Exchange Matters / August 29, 2019

Training and Building the Global Ties Network

By Felecia Maxfield-Barrett, Executive Director, Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy

Editor’s note: Global Ties U.S. is committed to helping our members become the strongest, most effective organizations they can be. This summer, we worked with our members, partners, and staff to provide three key training and capacity building opportunities for the Global Ties Network. Here are the high-level recaps.



Felecia (left) with volunteers and event staff at the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit. Photo credit: Gary Crofts


We have seen rapid change in how technology engages the world. We can talk to someone on the other side of the globe at any time about culture, values, and world affairs, and this has increased our empathy and global awareness. However, the change in technology and easy access to the global community means that as change agents, we need to innovate how we measure success and share the compelling stories behind the work we do. What an excellent time for citizen diplomacy!

This idea fueled the theme “The Power to Make a Social Impact” at the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit and Learning Lab hosted by the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy in July. It was our goal to provide attendees with techniques, tools, resources, and networks to demonstrate the social impact of international exchange programs and tell stories that increase community engagement.

The two-day program began with the Learning Lab at the beautiful Utah Valley University Wasatch Campus, surrounded by nature and grand vistas. Executives and programmers learned how to strengthen their fundraising pitch and succinctly answer the question of what differentiates their work from other compelling causes. They also explored how to host fundraisers beyond galas, and how to engage the community and increase support by using social media platforms on a shoestring budget.

At the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit the following day, attendees took a deep-dive into identifying what data should be measured and how to report results that demonstrate the impact of international exchange programs. The breakout sessions concluded with an emotional story from the Chairman of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Tribe who shared his ancestors’ experience of the Bear River Massacre, and how the tribe uses this experience to increase community awareness for indigenous rights.

Global Ties U.S. members learn about IVLP programming best practices and fundraising at the Learning Lab. Photo credit: Gary Crofts


Lessons Learned

It takes a village to create a Summit. I had full faith that our professional resources would step up to provide exceptional content, and that my team would contribute all-hands-on-deck. In hindsight, I think a Summit planning committee would have helped for two reasons. First, a planning committee would have added more diverse viewpoints and voices making the event that much more rich and robust for attendees. Second, a planning committee would have strengthened and broadened our outreach for the Summit even more to our local community.

Nonetheless, we feel the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit in Utah offered outstanding educational and networking opportunities. We give our sincere gratitude to Global Ties U.S. and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for their support of the Summit and Learning Lab.


By Kenton Nakamura, Travel and Events Coordinator, CRDF Global

The Summer of Public Diplomacy comprised three different events: the Leading the Way “Unconference,” Connecting the Next Generation Social, and Learning to Lead Seminar.

Through the Leading the Way “Unconference,” I gained a better understanding of how to foster a more diverse, multicultural international affairs profession. In the breakout session led by Maraina Montgomery, we broke into small groups and learned about programs designed to build pipelines for middle and high school students from underrepresented communities, including educational programs, financial resources, and professional networks.

We also shared ideas about how we can engage with and become mentors for future generations. This not only helped me identify the qualities I look for in a mentor, but also the qualities I hope to express to the people I mentor.

At the Learning to Lead Seminar for Emerging Leaders, I reevaluated my personal mission and vision and determined how my experiences shape my identity since joining the Global Ties Network in 2017. That workshop complemented the following session on cultivating my personal brand; I am now more intentional about leveraging social media when sharing my personal and professional profiles. The lively discussion on project management gave me a new approach and tools to manage increasingly complicated work in an interconnected environment.

Thanks to the Emerging Leaders Program, I was introduced to the greater world of public diplomacy. It helped me in my career to build connections, and open my eyes to a world of amazing people and work.


By Elizabeth Black, Senior Program Manager, Online Learning, Global Ties U.S.

Recently, Global Ties U.S. made exciting revisions and additions to two of our most utilized online courses: IVLP Fundamentals (IVLP 100) and Crafting Winning IVLP Proposals (IVLP 200). Each course now has revised videos, articles, and activities that are updated and relevant to member needs.

In IVLP 100, participants explore the fundamentals of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). This interactive course provides practical tools and tips for delivering effective projects and understanding what to do when emergency situations occur.

In IVLP 200, participants dive into learning the essential skills for writing proposals. They explore how to write compelling content and consider how a well-written proposal can bring exchange programs to their town or city.

Both courses are now administered through Bridge Learning Management System (LMS), which offers a more streamlined, mobile-responsive, and easy to use interface, improving the overall learning experience.

Finally, Global Ties U.S. members can now enroll in three additional online courses, with more to come:

  • Training and Engaging Volunteers
  • Fostering Strategic Partnerships
  • Identity and Culture in a Global Society

Sign up to receive access to the courses at any time. We hope you try out a course soon!