On behalf of the 2023 National Meeting Planning Committee, Global Ties U.S., and the Office of International Visitors, I am delighted to welcome you to this year’s National Meeting. Following another dynamic year for our Network, I look forward to strengthening our shared global missions and celebrating the incredible achievements of our colleagues and program participants as we all gather this week in Washington, DC.
We have all become well-acquainted with resilience and change – and have risen to the challenge! Since many of us last gathered, we have re-welcomed international visitors to our offices, our homes, and our communities, in person again for the first time since March 2020. We have called upon our longtime supporters to rejoin our efforts and expanded our outreach to introduce new volunteers to the importance of our work. We have also said farewell to dear colleagues and welcomed new ones with enthusiasm. And together, we are (Re)Building Community: Globally & Locally.
This year, we will have ample opportunities to sharpen the tools in our programming toolbox. Sessions will cover everything from DEIA organizational change and strategic cultural engagement, to team communication, succession planning, project management, and much more! Over 30 workshops and sessions will support our efforts to not only restore but also enrich the worldwide connections that we make every day.
Outside of these sessions, there are also many chances to connect with your counterparts, meet old friends, and make new ones. There will be opportunities to break the ice with your fellow attendees, chat about the place you call home, or discuss your favorite TV show in another language. Just like our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) projects, we know that the core learning and exchange happens at site visits and conference tables, but that the personal connections are formed at the dinner table and coffee breaks. We know you will find and rebuild your own community while you are here.
Across sectors and across the world, many of our international visitors are rebuilding, too. Our programs are an invaluable forum to share challenges, seek advice, and inspire change. Likewise, the IVLP is an amazing tool for shaping our own communities and making them better places to live. Our schools, our businesses, and our governments all benefit from conversing with our visitors and sharing in their expertise. As we reach out to our community members for the IVLP Impact Study, I am excited to learn more about the impact of international exchange at home.
Looking at the week ahead,, a big thanks goes to our National Planning Committee members for sharing their passion and dedication to making this a memorable experience. To friends across the country, I cannot wait to see you! And lastly, but most especially, to our newcomers and first-timers, welcome. I am especially excited and grateful that you are here, and I look forward to talking with you this week. See you soon!
Director of IVLP and Professional Exchanges
Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia – operating jointly with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia