Exchange Matters / October 8, 2021

Global Ties Network DEIA Working Group Announces Mission Statement

In May 2021, the Global Ties Network’s first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Working Group was established with 20 members representing eight National Program Agencies, 11 Community-Based Members, and one representative from the Office of International Visitors at the U.S. Department of State. The DEIA Working Group is a community of practice, and will be an iterative, ongoing resource for the Global Ties Network. Representatives are from small, mid-sized, and larger member organizations across the country and have a range of experiences with the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), and other international exchange and public diplomacy programs.

This inaugural group, listed below, will work through 2022 and is thrilled to share this mission statement, adopted by consensus at the September meeting:

Mission Statement of the DEIA Working Group
The mission of the Global Ties Network Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Working Group is to ensure that the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other international exchange programs are inclusive of individuals and resources that represent the diversity of U.S. communities, especially those that have been historically under- and misrepresented. In order to reach the full potential of exchange, multicultural communication, and diplomacy, we will work to improve communications; education; organizational structures and operations; as well as programming methods for the Global Ties Network with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Consistent with the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State, we define diversity to encompass differences including race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic origin, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We also define it as people of diverse opinions, perspectives, lifestyles, ideas, and thinking. We believe that diversity holds the full breadth of lived experience in the United States, and all of the complex histories that have contributed and continue to contribute to the evolving society that we are today. Although all of the factors that help define diversity are important, it is our goal to immediately address racial justice.

We believe it is our responsibility, in crafting and implementing international exchange programs and building international exchange organizations, to share the United States of America as it is and has been, and to lift up and include voices that have traditionally been marginalized and excluded from international engagement, while acknowledging that the many elements that construct our diverse cultural landscape intersect with and influence one another. Public diplomacy and citizen diplomacy, seek to build relationships, founded on trust, between people of different cultures, countries, and circumstances. To do so authentically, we must be committed to sharing the actual lived realities of people in the United States, in all of their complexity and diversity, with people from around the world, and, in our ‘gatekeeper’ roles, do our utmost to do so equitably so that all can feel accepted, welcome, and encouraged to participate, collaborate, engage, and be a part of honest exchange.

2021-2022 Global Ties Network DEIA Working Group Members
Akintunde Akinmade, Graduate School USA
Mathilde Andrade, Office of International Visitors, U.S. Department of State
Janine Branch, FHI 360
Jennifer Batton, Global Ties Akron
Andrea Castillo, WorldOregon
Amy Alice Chastain, Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC)
Euri Huggins, Institute of International Education
Crystal Kelch, MCID Washington
Andrew Kovach, Cleveland Council on World Affairs
Nilufer Leuthold, Northern Nevada International Center
Jodi Michaels, Global Ties Kalamazoo
Jacqueline Miller, World Affairs Council – Seattle, and Global Ties U.S. Board Chair
Yuriria Morales, Global Ties ABQ
Michael Richardson, Dacotah Territory International Visitor Program
Solomon Self, Meridian International Center
Rebecca Taylor, CRDF Global
Steven Washington, Cultural Vistas
Mary Yntema, WorldBoston
Anthony Zaun, World Learning
Xiao Yin Zhao, World Affairs Council – Kentucky & Southern Indiana