Exchange Matters / June 29, 2016

Tangible Value to Strategic Partnerships

The beauty of the Global Ties Network is not only its dedication and passion, but also the endless possibilities for strategic partnerships and collaboration. Partnerships are often the best vehicle for expanding our reach, enabling us to gain the skills or expertise we need, while introducing greater efficiencies into our operations.

By collaborating and partnering with local organizations, our network advances our nation’s public diplomacy agenda and involves local communities in foreign policy. However, an often underappreciated side effect of these partnerships is the concrete tangible impact they have on individual lives. Local partnerships have a global impact, and the partnership between the World Affairs of Kentucky & Southern Indiana and the Muhammad Ali Center exemplifies this.

In 2015, Hadiqa Bashir, only 13 years old, was honored at the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards for her conviction in dedicating her young life to the advocacy of women’s and girl’s rights against forced child marriage in Pakistan.

Ms. Hadiqa Bashir, the leader of Girls United for Human Rights, was honored with the Core Principle: Conviction award as part of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards. These awards “celebrate the greatness of people from around the world who make significant contributions to peace, social justice, or human rights.” Girls United for Human Rights’s mission is to empower girls to advocate and mobilize for gender equality and social justice. Nominator Erfaan Hussein Babak noted in his nomination that “she is working against injustice being done to young girls in Pakistan and fights an uphill battle against early and forced marriages by challenging patriarchy and strict cultural norms.” Mr. Erfaan learned about the Humanitarian Awards while participating in an exchange program through the Global Ties Network.

The Muhammad Ali Center has been a longtime partner of the World Affairs of Kentucky & Southern Indiana, even providing the venue space for the Diplomacy Begins Here summit last year. Through their strong partnership our Network was able to recognize Ms. Bashir on a global stage and elevate her work – all through the power of a strategic partnership.

Furthermore, 19 year old Natasha Mundkur, an intern working on International Visitor programs at the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana, recently spoke at Muhammad Ali’s funeral. Ms. Mudkur is a McConnell Scholar at the University of Louisville who volunteered with the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students. During her time at the Muhammad Ali Center she assisted in researching the concept of immigration and identifying ways in which to build awareness and promote acceptance and diversity within a business endeavor.

Throughout her speech at his funeral, she consistently touched on the important impact that Muhammad Ali and his guiding principles had on her life. By volunteering at both Ali Center and the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana, Ms. Mundkur was able to connect her work at both organizations, exemplifying their closely similar missions and helping develop the idea that these can be best realized through cooperation and partnerships.

Working together with the Ali Center, and other partners, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana, fulfilled their mission of educating the public on foreign affairs. In addition, they were also able to showcase and honor the critical work of individuals on a global stage. The worldwide resonance of Ms. Mundkur’s words is a true testament to the potential of such strategic partnerships. These relationships benefit our Network as a whole as they allow us to connect with individuals, businesses, and organizations to further foreign policy and public diplomacy initiatives at a local level. Beyond this, these concretely and positively impact lives by providing resources and guidance to those in need and in turn supporting those individuals in showcasing their experiences and ideas. By forging bonds and maintaining partnerships, the reach of the Global Ties U.S. Network can travel far.

By Jona Elwell and Ellie Solloway, Global Ties U.S.