Community of Practice for Diversity Statement

The Global Ties Network Community of Practice for Diversity (COPD) was established in May 2021 to convene representatives from member organizations across the country to reflect the diversity of U.S. communities, especially those that have been historically under- and misrepresented. COPD continues to be an iterative, ongoing resource for the Global Ties Network, and In April, by group consensus, refreshed its mission statement to more closely align with Congressional authority language for federal exchanges, and to more intentionally serve Global Ties Network members in their missions.

Mission Statement of the Community of Practice for Diversity 

The mission of the Global Ties Network’s Community of Practice for Diversity is to ensure that the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other international exchange programs meet the vision of its founding Congressional authorization to be representative of “the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life,” and to include individuals and resources that represent the diversity of U.S. communities, especially those that have been historically under- and misrepresented. To reach the full potential of these programs, we will work to improve communications, education, organizational structures, operations, and programming methods for the Global Ties Network regarding diversity to ensure that all people in the United States know they play an integral role in contributing to the success of international exchange programs.

Consistent with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State, we define diversity to encompass a range of social and ethnic backgrounds, 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.  

In crafting and implementing international exchange programs and in building organizations, we believe it is our responsibility to share the United States of America as it is and has been. We believe it is our responsibility to include and amplify voices traditionally 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 and citizen diplomacy seeks 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 their complexity and diversity, with people from around the world. We must do our utmost to ensure all feel accepted, welcomed, and encouraged to participate, collaborate, and engage in exchange programs that connect our world.