Exchange Matters / August 22, 2018

The Leadership Corner: July-August 2018

Katherine (right) engages Ambassadors Jennifer Zimdahl Galt and Heather Hodges at the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit: Cleveland in June. Photo credit: David Honeycutt

Dear Global Ties U.S. Members and Supporters,

I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer! It has been busier than usual for us at Global Ties U.S., but we are excited for the next six months as we gather our community at several upcoming events: the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summits in August and November; the National Programmer’s Workshop in November; and the National Meeting in January.

Over the past few months, I’ve continued to travel and visit several members of the Global Ties Network, including those in Detroit, MI; Akron and Cleveland, OH; Atlanta, GA; Huntsville, AL; Manchester, NH; Boston, MA; and soon, Charlotte, NC.

Throughout these visits, I gained a deeper sense of how we can better support the Network during exceptionally challenging times, especially in regards to federal funding. The discussions have taught me how critical it is to help the Network diversify funding so that we can continue delivering exchange and other public diplomacy programs more effectively.

Another way I believe we can strengthen our Network is to continue telling the story of our community and its local and global impact. I was thrilled to see Community-Based Members Jim Byrum from the Columbia Council for Internationals, and Joseph Jastrzembski from the Minot Area Council for International Visitors, gain global recognition in The Economist this past July in the article “The Real Ambassadors: Meet America’s Home Diplomats.” It was a fantastic tribute to the extraordinary work you all do to create a deeper understanding of the United States. The more people understand why exchanges matter, the better we can build public support for our work.

Which is why I couldn’t be happier congratulating Carol Grabauskas, Deputy Director of the Office of International Visitors at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, on her retirement. As someone who has led the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) community for more than 30 years, Carol is a champion for the Global Ties Network, especially for smaller Community-Based Members who welcome more than 5,000 International Visitors into their homes and communities each year. It is difficult to imagine the IVLP without her stewardship, enthusiasm, and keen wisdom. I wish her the best of luck in retirement and hope she will stick close to the exchange community!

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous loss of Maura O’Donnell-McCarthy, the fearless leader of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. As many of you know, she passed away in July soon after leading a successful Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit in Cleveland. As Global Ties U.S. Board Chair Jacquelyn Shipe said, “Maura epitomized excellence in leadership and collaboration.” Among other things, she was deeply committed to engaging youth in global issues and encouraging them to pursue international service careers. Maura was an inspiration to many of us. We will miss her deeply and continue to hold the CCWA team in our thoughts.


Katherine Brown, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Global Ties U.S.