November 06, 2023

Letter from the CEO November 2023

Creating Global Unity: Embracing Citizen Diplomacy

November is my favorite month, and it has always resonated with gratitude and appreciation, especially with all that is happening in the world. I am appreciative to be part of this incredible organization whose literal job is to make the world more peaceful and prosperous for everyone. Every day, the Utah Global Diplomacy team's efforts are nothing short of reshaping the world to be better, one handshake at a time.

Working for a nonprofit that champions citizen diplomacy is an exhilarating journey. It has opened my eyes that world peace is as simple as connecting people in Utah with people from around the world to sit down and share ideas, values, and cultures, and ask each other, "How do we make the world better together?"

Of course, you, our volunteers and dinner hosts, are at the heart of my gratitude because without you being part of these people-to-people connections, we cannot do our work. I am thankful for the privilege of getting to know you through this work.

I know in a world that often feels divided, world peace can seem hopeless, but trust me, we can change the world one handshake at a time. But don't take my word for it. Read about how we hosted Abel from the Democratic Repubic of East-Temor in March, who is now implementing best practices he learned in Utah on how to make government more accountable and transparent.

Or read about DeAnna and Lynn DeBry's experience hosting dinner the day after 9/11. 

And, of course, we were delighted that Justin Powell, the Executive Director of Youthlinc, was honored with the 2023 Citizen Diplomat Award from the U.S. Department of State for the work he did in connecting Utah State University students to a Rwandan University, changing the trajectory of some of these young people's lives. 

These are only three examples of thousands of touch-points between you, the people in Utah, and people from around the world that happen every year because of the act of citizen diplomacy.

Every interaction, every handshake, and every conversation brings us a more peaceful and prosperous world.

But why stop here? Let's crank up the enthusiasm and do even more! Let's stretch our arms even wider, strengthen our bridges, and be the champions of goodwill in our community.

In a world where unity and empathy are the need of the hour, let's wholeheartedly commit to citizen diplomacy, ceaselessly working to connect our local community to the global stage. By doing so, we can forge a brighter, more harmonious future for all of us.

We have ample opportunities to get involved. If you want to host a dinner, contact Ahmad and get on his hosting list. Join us for the Sports Diplomacy Symposium this Thursday. And, of course, the Vivaldi by Candlelight concert is right around the corner - don't miss this exquisite annual tradition. Tickets are selling fast!

Thank you again for being a core part of our mission.


Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
President & CEO
Utah Global Diplomacy