Over the last year, more than 600 citizen diplomats from nonprofit organizations across the United States restarted in-person programming for the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). They have been hard at work helping more than 3,900 international leaders connect with small businesses, schools, state and local government representatives, and others in their communities to trade best practices on tackling the global issues of our time, such as democracy, combating disinformation, global health, and more. This past March, these community leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 2023 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting to engage with one another, share best practices, and sharpen their programming skills.
This year’s National Meeting focused on reconnecting, reengaging, and rediscovering the power and potential of exchange programs and the wider public diplomacy community, in communities at home and around the world. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivered video remarks and thanked the Global Ties Network for their efforts to build and strengthen crucial ties between Americans and people around the world to address global challenges. He stressed how American diplomacy efforts at home and overseas are inextricably linked and that, “addressing today’s challenges requires drawing on the perspectives and expertise of our local leaders, as well as their counterparts abroad.”
Remarks from other Department of State officials such as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield and Assistant Secretary for Global Public Affairs Bill Russo emphasized the domestic impact of the IVLP and the important role that Global Ties U.S. members play on the front lines of foreign policy. Assistant Secretary Satterfield spoke about how, “connections are the catalysts to creating change, locally and globally. Through IVLP, we are better able to determine and prepare for what comes next: a conversation, a collaboration, and then a pursuit for shared solutions on issues of our time: democracy, combating disinformation, food insecurity, an equitable economy, global health, and so much more.”
To recognize those within the Global Ties Network, and the partners they work with who go above and beyond to expand the impact of the IVLP, Global Ties recognized recipients of the 2023 Global Ties IVLP Network Innovation Awards for excellence in programming innovative and impactful IVLP exchanges as well as outstanding achievements from IVLP alumni through the 2023 Global Ties U.S. IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change. The 2023 Global Ties U.S. Citizen Diplomat Award highlighted those that have exhibited a deep commitment to public diplomacy and strengthened their local communities through global service.
The Global Ties Network is the largest and oldest citizen diplomacy network in the United States, made up of people from all over the country who are committed to people-to-people diplomacy. Their contribution to the IVLP and U.S. diplomacy is remarkable and ECA looks forward to continuing our partnership to foster meaningful connections between Americans and international visitors – one individual, project, and community at a time.
For more information about the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting, visit the Global Ties U.S. website and follow Global Ties U.S. on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @GlobalTiesUS.
Learn more about the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program at eca.state.gov/ivlp. Follow the IVLP on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @StateIVLP.
About the Author: Katerina Jacob is a Program Support Specialist in ECA’s Office of International Visitors.