Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund

CLOSED: 2022 Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund

Application Open Date
hursday, February 17

Application Close Date
Wednesday, March 30

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 2022 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,
  • Protecting the environment,
  • Bolstering outreach to underserved communities,
  • Building community through arts, sports, language, and technology and/or,
  • 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 via the “U.S. Alumni Tab ” on alumni.state.govProjects may be carried out virtually, in the United States or its territories, or overseas only when appropriate and in accordance with national and local guidance on COVID-19 safety. 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 30, 2022. Please read below for more details about the 2022 CDAF competition and how to register or verify your alumni status with the International Exchange Alumni network on

How to Apply

Start by making sure you are registered in the International Exchange Alumni network on If you have trouble renewing or establishing your account, fill out the account inquiry form at

Need an account? Email with the subject line: Account Registration – CDAF 2022.


  • Projects must be submitted by teams of two or more exchange alumni of U.S. government sponsored programs. See the list of eligible programs here.
  • 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.
  • All team members must have their International Exchange Alumni account verified and activated on

Competition Project Themes

Strengthening Democratic Institutions

Projects strengthen democratic institutions to counter authoritarianism, empower citizens, 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. Project may include initiatives to support conservation, boost recycling and reduce waste, empower farmers to strengthen sustainable farming practices, introduce outdoorsmanship skills and connect communities to their environment, or (re)develop local economies through environmental cleanup and investment in newer, greener jobs.

Bolstering Outreach to Underserved Communities

Projects may include initiatives to promote international exchange opportunities at underrepresented institutions (HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs, community colleges), connect youth outside of major urban centers or in rural areas with their peers around the world, strengthen understanding of the benefits of international exchange, empower minority populations and refugees, or foster the skills necessary to compete on a global stage.

Building 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.

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 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 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 2022 Resources

Access the application on under the U.S. Alumni Tab

CDAF Informational Webinar (February 15, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. ET)

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

View recording here

CDAF Team Networking (February 23, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. ET)

During this webinar, we discussed the 2022 CDAF team structure and thematic content. Participants had the chance to meet other alumni and connect around shared interests.

View recording here

CDAF Open Office Hours

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

  • March 1 at 12:00 p.m. ET | Register here
  • March 14 at 4:00 p.m. ET | Register here
  • March 28 at 5:00 p.m. ET | Register here

CDAF 2022 Competition Timeline

Tuesday, February 15CDAF 2022 Informational Webinar
Thursday, February 17 at 12:00 a.m. ET (midnight)The competition opens! All team members must have their account activated. Alumni may start submitting proposals and budgets.
Wednesday, February 23 at 5:30 p.m. ETCDAF Team Member Matching - Networking webinar
Tuesday, March 1 at 12:00 p.m. ET (noon)CDAF Open Office Hour
Monday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m. ETCDAF Open Office Hour
Monday, March 28 at 5:00 p.m. ETFinal Open Office Hour
Wednesday, March 30 at 11:59 p.m. ETCDAF Application Deadline

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 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.