Exchange Matters / January 8, 2021

The Leadership Corner: January 2021

Dear Global Ties U.S. Network,

All of us at Global Ties U.S. are deeply heartbroken by Wednesday’s traumatizing events and the loss of life at the U.S. Capitol. Thankfully, our team members were safe at home in the Washington area. But, like all of you, we watched with disbelief the violence and blatant assault on our values through an act of insurrection. The Capitol is a building that we revere, a sacred space, and a symbol of democracy worldwide. January 6, 2021 demonstrated in technicolor to us – and to the world – how fragile democracy can be.

We are grateful that the institutions of U.S. democracy prevailed. But we also recognize that this has happened after an already difficult year when we’ve been coping with the largest global health crisis in a century, and horrifying acts of violence against our fellow citizens of color. These concurrent realities have been painful and deeply exhausting.

They’ve also laid bare our resiliency. Each of you in the Global Ties Network has demonstrated remarkable strength this last year to keep your missions alive, despite incredible professional and personal challenges. Moving into 2021, our collective work will be even more critical. As public diplomacy and international exchange professionals, we build relationships and partnerships. In essence, we build trust between the world and the United States, providing a foundation for the alliances and agreements that help our country and communities tackle tough challenges. When the world’s emerging leaders visit your cities, they also experience first-hand U.S. pluralism and diversity, and they see the strength of U.S. institutions and civil society. Most of all, your individual authenticity and openness encapsulates the United States and leaves visitors with a lasting impression of our country’s enduring values.

2021 is Global Ties U.S.’s 60th anniversary year. After these difficult few months especially, we will be celebrating you with joy and with hope, knowing that you are building the trust we need in your communities and abroad. We also vow to expand our member services to support your missions and work to increase the scale of much-needed international exchanges. Thank you for all that you do.

All the best,