By Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
Executive Director, Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
For 50 years, the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy (UCCD) has risen above many daunting obstacles — wars, economic depressions, inward-facing administrations, terrorist attacks, social injustices, and now, a global pandemic — to create enduring connections between the people of Utah and other nations.
Last year, I asked myself, “How can we ensure these global connections continue after in-person exchanges ceased?” It was around that same time, I read the following quote from former Global Ties U.S. President Sherry Lee Mueller:
“Citizen diplomacy is deeply rooted in the United States, by enabling individuals to contribute directly to world peace, international understanding, and cooperation. This effort has produced an array of programs and projects that are genuine grassroots efforts to address common problems and build enduring connections among the people of various countries.”
The internet offers us endless, free content for expanding our knowledge, understanding the world, and connecting us. For UCCD, the solution was simple. We would create a landing page of resources that offered digital media, reports, research, educational resources, and so much more.
This year, we officially launched the Utah Peace & Diplomacy Resource Center, which offers topics focused and organized around diplomacy, democracy, and humanities. Our center connects local and global communities making them more engaged and informed citizen diplomats.
We know our resources work. We recently received the following feedback from a mother who was homeschooling her daughter this past year:
“I wanted to take a sec and let you know what a help your resource center has been for my family. I’ve been gathering educational resources to use with my youngest daughter for remote learning, and we were able to get some AWESOME ones thanks to your links.”
The work our Network does is incredibly unique and often calls for out-of-the-box thinking. Please take a few minutes to explore our resource center, and I hope this inspires your creativity in providing your community a global experience every day.