By Katherine Brown, Ph.D., President and CEO
As we turn and face into a busy fall, I want to reflect on some milestones from the summer in our continued pursuit of the core mission that defines and motivates us, which is “powering individuals, communities, and nations to build trust and advance peace and prosperity through international exchange.” All of you helped us to come together again to build that trust within our Network, our communities, and globally.
The summer kicked off with Community Conversations events about the socio-cultural impact of Expos (also known as World’s Fairs) and their future potential as public diplomacy platforms. Hosted by 19 Global Ties Network members either in person or virtually in cities across the country, they featured oral historians Anna Kaplan, Ph.D. and Maggie Lemere who researched this topic for a paper produced with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; representatives from the Expo unit at the U.S. Department of State; and Youth Ambassadors and Cultural Performers from the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai (many of whom had been identified through our Community-Based Members around the country in the first place). In early July, we were proud to host a Global Ties Forum event to wrap up the series, which also featured Bob Clark, U.S. Commissioner General at Expo 2020 Dubai.
July saw the resumption of in-person Diplomacy Begins Here Summits and Learning Labs for the first time in three years. Hosted by WorldChicago and Freeport Area International Visitors Council in Illinois, in partnership with us and the Office of International Visitors at the U.S. Department of State, the Summit focused on the theme of Connecting Diverse Communities Through Diplomacy, and brought people together from a range of sectors to build connections and elevate the role of international exchanges in advancing U.S. foreign policy goals. This social media recap reflects some really wonderful programming from those two days.
Also in July, the first in-person Career Connections event for alumni of U.S. Government-sponsored exchange programs took place in Washington, DC. Held at the U.S. Department of State in partnership with Global Ties U.S. and the Office of Alumni Affairs, it was a terrific day of in-person sessions focused on Careers in Federal Government, with adjacent virtual activities before and after. August saw the mid-point of the first cycle of the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF), with 39 teams of alumni now working on implementing community service projects that align with U.S. foreign policy themes. This is the first year of our U.S. Exchange Alumni Network and Capacity Building Program, which focuses on connecting U.S. citizen alumni with opportunities to leverage their skills, build their networks, and find pathways to leadership in their local and global communities, and this summer really brought those activities to life. We’re grateful to all of you in the Network who have helped us to amplify these opportunities.
Across the Global Ties Network and all summer long, our members and their communities embraced the return of IVLP delegations, and we were proud to highlight those stories and experiences with articles like this one, this one, and this one. As our dynamic and resilient Network navigated this programming as well as transitions of various kinds, we at Global Ties U.S. were proud to continue to offer capacity-building and other forms of support, including continuing our webinar series, our communications working group, and other activities.
Meanwhile, our own Exchanges team also resumed in-person programming this summer, hosting a group of UK leaders for a program that engaged some of our member organizations. This team also delivered a sixth training webinar as part of the Law Enforcement Security & Exchange Program (LESEP), with the June session focused on Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement. Between the in-person program and their webinars, they engaged members across our Network: GlobalPittsburgh; The International Center in Indiana; WorldBoston; World Denver; and World Partnerships, Inc. in Florida.
Over the past few months, the Global Ties Network has continued to lead on innovative programming and on important work around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). The DEIA Working Group is now in its second year, with 20 dedicated members and action plans to come later this year. This article shared the perspective and approach of one of our member organizations this summer. Other Exchange Matters content this summer focused on themes of civic engagement and youth empowerment.
Finally, this summer we kicked off a new campaign around our Emerging Leaders Program. The current cohort of 20 Emerging Leaders for 2022 has continued to participate in professional development workshops and planning activities, working with their program alumni mentors, and we look forward to revealing their service projects later this year.
Ahead in this next quarter, we look forward to:
- Two more Diplomacy Begins Here Summits and Learning Labs – the first from September 22-23 in Pensacola, FL, hosted by Gulf Coast Diplomacy, and the second from October 13-14 in Portland, OR, hosted by WorldOregon. Learn more about both here.
- Two more Career Connections events – the first from September 16-18 in Albuquerque, NM, hosted by Global Ties ABQ, and the second from October 14-16 in Boston, MA, hosted by WorldBoston. Learn more here.
- Multiple in-person exchanges this fall for the Exchanges team, as well as the third cohort of the MENA-USA Empowering Resilient Girls Exchange (MERGE), an eight-week virtual exchange for young women from the United States and from the Middle East and North Africa.
- Continuing to plan for our 2023 National Meeting, which will take place from March 29-31, 2023. Our 2023 Planning Committee met last month, and we will soon reveal the theme and further details for this signature gathering.
Stay tuned for further updates across our social channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), and sign up to receive our regular email communications. The Leadership Corner will return next quarter with fall highlights and a preview of 2023.