Exchange Matters / April 9, 2024

Emerging Leaders at #GlobalTies2024 National Meeting

By Courtney Wade, Program Manager for Career Connections, Global Ties U.S. 

It’s hard to believe that, as of writing this, three weeks have passed since the Global Ties U.S. 2024 National Meeting. I have been fortunate to be part of three National Meetings now, and this is my second as the lead for our Emerging Leaders Program, a year-long professional development opportunity for rising public diplomacy and international exchange leaders. This year’s cohort represented 12 communities from across the Global Ties Network and marked the first time that programming aligned with the academic calendar. Emerging Leaders were nominated and selected in the fall, had already participated in virtual engagements, and had started or even completed their service projects by the time we met face-to-face in Washington, DC.  

National Meeting programming took place March 5-8, and focused on the theme, “Diplomacy in Action: Raising Community Voices.” This year we welcomed 10 of our 12 Emerging Leaders for a whirlwind of a week. Many of them flew in on Monday so they would be ready bright and early to join our Community-Based Members on the Hill for Advocacy Day. They joined meetings with members of Congress and Hill staffers to demonstrate the impact that this Network’s work has on their home states, and the importance of continuing to fund international exchange programs. 

Emerging Leaders discuss global careers with (from left) Ambassador Richard LeBaron, Aviva Rosenthal, Sharon Durtka, and Alexander Durtka. 

Mainstage National Meeting programming kicked off on Wednesday. In the opening plenary, three of our Emerging Leaders – Greg Pal, Abby Fowler, and Ty McGlynn – helped to introduce and present the first of the Global Ties U.S. 2024 Network Innovation Awards. On Wednesday afternoon, we broke away from the general activities and the Emerging Leaders had the opportunity to speak with several of our Global Ties U.S. Advisory Council members and longtime supporters of the Emerging Leaders Program: Ambassador Richard LeBaron, Aviva Rosenthal, Al Durtka, and Sharon Durtka. The Emerging Leaders particularly enjoyed learning about their career paths saying, “they had great insights into how to begin and steer your career” and “I learned a lot and found renewed motivation to take the Foreign Service Officer Test!”

Wednesday evening wrapped up with a reception at Studio Theatre in downtown Washington, DC, where the Emerging Leaders joined other invited guests for networking and a jazz performance presented by the DC Jazz Festival.  

Nine of the Emerging Leaders pictured with IVLP Awardee Zhengqing Qu in front of the Great Seal during the White House Tour.

Thursday featured another highlight of special Emerging Leaders programming – a White House Tour! We were joined by Zhengqing Qu, recipient of the Global Ties U.S. 2024 IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation & Change, for an early morning tour of the East Wing. Emerging Leaders snapped tons of photos and enjoyed a little time away from the bustle of the National Meeting. They returned by the afternoon, however, with plenty of time to enjoy substantive sessions before we all hopped on the bus for the U.S. Department of State Reception. This cohort of Emerging Leaders was the first in four years to attend a reception in the Ben Franklin Room on the top floor, and the experience was made even more special as they had the opportunity to connect with Assistant Secretary Lee Satterfield who oversees the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at State.

2024 Emerging Leaders pictured with Assistant Secretary Lee Satterfield following her remarks at the U.S. Department of State Reception. 

Friday began with our Emerging Leaders Networking Breakfast, where Emerging Leaders discussed their service projects, future goals, and more in small groups with the Network. Cohort-specific activities wrapped with some group photos in their Emerging Leaders jackets, and they were free to enjoy the rest of the last day alongside National Meeting attendees.

One last group photo with the 2024 Emerging Leaders wearing branded jackets. 

Overall, it was a fantastic week, and all made possible thanks to the support of our donors. To everyone who donated to our fundraising campaign or added a donation to their National Meeting registration – thank you! We are moving ever closer to our goal of being able to fully fund every Emerging Leaders trip to Washington, DC, and to eliminate any cost barrier to participating in the program. I’m so excited to see how we can grow and expand this experience, and to help build more connections between future cohorts of Emerging Leaders and all of you.