Beginning in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 31, the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with Global Ties U.S., will sponsor the “Diplomacy Begins Here” 2016 series—four citizen diplomacy summits in communities across the United States. The summits will bring attention to the critical role that public and citizen diplomacy play in building a more peaceful, prosperous world at home and abroad. The summits are an opportunity for local partners to engage their audiences in the value of public diplomacy and increase the network of people who support exchange programs.
In Tulsa, the theme will be “Shaping the Future” and events will be held at the Gilcrease Museum, including panels on the topics of international engagement, entrepreneurship, economic development, and educational diplomacy in the Heartland. Follow and join the conversation on social media with the hashtags #IAmDiplomacy and #Tulsa.
Building off of Secretary Kerry’s statement that “there is no longer anything foreign about foreign policy,” attendees will be encouraged to take the “Expand Your World” pledge—a commitment to take action to strengthen communities through citizen diplomacy. Exchanges are uniquely able to reach young people, women and girls, and underserved audiences, helping establish a lifetime of connections.
More than 40,000 Americans currently volunteer in their communities to support international exchanges—as host families, local liaisons, programmers, and speakers. This growing network is made possible by more than 90 local community-based organizations across the United States. The Diplomacy Begins Here regional summits are a means of fostering connections and growth in the international exchange community and offer an opportunity to celebrate the power of public diplomacy to bring citizens of all backgrounds together.