December 08, 2021

Letter from the Director December 2021

If not now, then when?


Dear Friends of Utah Global Diplomacy,

What a year for international events! From the inauguration of a new U.S. president and hosting the Olympic Games in Tokyo to having the Delta Covid-19 variant and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan create paralyzing aftershocks throughout the world, you have every right to feel exhausted. I know I do. After all, Utah is the crossroads of the world, which means global events like the ones just mentioned directly impact our people and communities.  But that also means, now more than ever, we need more citizen diplomacy to help rebuild global connections.

Citizen Diplomacy is the concept that every individual has the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations one handshake at a time. That means individuals young and old, families, U.S. citizens, immigrants who now call Utah home, business owners, elected leaders, and nonprofit changemakers are citizen diplomats in their everyday interactions with those around them.

And for the past 54 years, we at Utah Global Diplomacy have served as Utah's leading nonprofit in building international relations through citizen diplomacy. As a non-partisan nonprofit that has connected more than 12,000 emerging leaders with the people of Utah and Utah businesses, government agencies, nonprofit, and religious organizations, Utah Global Diplomacy programs highlight Utah as an economic, innovative, and cultural hub. However, this work cannot be done without your help. You are an essential component of our organization. As citizen diplomats, you help shape foreign relations one handshake at a time. As a result, the connections you make with people around the world are essential to:

  • combating negative stereotypes of America;
  • immersing the broader community in cultures, customs, and languages;
  • conducting meaningful dialogue that enhances national security;
  • connecting Utahns with resources to find solutions to global and local challenges.

When you show up for our programs and services, talk to one another, and learn from each other, real and significant global change happens. So my call to action to you is to stay connected with our messages and opportunities and get involved with our programs and services.

Direct in-person programming will be off to a slow start in 2022, but I promise, we will have opportunities for you to get engaged with our wor. In fact, some of them are listed below, including our first in-person exchange program hosted in two years!

Finally, I give my sincere gratitude to those who support and volunteer with our programs. For those of you sitting on the fence, I will leave you with this question - if you don't get involved with Utah Global Diplomacy programs now, then when? More global peace and prosperity are needed today, and you are the key.

Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
Executive Director