Wednesday, November 11, 2009

National Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy - The Decade of Citizen Diplomacy: 2010-2020

This IHEC Blog post is abbreviated version of a post over on the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy Blog entitled “Update: National Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy”. Many thanks to Derek Forsythe from the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy for his permission to use parts of The Center’s blog in my post.

The U.S Center for Citizen Diplomacy is pleased to announce a National Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy to be held in 2010 in Washington, D.C. The Summit will launch a national initiative that includes a multi-year educational campaign and calls upon the private sector in partnership with the public sector to expand the number of American volunteers of all ages who are engaged in international activity both at home and abroad.

The Summit broadens the momentum generated from the work of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) a national resource base and network for Americans to be engaged as citizen diplomats, two major leadership forums held in 2008 (USCCD & The Johnson Foundation) and 2009 (The Leaders Project & The Gilman Foundation), and extensive reports conducted by the Center for Global Leadership, the Building Bridges Coalition, and the Center for Strategic International Studies, among others. These forums and reports engaged more than 200 leaders in international affairs and diplomacy who strongly endorse a revival of citizen diplomacy as a critical component of U.S. public diplomacy strategy and U.S. foreign policy.

With support from the U.S. Department of State – Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the proposed Summit and national campaign are being submitted to the White House for the President’s endorsement. The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy will partner with the administration to organize the summit and collaborate with some 1,000 U.S. NGOs devoted to providing opportunities for Americans to be involved in international activity whether at home or abroad. Leaders in international affairs are organizing twelve private sector task force groups to solicit and prepare summit presentations. The sectors include Business, Community and State-based Exchange Organizations, K-12 Education, Higher Education, International Service, Development Assistance, Cultural Diplomacy, Sports, Travel & Tourism, Volunteer Youth Service, Global Health, and Environmental organizations.


The National Summit on Global Citizen Diplomacy is the first such meeting since President Eisenhower’s People to People conference on the same subject in 1956. Most importantly, the summit will support current efforts of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs Judith McHale to make global citizen diplomacy a national priority through efforts to:

· Focus national and international attention on the importance of citizen involvement in international activities as citizen diplomats, whether at home or abroad and show why citizen diplomacy is a vital foreign policy tool;

· Establish the United States as a collaborative world leader in the promotion of international understanding through the interaction of Americans with people throughout the world;

· Enhance current U.S. best practices and strengths of global citizen diplomacy and present new, creative and collaborative programs that build upon and leverage the strengths of existing U.S. international organizations and engage international partners throughout the world;

· Accomplish the first important recommendation in the Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy report (publication) – to conduct a national summit; and

· Provide showcasing opportunities for the expansion of funding for innovative programs from the public and private sector, both in the United States and worldwide.

Ultimately, the Summit will stimulate a significant increase in the engagement of global citizen diplomats in the U.S. and throughout the world by:

· Energizing the private sector to support and engage broad citizen involvement throughout the globe;

· Increasing opportunities for international volunteer service both in the United States and abroad;

· Increasing private sector interest and funding from individuals, corporations and other philanthropic foundations and organizations; and

· Increasing media support and coverage of citizen diplomacy in both the United States and abroad

Learn more about what you can do lend your support by clicking here.

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