June 01, 2023

Letter from the CEO June 2023

Read our 2022 Annual Report Here

Dear Citizen Diplomats,

We have exciting news - we have changed our name to Utah Global Diplomacy!

For over twenty years, we cherished the name Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, and we know many of you felt the same. However, it was a tongue twister that few could say, let alone remember. I assure you our name was not changed for the sake of change, and it was no easy task. It took many months of conversing with constituents, board members, and staff to pick a perfect name.

By including Utah in our name, we highlight the geographic focus of our organization, which helps attract local support and involvement from people, businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and leaders in our community. The words Global and Diplomacy also emphasize the value and professionalism of our mission, programs, and services and build trust and credibility. Most importantly, Utah Global Diplomacy is clear and concise, making it easier for people to refer to our organization and share the word about our incredible work.

And just as our icon will remain the same -- two people meeting on a bridge and shaking hands -- Utah Global Diplomacy will continue to build global connections between people in Utah and other nations to promote mutual respect, understanding, and international goodwill through citizen diplomacy. This is the concept that everyone has the right and responsibility to shape foreign relations, one handshake at a time.

Our organization will continue to meet our mission by hosting professional, leadership, and cultural global exchange programs and global and cultural education programs for people of all ages.

I also want to take this opportunity to update you on the work we accomplished in 2022, and check out our 2022 Annual Report!

As a nonprofit leader, I'm often asked what would happen if we had to shut our doors forever. The answer is simple. Our work makes Utah, the United States, and the world more peaceful and prosperous by inviting people in our state to meet with people from around the world, shake hands with each other, sit down together, and ask, "How do we make the world better for all of us?"

I hope the following story illustrates this point.

In 2019, we welcomed an international delegation to Utah to explore nonprofit volunteerism. The delegation met with various nonprofit organizations and government entities to gain insights and learn best practices that could be implemented in their home countries. One of the delegates, Mr. Mutemberezi Pascal from Rwanda, was so inspired by his experience that he contacted Youthlinc, a Utah organization focused on engaging youth in humanitarian service, to initiate a partnership between their two organizations.

Mr. Justin Powell, the Executive Director of Youthlinc, recognized that Africa has long suffered from being homogenized into a single identity. So when Mutemberezi approached Justin with the partnership idea, he realized the opportunity to address the nuances and beauty of Rwanda to his organization's youth participants.

In 2022, Youthlinc visited Rwanda, where youth collaborated with Mutemberezi’s organization to participate in community-building activities, including teaching classes and promoting health initiatives. This experience not only dispelled stereotypes and misconceptions about Rwanda and Africa as a continent but also transformed the perspectives of Utah youth, resulting in more globally-aware citizens.

Furthermore, Justin worked with Utah State University to organize its first study abroad program in Rwanda, allowing students to learn about conflict, peace, and reconciliation while engaging with nonprofits, government agencies, and fellow Rwandan college students. This collaborative effort between Mutemberezi’s nonprofit, Youthlinc, and Utah State University exemplifies the power of citizen diplomacy - it breaks down barriers, dispels stereotypes, and fosters meaningful connections between people from different parts of the world.

Additionally, even though we continued to navigate the struggles of Covid-19, in 2022

  • The Utah Global Diplomacy team hosted 22 delegations of 170 International Visitors from 84 countries through our exchange programs.
  • Our delegates spent 1,288 days in Utah and engaged in more than 1,800 meetings, cultural activities, dinners, tours, classroom visits, and volunteer service projects.
  • Our youth program engaged 267 individuals ages 14-32 from 48 cities in Utah.
  • Our Ambassador John Price & Marcia Price World Affairs Lecture Series hosted 22 lectures, conversations, and podcasts that helped shape public discourse and transform how we engage the world.
  • 56 people volunteered 1,638 hours, an economic value of $49,058.

Our programs created opportunities connecting Utah to the world, shared ideas, fostered global networks, and created long-lasting impacts worldwide. I'm also delighted to share that we have incorporated rigorous methods to track the long-term impacts of our programs, so we can ensure that you receive accurate qualitative and quantitative data that drives our efforts.

But most importantly, our work could only be achieved because of people like you who believe that the world can be more peaceful and prosperous, one handshake at a time. For this, I'm genuinely grateful. I hope you continue to follow our work and engage in our programs to see first-hand how vital our work is to Utah, the nation, and worldwide.

Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
President & CEO