I love international exchanges because they are a wonderful vehicle for making foreign policy accessible and relatable for local U.S. communities and engage a far broader audience than government alone. Exchanges matter because the authentic connections individuals form with visitors over Taco Tuesday and Fourth of July barbecues can have a far deeper impact than any book, documentary, or briefing alone, and foster lasting networks between people within the United States and across the world. Exchanges offer an invaluable opportunity to showcase the diverse tapestry of the United States and its values to the world.
At Global Ties U.S., I help support advocacy activities for the Global Ties Network as part of my portfolio. At first, I was intimidated and anxious because I knew just how important advocacy is for continued funding for government sponsored exchanges. Capitol Hill seemed like an unapproachable place snapped straight from a history textbook or a news segment off the television, somewhere far too storied for me to contribute meaningful ideas. After I attended the Alliance trainings and went to my first Advocacy Day on the Hill, I learned that advocacy is actually just like exchange and communications. Advocacy is a storytelling opportunity to form a connection during a meeting. It is just like what I do every day.
Program Associate, Strategic Communications & External Affairs