Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund

Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund

The 2024 application cycle has closed.

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 2024 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 policy-inspired community service projects both in the United States and around the globe that increase the effectiveness of U.S. Department of State exchange programming and advance U.S. policy goals 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
  • Supporting Communities Impacted by Illicit Drugs

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.

The application has closed.

Project Inspiration

Want to learn more about CDAF from previous project teams? Our 2023 CDAF Project Showcase featured four grantees and their global impact. Watch the recording HERE. More resources and ideas are available on the side bar of this page.


  • 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, other programs include: Peace Corps, Boren, Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS), Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad and Faculty Research Abroad Fellows, and more).
  • 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. 

Supporting Communities Impacted by Illicit Drugs

Projects should raise awareness about the impact of illicit drugs in their communities, offer resources and aid to individuals impacted by illicit drugs, and engage with the community in order to combat the spread of illicit drug use. Projects might include awareness campaigns to educate individuals on the harm caused by illicit drugs, trainings on first-aid techniques related to drug overdoses, or after-school groups to provide enrichment activities and promote healthy lifestyles for youth and other target populations that might otherwise be tempted by illicit drugs.

CDAF 2024 Resources

CDAF Informational Webinar

During this webinar, we provided an overview of CDAF, the five selected themes for this year’s projects, and the application components. Access the recording HERE

Grant Proposal Writing Webinar

During this webinar, we covered components of the CDAF grant proposal application, and provided resources for deeper review of the proposal elements. Access the recording HERE

Team Networking Webinar

During this webinar, we discussed the 2024 CDAF team structure and thematic content. Participants met other alumni and connected around shared interests. Access the recording HERE

CDAF Project Alumni Panel

Past CDAF project participants spoke about their project planning and implementation experiences. Access the recording HERE.

More Information

Visit, click on the U.S. Alumni tab, and read detailed information pertaining to competition guidelines and requirements on the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF) page.

Click here to see a page of Frequently Asked Questions.

Learn more about the winners of the 2023 Competition.

Learn more about the winners of the 2022 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.