December 11, 2023

Letter from the CEO December 2023

Dear Friends of Utah Global Diplomacy,

In November, I was in Washington, D.C. to meet with our congressional leaders, discussing Utah Global Diplomacy's essential work and the impact our programs have in Utah and around the globe. The response I heard continually was, “So you're changing the hearts and minds of people?” While the answer is yes, it's just not that simple.

Utah Global Diplomacy builds global connections between the people of Utah and people from around the world one handshake at a time, and it is through this handshake – this direct face-to-face connection between people- that we can make the world more peaceful and prosperous for everyone.

During the pandemic, when we didn't connect with people face-to-face, a part of our humanity went into hibernation. This allowed society to become further divided – it exasperated geopolitical tensions, the U.S. political landscape shifted dramatically, and it fundamentally changed how we think and interact with each other. Comments, opinions, and conversations were done behind a computer screen and often anonymously.

Anonymity and continual division is the greatest threat to the fabric of our democracy.

However, the antidote for this division is empathy, and the quickest path to empathy is in-person interactions.

When we meet each other, shake hands, and sit down together to learn, curiosity is ignited, prompting meaningful conversations as we seek answers. Through this exchange of information, we discover common ground, fostering empathy—a powerful force driving our commitment to address some of Utah's and the world's most pressing issues.

Utah Global Diplomacy will continue to bridge gaps, build connections, and foster empathy, knowing that these efforts are not just initiatives but essential contributions to the preservation of democracy and the betterment of our shared future, and I invite you to join us in the diplomatic work we do. 

With a humble heart, thank you for your support, and I wish you and your family a happy holiday season.

Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
President & CEO
Utah Global Diplomacy