During the last week of March, WorldChicago had the opportunity to participate in the Global Ties National Meeting, a premier gathering of organizations, U.S. government agencies, advocates and leaders in the international exchange field. Typically held each year in Washington, DC, the National Meeting brings together more than 1,000 participants across three days to gain high-level insights on trends affecting the international exchange field, engage in in-depth professional development opportunities, and build networks to strengthen international exchanges.
Due to the pandemic, the National Meeting took place fully online. Moving the in-person Meeting to a fully online format allowed for the unique opportunity to spotlight the best of what the virtual realm has to offer: the ability to reflect and connect with our colleagues around the world. In light of COVID-19, the National Meeting emphasized the Network’s collective resilience and unwavering dedication to forging connections without boundaries because Exchange Matters.
This year’s theme, Exchange Matters, showcased the work of organizations, like WorldChicago, and led sessions that emphasized the importance of citizen diplomacy on foreign policy, our communities and our personal relations. The sessions presented during the National Meeting included regional briefings on different parts of the world, sessions on IVLP alumni engagement and various plenary meetings that focused on the emerging leaders in the field, leaders that have served public diplomacy for over a decade, 60 years of citizen diplomacy through Global Ties and more. Multiple Staff Members led an Exhibitor Booth that would showcase WorldChicago’s programs. With visitors from around the country and different governmental agencies joining their booth, other participants of the National Meeting joined our staff members in discussing the work we have been doing and are continuing to do. These meaningful conversations allowed us to share our work with our partners while also gaining new skills and tips in implementing our programs.
Through these sessions, multiple members of the WorldChicago team were recognized for their dedication to citizen diplomacy and as future leaders in the network. Peggy Parfenoff, President of WorldChicago, was the recipient of the Global Ties Network Decade of Impact Leadership Award. This award is given each year at the National Meeting and recognizes outstanding individuals whose service and contributions exemplify citizen diplomacy. In honor of Global Ties’ 60th anniversary, six professionals were recognized who have been both pillars in our communities and have helped to chart the path for the next decade. The decade of leadership award celebrates the dedicated individuals that have provided outstanding leadership and contributed to the success of the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) and other exchange programs. Peggy Parfenoff was chosen for her impact on our local community and organization; her impact within the larger Global Ties Network and international exchange field; and her overall exemplary commitment to citizen diplomacy. Other members of the WorldChicago team that were recognized with 10 or more years of IVLP Service are: Linda Bushman (Board Member), Joan L. Miller (Board Member), Virginia Russell (Board Member), and Donna Sadlicki (Business Administration Manager).
For the past ten years, Global Ties has hosted the Emerging Leaders Program. This Program Works to discover and build a pipeline of globally-minded, young professionals who represent the United States and the rich diversity of the country. Global Ties collaborates with its nationwide Network and supporters to help young professionals jumpstart their careers in public diplomacy, international exchange and the larger international affairs field. Emerging Leaders are chosen based on the nomination of the community-based members of the Global Ties Network. Julia Sosnivka, Program Associate at WorldChicago, was one of twenty-one participants chosen nationwide. Sosnivka along with her peers will engage in a year-long program, beginning with the National Meeting and ending with the International Education Week. Throughout the year, she will have the opportunity to network with professionals in the public, private and nonprofit sectors; strengthen professional skills and abilities; and build the relationships that will continue to support their professional growth.
WorldChicago is honored to have participated in the National Meeting hosted by Global Ties and are proud of all Board and Staff Members that were recognized at this prestigious event. We look forward to participating in next year’s National Meeting and continuing to work with all our partners.