The Global Ties U.S. 2023 National Meeting took place March 29-31 and brought together more than 500 attendees from across the United States and abroad under the theme (Re)Building Community: Globally & Locally. It was a fitting theme to celebrate our international exchange community, as it also marked the return of our first in-person Emerging Leaders Program cohort for the first time in three years. This year’s cohort represented 10 U.S. communities, including Austin, Baltimore, Des Moines, and Huntsville. We were also thrilled to welcome several alumni of the 2021 and 2022 cohorts, in recognition of the in-person opportunities missed during the pandemic.
The National Meeting is a core networking and professional development opportunity for the Global Ties Network and our Emerging Leaders—globally-minded young professionals from across the United States and its territories who represent the future of international exchange and public diplomacy leadership. Check out some highlights in the photos below.
Pre-Event Opportunities: Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill
Emerging Leaders who arrived a day early joined their nominating Community-Based Members on the Hill to advocate for the importance of public diplomacy and international exchange. That evening, many of them met for the first time for a brief orientation and icebreaker before joining other attendees for events such as the First Timers Orientation and Rising Stars Happy Hour.
Time with Awardees: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A highlight of the National Meeting are the awards presentations, which this year included two Citizen Diplomat awardees: Justin Powell and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The USHMM treated the Emerging Leaders and Justin to a private tour of the Americans in the Holocaust exhibit, curating their visit to highlight how the U.S. responded to the Holocaust from the individual to government levels by each state represented by the group.
National Meeting activities continued into the evening at receptions hosted in historic venues around DC. The Emerging Leaders enjoyed a night out at Meridian House, networking with many other National Meeting attendees, including many of the donors who make the Emerging Leaders Program possible.
Emerging Leaders Showcase
The Emerging Leaders got to take over Arlington Foyer to discuss their community service projects, career goals, and more with National Meeting attendees. This was the first Showcase in the history of the Emerging Leaders Program, and provided a fantastic opportunity to build community and connections among our international exchange network.
Shared Stephanie Stan (pictured below) of her experience at the National Meeting, “The 2023 National Meeting facilitated building and (re)building community ties through engaging conversations and panels. (Re)connecting with colleagues in the Network after years of virtual interactions, while making new connections and learning about current topics, programming, challenges, and upcoming solutions in international exchanges and diplomacy was reinvigorating for my love of foreign affairs and building person-to-person connections locally and across borders.”
Talk with an Ambassador
Ambassador Barbara Stephenson spoke with the Emerging Leaders about her 30-year career as a U.S. diplomat, giving insight into her career and providing advice to the Emerging Leaders as they begin and continue their professional journeys.
Reflection and Goodbyes
To close out the week, the Emerging Leaders gathered for some quiet reflection in our inaugural National Meeting Peace Lounge, reflecting on their experiences at the National Meeting and their time together in Washington, DC. Here’s what some had to say about their experiences:
“All communities are built with shared experiences and shared purpose, and the National Meeting helped us find both. The experiences we shared included several meals, interactive discussions, and lively receptions. And, as a result of these conversations, I came to understand that there are countless people with the same mission of bringing people together, embracing our differences, and celebrating humanity.” – Cole Chism, 2023 Emerging Leader
“I learned a lot about this incredible Network and how all the pieces come together. It was amazing to meet and network with participants from all over the country. I was able to learn what they do and be inspired by them.” – Starr Davis, 2021 Emerging Leader
The Emerging Leaders Program will continue throughout the year with a series of virtual professional development workshops and networking opportunities as the 2023 cohort works to complete their service projects.