served as president of Global Ties U.S. (formerly the National Council of International Visitors) from 1979-1980, had died.

Gibson had been associated with the International Visitor Program (currently known as the International Visitor Leadership Program) since 1949. In addition to leading several community-based organizations, he was also involved in building the national organization COSERV (which eventually became NCIV, then Global Ties U.S.), which would oversee the network of nonprofits around the country involved in the hosting and programming of international visitors to the United States.

“Dr. Gibson made lifelong contributions to the Global Ties Network,” said Sherry Mueller, former executive director of Global Ties U.S. (1996-2011). “He was totally committed to the values the Global Ties Network embraces, embodying them in both his professional and personal life.”

She also shared a personal anecdote: “When I became Executive Director in 1996, I invited John to write the history of the founding of NCIV and placed him next to board member Nancy Reed (then head of our member organization in San Diego). Six weeks later, they called with news of their engagement—just one of many times our Network served as matchmaker.”

The Global Ties Network is indebted to his work and contribution to the field of citizen diplomacy and exchange.

John S. Gibson – A Lifetime of Building the Network: 

  • 1949-1950:
    • Interned at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs while attending graduate school at Western Reserve University. He was assigned to the newly established International Visitor Program.
  • 1952-1954:
    • Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Rhode Island.
  • 1954-1957:
    • Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Boston.
  • 1963:
    • Began teaching international law and relations and public diplomacy at the Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy at Tufts University until his retirement in May 1995.
  • 1975-1980:
    • Executive Vice President of Boston Council for International Visitors.
  • 1976-1981:
    • Joined the Board of Directors for the National Council for Community Services to International Visitors (COSERV).
  • 1979:
    • COSERV becomes the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) on October 1. During this time, he authored the study “The United States International Visitor Program: Strengthening the Community Organization” while on sabbatical. The report aimed to address financial concerns of NCIV and its member organizations (then referred to as local sponsoring agencies, or LSAs), mainly in terms of raising funds and volunteer participation.
  • 1979-1980:
    • President of COSERV during its transition to NCIV.