Exchange Matters / June 26, 2018

Our President Hits the Road

Throughout May and June, I had the opportunity to travel around the country and visit our members and partners to hear their stories.

This travel confirmed what a wonderfully diverse Network this is—I had the opportunity to speak with so many leaders and programmers in Akron, Chicago, DC, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco during my first two months as President and CEO. I look forward to connecting with many more of you at the Diplomacy Begins Here Summits, starting with Cleveland on June 28.

In Milwaukee, I met Al Durtka’s very talented team, which works largely on settling refugees in Wisconsin, and learned more about the history of the Global Ties Network. In Chicago, I attended WorldChicago’s spring fundraiser and met an inspiring group of professional fellows.

In Sacramento and San Francisco, I spent time with Kevin Mather and his team, where I learned more about their work with emerging leaders and the radical transformation of both cities. In San Diego, I spent time with Fabienne Perlov (on her birthday!) and saw the impact she and her team have on citizen diplomats in southern California, as well as future diplomats at the La Jolla Country Day School. Likewise in L.A., I met several local citizen diplomats and Janet Elliott’s wonderful team and board.

I left each city inspired by your work to promote international understanding through dialogue, public diplomacy, and exchanges. I feel more committed than ever to this extraordinary Network of citizen diplomacy leaders, and to helping you get the support you need to diversify revenue, strengthen public diplomacy initiatives, and scale the impact of international exchanges.

As ever, I feel incredibly privileged to be in this job.

— Katherine Brown, Ph.D.

“Global Minnesota was honored to host Katherine andintroduce her to the leaders in our community that make our state diverse and rich in resources. She received an overview of our programs and met local speakers Mohamed Amin Ahmed and Hanadi Chehabeddine to learn how they work tirelessly to foster an environment of peace and understanding among different faiths in Minnesota. She also toured the Minnesota capitol with former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Barry Anderson; met State Senator Sandra Pappas; and visited Minnehaha Falls. Throughout her time, Katherine listened to speakers, shared her vision for the Global Ties Network, and held candid conversations. We were delighted to get to know her and inspired by her leadership.” —Laurel Draine, Professional Exchanges, Manager, Global Minnesota


“Katherine joined us in Chicago on one of our busiest days of the year: the Spring Diplomacy Luncheon, our annual fundraiser. The event featured a panel of women entrepreneurs from Myanmar, Slovenia, Macedonia, and the Philippines who discussed
their home countries, their work, and their experiences in Chicago through the Professional Fellows Program. Katherine also shared a table with one of our Youth Diplomats, our high school program where students spend one Saturday a month with WorldChicago. It was great to have Katherine see our team in action! —Peggy Parfenoff, President, WorldChicago


Katherine met with Community-Based Member, International Institute of Wisconsin.


“We were delighted to welcome Katherine to L.A. We introduced her at our annual Citizen Diplomacy Celebration where she gave welcome remarks. Her genuine desire to learn about the Network and all the CBMs was appreciated and we deeply valued her commitment to more transparency and communication. We hope she got a little flavor of IVCLA during her brief visit. This vast, diverse network is a lot to process, but Katherine seems up for the task and eager to take it on.” —Janet Elliott, Executive Director, International Visitors Council of Los Angeles.


“What an honor to host Katherine in San Diego! She met with our team to share her vision for Global Ties U.S. She also spoke at our Annual Appreciation Reception about the important role our community of citizen diplomats play in building mutual understanding and fostering collaboration between the U.S. and other nations. Our Board of Directors, members, volunteers, and professional hosts were re-energized by her compelling story and experience in public diplomacy! She also took time to speak to 5th graders and their parents at the La Jolla Country Day School’s Global Community Day. She celebrated our young global citizens at work as they shared their research and creativity on how to solve global issues. A promise for the future!” —Fabienne Perlov, Executive Director, San Diego Diplomacy Council


Katherine visits Community-Based Members NorCalWTC in Sacramento and Global Ties San Francisco



Katherine visits Global Ties Akron, a Community-Based Member in Ohio.



Katherine will be in Cleveland to kick off the first Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit and Learning Lab for the year. The event is in partnership with the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, a Community-Based Member.


  • Atlanta, GA • July 20
  • Huntville, AL • July 22-24


Stay in the loop on Twitter @_KatherineBrown and @GlobalTiesUS.