Exchange Matters / September 1, 2017

Spotlight on New Mexico: DBH Summit & IVLP Learning Lab

By Jelena Putre, Senior Program Manger, Member Relations & Grants, Global Ties U.S., and Franziska (Franzi) Rook, Senior Program Manager, Member Education, Global Ties U.S.

From August 3 to 4, Global Ties Network members gathered in New Mexico to discuss trending topics in economic development, entrepreneurship, and international exchanges. Global Ties ABQ, in partnership with the Santa Fe Council on International Relations, hosted the two-day program, which included a Diplomacy Begins Here (DBH) Regional Summit—the second of four Summits organized by Global Ties U.S., the U.S. Department of State, and Community-Based Members—and the first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Learning Lab.

The week’s programming kicked off on Thursday, August 3 with the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Summit, hosted by Global Ties ABQ, a Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Member, focused on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development along the El Camino Real and Beyond,

In attendance were more than 190 participants representing local and regional entrepreneurs, emerging leaders, government and nonprofit representatives, university professors, exchange program professionals, and IVLP participants. Summit attendees had a unique opportunity to learn about the region’s opportunities and challenges in economic development, entrepreneurship, and maintaining strong cross-border relations along the El Camino Real trade route, which since the late 16th century, has played a significant role in the region’s multicultural development and creative achievements.

The Summit began with an energetic performance by the Sky City Buffalo Elk Dance Group from Acoma Pueblo. The performance was followed by opening remarks from Stacy White, Director of the Office of International Visitors (OIV) at the U.S. Department of State, and Richard Engstrom, Vice President of Global Ties ABQ.

Stacy emphasized that “diplomacy begins with every person you meet,” and that face-to-face exchanges were an indispensable part of public diplomacy. U.S. Senator Tom Udall, who addressed the audience in a recorded video message, stated that “the relationship with our southern neighbors is crucial for New Mexico.”

Geraldine Mlynarz, IVLP Gold Star alumna from Chile and CEO of the biotechnology company ActivaQ, shared her experience as an IVLP participant and how it helped her launch her cross-border organization Mujer Apoya Mujer (Women Helping Women). The panel Creating Impact and Economic Empowerment Through Social Entrepreneurship, featured social justice lawyer and IVLP Gold Star alumna Chigozie “Gozie” Udemezue from Nigeria who spoke about her law firm’s works with community leaders on cultural reforms. The audience had a unique opportunity to learn about social enterprise and explore how the intersection of community and public diplomacy can help aspiring entrepreneurs realize their full potential.

The keynote was delivered by Gary Oppendahl, director of the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department. Gary captivated the audience with his inspiring message of “know yourself to lead yourself,” and how it is through self-awareness that one can achieve excellence in professional and personal development. Manuel Montoya, professor of international management at the University of New Mexico, spoke about New Mexico’s place in global affairs, and described the region as an “enchantment economy” due to its rich history of trade and development opportunities along the El Camino Real.

In addition to the keynotes and panel sessions, DBH Albuquerque also featured a Student Track designed specifically for youth participants. Topics covered in these sessions offered a special opportunity for high school and undergraduate students to explore the challenges faced by refugee entrepreneurs in New Mexico, and to learn about living and working in Latin America. Summit attendees also enjoyed networking opportunities between program sessions and during the closing reception to establish new relationships, forge partnerships and exchange ideas.

The Summit concluded with remarks from Jennifer Clinton, President of Global Ties U.S., Adelle Lees, Executive Director of Global Ties ABQ, and Stacy White, Director of OIV. A passionate flamenco performance, representing the region’s multicultural heritage along both sides of the El Camino Real, closed out the Summit.

On August 4, the Santa Fe Council for International Relations, a Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Member, hosted the first IVLP Learning Lab for Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Members, National Program Agencies, and OIV program officers. The program was divided into two tracks—executive leadership and programmers—with participants attending sessions from either or both tracks; session topics included business development and revenue diversification, programming innovation, and proposal writing process.
The full-day IVLP Learning Lab engaged participants in an intensive exchange of best practices, challenges, and ideas, and was an outstanding forum for IVLP actors to discuss new and innovative ways to refine IVLP program delivery and to improve nonprofit management across the United States.

Global Ties U.S. introduced the IVLP Learning Lab as a new Global Ties Network learning opportunity in 2017 in response to the needs of CBMs. The positive feedback from the first IVLP Learning Lab in Santa Fe will be used for enhancement and calibration of the next iteration, taking place in Portland, Oregon on December 1, 2017.