Written by Courtney Brooks, Executive Director Global Ties KC
International exchange and global perspectives are a critical component of the humanities. In the state of Missouri, more than 20% of our economy hinges on international trade. Our communities are made rich by a long, strong history of global connections. For more than 65 years, Global Ties KC has contributed to the facilitation of these connections; enriching lives and strengthening communities by connecting Missourians with a broader perspective on the human experiences through history, culture and traditions that shape our world. Through authentic, person-to-person conversations with global leaders, Missourians have the unique opportunity to reflect on their own history and communities, sharing best practices in a variety of fields with their global peers.
While not everyone can get on a plane to Bhutan, Fiji, or Israel, through exchanges, professionals from these nations (and more than 100 others) visit Missouri every year. Through the International Visitor Leadership program (https://eca.state.gov/ivlp) and other US Department of State exchanges, thousands of international leaders meet with their American counterparts each year, sharing best practices and lessons learned on topics ranging from democracy, freedom of the press, and entrepreneurship to agriculture and community policing.
Over the past few years, Global Ties KC has taken this work one step further, focusing on forming a brighter future for generations to come and creating new spaces for High School students to claim their role as global citizens. This work was made possible, in part, through the support of the Missouri Humanities council. Through the past nine months, our third class of Youth Diplomat students took part in an experiential learning program. Based on the shift to virtual in recent years, we’ve been able to expand the program from in-person to multiple cohorts including a KC area group, as well as a cohort of students from across the state who meet virtually. Throughout this time, they have worked on resumes, met with mentors, and had conversations with leaders from NATO, as well as students from across Latin America and Africa. We are currently accepting student nominations and applications for the 2022-2023 program, and we are hoping to once again welcome in participants from across the state. Interested students can learn more at http://www.globaltieskc.org/youthdiplomats. We are committed to participation being free to all students. That includes the Youth Diplomats Institute and travel opportunities. This August, we will take a group of nine students to DC thanks to local supporters.
The people, places, and ideas that shape our communities are diverse and varied. We hope you’ll take the time to learn about the international ties that formed your own community! Join us on June 21 for a Lunch & Learn: History of World Fairs in the U.S. at noon CT. The event will feature voices from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. citizens who recently took part in the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Oral historians, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and State Department, will discuss their findings from interviews with U.S. host city organizers and participants, as well as with Youth Ambassadors and Cultural Performers who represented the United States at Expos abroad. Registration is now open: http://www.globaltieskc.org/lunchandlearn