Exchange Matters / January 4, 2018

Leadership Corner: Reflection and Determination

Daniel Valle, our Chief Operating Officer, reflects on the past year at Global Ties U.S. and looks ahead to 2018.

As 2017 has ended, we look back on all that has transpired within our organization and across the Global Ties Network. From hosting over 1,000 attendees at the National Meeting to launching our Learning Labs and new partnerships—not to mention the immense work done by the U.S. Department of State and the Board of Directors—it was a very busy and fruitful year.

With our next National Meeting just around the corner, there is no reason to anticipate that 2018 will begin any differently. Each year, it takes a small village to coordinate sessions and events for our members, international visitors, congressional and diplomatic representatives, and more. We are grateful to our Planning Committee and staff, who dedicate their time to make the National Meeting a worthwhile endeavor in supporting exchange programs.

Rebeca Gyumi (center), winner of the IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change, on stage with members of the Global Ties Network at the 2017 National Meeting.

2017 was also a clarion reminder that we must reaffirm the power of international exchanges for both individuals and our world. While the task of garnering and sustaining sufficient financial resources will never cease, there remains more to consider. How can we make exchange programs stronger and more relevant? How do we expand their impact in today’s ever-evolving and competitive world? Our theme for the 2018 National Meeting is Change through Exchange; we hope you will join us next month in Washington, DC to explore this and more.

We already know part of the solution involves increasing the strength of our member organizations. This is why we launched two Learning Labs this year in conjunction with the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summits. Through peer-topeer learning, our Network and partners got another opportunity to approach specific challenges in strengthening nonprofit capacity. Preliminary evaluations indicate that the Labs were well received, and we look forward to continuing them in 2018.

We also know that new ways of measuring the impact of exchanges are imperative. The environment for exchanges is not static; every nonprofit must continually strive to demonstrate their positive impact. This is why our partnership with the USC Center on Public Diplomacy to measure the impact of international visitors on local communities is so important. Further analysis will take place over the summer, at which point, results will be shared, so stay tuned.

Year-end is also a time to extend gratitude. Many of the activities just mentioned would not have been possible without our staff, which has evolved greatly over the past year. With new additions to the Global Ties U.S. team, we are now better equipped than ever before to serve our members and further support the work we all believe in deeply.

Lastly, please accept our thanks and gratitude for your partnership through all the trials any year can bring us. Together we are making our world—and this New Year—a better place. Happy 2018 and hope to see you soon.

Global Ties US Board of Directors Group 2

The 2018-2019 Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors meet at Global Ties U.S. offices. Photo credit: Cecilie Olaussen