Exchange Matters / September 29, 2020

The Leadership Corner: July-September 2020

Hello Global Ties Community,

I hope this finds all of you safe and healthy, and that each of you found time for rest this summer. The summer of 2020 was extraordinary for our country and the world. It reminded me why the work that we collectively do, to build peace and prosperity through international exchange, is so essential for these times. At Global Ties U.S., we’ve been reimagining everything – the way we work each day, the programs we do, and how we communicate. I know that many of you are doing the same.

This fall, we’ll be working on three important, intersecting lines of effort. One is to help support the Community-Based Members pivot to the new virtual model for IVLP. This is an expanded scope of work for us that we embrace wholeheartedly. We started building expertise in virtual exchange at Global Ties U.S. over the last couple of years and we look forward to accelerating our work, and learning from our CBM and National Program Agency colleagues to ensure we’re highlighting the best practices as they evolve.

Another is to examine closely how we can improve our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts in our organizational and operational policies and practices, our programs, and our communications. We will be sharing the outcomes of our assessment and our ultimate strategy to ensure we continue to grow and improve. These efforts align and are critical to ensure we are modernizing our capacity for exchanges in a pandemic and post-pandemic world, and that we get better at ensuring we truly reflect the rich diversity of the United States.

Our third focus area is communications and advocacy. We launched the Citizen Diplomacy Map, the first of a series of storytelling initiatives we’ll undertake over the next year, on July 30 (you can read more about the project in the center-spread of this issue). It’s an extraordinary advocacy tool that showcases the impact of exchange programs on participants and the communities that host them. We’ll also be offering a Best Practices email and targeted trainings to help CBMs up-level their strategic communications and advocacy efforts.

Last, I hope you all take time to read the note from Anne Grimes, Director of Office of International Visitors at the U.S. Department of State, and one of her new deputies, Ali Baskey. Anne and Ali are both Foreign Service Officers who have seen first-hand the impact of the International Visitor Leadership Program and other exchanges. Ali’s story about his experience at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem in 2008-09 is a compelling example of why exchanges are a critical tool for U.S. foreign policy. It’s because of these experiences in the field that the Office of International Visitors is dedicated to ensuring that the Global Ties Network receives the support necessary to keep IVLP thriving through a new virtual model. I hope these pieces will inspire you as you enter this new chapter – you certainly inspire all of us.

All best,