Exchange Matters / February 27, 2018

Looking Back and Ahead to the 2019 National Meeting

Interviews by Lola Pak, Program Manager, Communications & Marketing, Global Ties U.S.

As the 2018 National Meeting comes to a close, we look ahead to 2019. Who better to gain insight from than the leaders of the Planning Committee? We spoke with Courtney Brooks, Executive Director of Global Ties KC, and Tim Horgan, Associate Director of the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, to get their perspectives on what lies ahead for the National Meeting.


This was a busy year for you, both personally and professionally. How was it leading the 2018 National Meeting Planning Committee in the midst of all that?

Planning for the 2018 National Meeting at the same time as welcoming my first child into the world really put life into perspective. Through our programs, we are helping artists create, fighting human trafficking, and building international relationships that will affect global decisions for decades to come. Not many people can say that about their work, and I’m proud to be a part of this network, creating a better future for my son.

In your opinion, what value does the National Meeting provide for members of the Global Ties Network?

The National Meeting is the one time that we get to come together as a full network in person. It’s so easy to feel like we are working alone. This is a time for us to exchange stories, best practices in programming, and remind ourselves that we are all in this together.

What were some of the differences you experienced with the National Meeting as Chair of the Planning Committee and as an attendee?

As Chair, I was able to see all the hard work that goes in behind the scenes. The staff of Global Ties U.S. and U.S. Department of State that put the event together place great thought into each aspect of the event.

Got any advice for the Chair for the 2019 National Meeting Planning Committee?

My biggest piece of advice would be to lean on the expertise of the Network. I wish him the best of luck!


You’re the next Chair of the National Meeting Planning Committee. Why did you volunteer for the role?

First, I want to thank the Global Ties Network for selecting me as Chair. I wanted to bring my unique perspective as a programmer and lead the National Meeting in a year of change and growth.

Why did you join the international exchange field?

I joined the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire as a way to gain experience and to parlay my degree in Latin American studies into something international. When I was assigned to the IVLP and told to figure it out, I immediately saw the potential
for growth in my home state. This was an opportunity for people to learn about different countries without leaving the state. To think that people from over 170 different countries have come in contact with little New Hampshire boggles my mind.

In your opinion, what value does the National Meeting provide for members of the Global Ties Network?

The National Meeting is an invaluable experience, whether you are just starting out in the Network or have been involved for decades. I still remember my first National Meeting in 2010 and how helpful it was. I had been on the job for a couple of months and had no idea what I was doing. The sessions were so useful in understanding how to do programming and make a stellar experience for our groups. I still find interesting sessions on ways to manage time, create programs, and above all, network with my colleagues and counterparts in person. It is particularly helpful in dispelling the image of me as a 50-year-old man due to my email writing style!

How would you like to see the National Meeting grow and improve for the Network?

I would love to see the National Meeting become more interactive in terms of sessions. As programmers, we are always told to find creative ways to enhance the experience [for visitors], rather than having them sit in conference rooms all day. Also, keeping the balance between networking time and sessions is important.


Get involved now by helping us brainstorm the 2019 theme and submitting sessions proposals.