Exchange Matters / December 24, 2019

The 2020 National Meeting is for Everyone

By Sinead Alexander, Events Intern, Global Ties U.S.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—the National Meeting! The 2020 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting is quickly approaching in January. With just over a month left, now is the perfect time to start planning your schedule for the three-day event to make the most of your time in Washington, DC.

Under the theme “Faces of Exchange,” this year’s National Meeting offers over 50 sessions filled with opportunities to learn from those who shape exchange programs from the community level to the federal government, both within and outside of the United States. We also hope that you share your excitement for exchanges with your Member of Congress during Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 22.

To assist you in maximizing your National Meeting experience, we break down the sessions into three main tracks:


For those working on the day-to-day aspects of exchange programs, start on Wednesday with the Citizen Exchange Circle Trainings for Community-Based Members (CBMs) and National Program Agencies (NPAs). On Thursday, register for the foreign policy briefings led by those who work on the policies that influence exchange programming projects, and gain behind-the-scenes insight into how the International Visitor Leadership Program comes together. On Friday, learn how to create impactful exchange experiences at the session “The Arc of Programming: Co-creating Impactful Exchange Experiences.” We also recommend sessions that give you insight into the work of Interpreters and Liaisons such as “A Day in the Life” and “License to I/L.” Later, gather to talk about the highs, lows, and everything in between during a CBM-only Town Hall. On Saturday, learn how to improve your photography and video skills, and educate yourself on programming for visitors with disabilities.


For those in leadership positions, you will have a full agenda: from meeting with your Members of Congress at Wednesday’s Capitol Hill Day session to absorbing tips on public relations on Saturday. On Thursday, discover how to build stronger teams through our sessions on “Building Resiliency,” “Diversity: Getting Real about Race and Privilege in the 21st Century,” and “Inclusion: Putting Diversity to Work.” On Friday, contribute your ideas to the future of IVLP in the session “Past, Present & Future: 80 Years of Innovation” and develop your leadership skills in the “The Leader in Us All” sessions. By the end of the National Meeting, you will walk away with a bigger picture of international exchanges as a tool for U.S. foreign policy and a list of contacts across the Global Ties Network.


For board members seeking improvement and insight on helping organizations reach their strategic goals, you can also expect to learn different ways to expand your mission. Start with the “Board Member Orientation” on Wednesday. On Thursday, deepen your understanding of U.S. foreign policy and how it impacts exchange program topics. Later, learn how cities are selected to host an IVLP project. Build your outreach by connecting with alumni of organizations like AFS-USA and the Peace Corps at the “Engaging the Choir” flash chat on Friday. Learn more about the last 80 years of IVLP and what is to come in “Past, Present, & Future: 80 Years of Innovation.” End on Saturday by sharing your insights at the “Your Board Director’s Role” session and tips on effective lines of communication with staff.

If you work on international exchanges, the 2020 National Meeting is the place to be this January. Don’t miss out this major conference that unites government, nonprofits, and the private sector focused on public diplomacy. Registration for the 2020 National Meeting is open until January 10.