Exchange Matters / February 27, 2018

The Leadership Corner: Jacquelyn G. Shipe, Chair, Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors

In my time as Chair of the Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors, I find myself continuously marveling at the global interconnectedness of our Network. From Community-Based Members (CBMs) hosting International Visitors in their homes to our partners at the U.S. Department of State, our collective work as citizen diplomats continues to impact both individuals and communities worldwide.

I experienced this again at the National Meeting this past month in Washington, DC. Upon arriving at Reagan National Airport, my adrenaline rose as I greeted my CBM and National Program Agency colleagues, Global Ties U.S. board members, IVLP alumni, and more. Hearing the speeches by Sophie Lamprou, our winner of the IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change, and Mohamed Amin Ahmed, our Citizen Diplomat Award winner, reminded me of the inspirational quote by Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Jacqui with Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés of Chile (left) and his wife Antonia Echenique Celis at the Chilean embassy evening reception.


Engaging with members of the international diplomatic corps took this interconnectedness to another level. During the National Meeting I attended evening receptions generously hosted by the embassies of Chile, Croatia, the European Union, and Singapore; all affirmed the importance of their relationship with the United States and how crucial peopleto-people exchanges are in maintaining and furthering these global ties. Others demonstrated their commitment to exchanges at the Ambassador’s Luncheon where they heard from leaders in the Global Ties Network and the accomplishments of IVLP alumni. By inviting, engaging, and promoting exchange, we broaden the goals of citizen diplomacy to include all groups of society, leading to a more peaceful, prosperous world.

As February is also Black History Month, I reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s thoughts on the interrelatedness of communities and states. From a Birmingham jail, he wrote: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Time and time again, we hear from exchange participants how similar everyday American life is to their lives back home: the significance of sharing meals together; the bond of cheering on the same sports team; the need to step up and lead when there are problems in our communities. Exchanges are the perfect tool to actualize this phenomenon of interrelatedness, whereby international visitors and U.S. citizens at every level continuously realize their similarities rather than their differences.

Jacqui and fellow Global Ties U.S. board members engage with youth at the Singapore embassy reception.


This also brings to mind the African proverb: “I am because we are. We are because I am.” In this issue of ExchangeMatters, we highlight the 2018 National Meeting as a way to remember and celebrate the collective work of our Network in citizen diplomacy, from participants to programmers of exchange. I could not be more proud as a member of the Global Ties Network and look forward to continuing my service as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Yours in global service, Jacqui Shipe

Photo credit: A.E. Landes Photography