Global Ties Annual Meeting

Pat Watson attended the annual meeting in Washington DC in March. The weather was chilly and wet the first three days but sunny and warmer for Thursday and Friday.

Attendance was high, spirts were high and the information was valuable with the Department of State sessions taking the win in my opinion. There is so much turmoil in the world and the Department of State is keeping on top of all and what affects the IVLP programs.

Anne Jeliazkov from the Department of State met with Pat to discuss the wonderful news that the delegation that visited Tucson and the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center is working with the Center to develop a program such as SACAC has here in Kazakstan. What a wonderful result of a visit, helping children around the world that face abuse. It’s one of the many success stories of the IVLP program and the reason we need to keep it growing!

It was delightful to be able to see “old friends” at the conference such as Patricia Grote from the Des Moines office. Her exceptional leadership has seen the program grow and expand since the days that I was involved with ICIU (back in 1991 and 92!!!). Her smile never wavers and her optimistic outlook brings good things to Des Moines and the world.

Then there is Global Ties Arizona with Kristen Allen who is another of those special people that make the IVLP program outstanding. Working with Kristen and Paige to bring visitors to both Phoenix and Tucson is always a joy. Seeing her at the conference made it even better!

it is so very important for the programs done by the Community Based Members (such as Citizen Diplomacy Alliance and Global Ties Arizona and the 80 others around the world) to continue to get funded and give the world the opportunity to learn what the United States of America and it’s citizens are truly like, not what they see on the news or the governments tell them but what real people are like. Sharing their homes, meals, friendship and compassion. Building friendships that often last a lifetime.

As Congressman Grijalva said to me in the airport many years ago about the program and the good it does: “It’s pretty hard to shoot a friend”. How very true and that’s what we do, we build friendships and citizen diplomacy. We hope, if you are NOT a member. you join us, if you are a member, thank you!!