January 12, 2023

Letter from the Director January 2023

Dear Friends of Utah Global Diplomacy,

Happy New Year! I hope each of you had a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. 

In December, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Hosting Office generously invited me to attend the Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert featuring special guest Sir David Suchet, which many of you might recognize as the PBS Agatha Christie's Poirot. He shared the story of Nicholas Winton, a gentleman who found host families in England for some 600 children escaping the Nazi regime. He kept impeccable records of his efforts but never really shared what he did with anyone. (The rest of the story is truly amazing, and I suggest reading more about him.)

Here is what I want to share- while Sir David was telling this story, the concert hall was very dark. At the end of the story, Sir David asked everyone in the audience to commit to doing just one thing to make the world a better place, and then he asked us to turn on our phone flashlights and hold them up. The entire dark concert hall lit up as if the lights had turned back on. I am a sucker for these kinds of poetic acts, and the entire time I thought, YES - If each of us did a small act of kindness, the world would be much better!

That is why I love our guiding principle at Utah Global Diplomacy - citizen diplomacy is the concept that we can all make the world better, and it’s done one handshake at a time. And I just know that if we can all commit to one act of kindness, 2023 will be a great year! Our website and weekly newsletters are filled with many ways to get involved with our work. From attending our World Affairs Symposium Series to hosting dinners or being a host family for our international visitors to learning how to become a Foreign Service Officer, there are opportunities for everyone at every age to be citizen diplomats. 

Let's make the world better, one handshake at a time.

Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
Executive Director