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Stories of Citizen Diplomacy: Connecting Philadelphia to the World
Thursday, March 25 2021

It is with great honor that we congratulate board member Wendy Williams for receiving the Global Ties Network "Decade of Impact Leadership Award." Her membership and leadership to Citizen Diplomacy International have spanned 26 years.

President of JR Resources, a WBE-certified, promotional products company, Wendy has offices in San Diego, CA, and Philadelphia, PA, and is deeply committed to the success of the larger Global Ties Network. She has attended all but one National Meeting for the past 15 years, developing relationships with peers across the country and visiting PA Senators Casey and Toomey lobby for IVLP funding.

A consummate ambassador for Philadelphia, Wendy has represented our region at the formal welcome of the Women of Courage in Washington DC under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Wendy was selected by the State Department in May 2001 to travel on a reciprocal exchange to Kazan and Orenberg, Russia after 911.

 “I am always representing Citizen Diplomacy. When I was in Kenya and Tanzania on a water trip or personal travels to our Sister Cities of Florence and Aix-en-Florence. My passion is being an ambassador.”

Locally, Wendy is a key liaison to the metropolitan area tourism and hospitality network, who are critical partners in welcoming international program participants. In July 2019, she welcomed Vice Mayor of Sister City Tianjin to discuss educational opportunities to increase the number of students studying in Philadelphia.

She leverages her platform as a company owner to promote and elevate women entrepreneurs internationally. Most importantly, she always goes the extra step to thank international guests for coming to Philadelphia personally and intentionally mentors past IV participants to promote their current work.

Global Ties U.S. received nominations from across the United States and winners were selected by a committee comprised of leadership from Global Ties U.S. and the Office of International Visitors at the U.S. Department of State. In honor of the Global Ties U.S. 60th anniversary, six professionals were recognized as outstanding individuals whose service and contributions exemplify citizen diplomacy.

Thank you Wendy for your longtime dedication as a Citizen Diplomat; you are an inspiration to us all.

Posted by: Andrea Silva AT 03:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, December 02 2020
Power Women in Diplomacy

The participation of women in politics is key to our future. Councilwoman Jamie Gauthier mentions how important it is for women to be involved in politics and dialogue. Now, that travel has been put on pause due to the pandemic, virtual programs have become an important opportunity for women to exchange ideas and engage in political conversations no matter where they are in the world. 

Posted by: Robin Truitt AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 26 2020
Happy German American Friendship Day

In October, Citizen Diplomacy International hosted a Dialogue and Diplomacy series with David Gill, the Consul General of Germany in New York, to celebrate our relationship with Germany. During times like now, discussion and collaboration are even more necessary to unite people and nations together. 

Posted by: AT 10:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 18 2020
Youth Exchange Philly and Egypt

Alia, a student from Egypt shares her story of how the virtual youth exchange program, 'How to Succeed as an Innovator', inspired her to learn how to be successful in medicine. This program gave her the opportunity to gain advice from a mentor and collaborate with students in the US. Virtual programs continue to help international students exchange ideas and learn how to become stronger innovators even during a pandemic. 

Posted by: Robin Truitt AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 12 2020
With Love From Ireland

Siobhán Lyons, president and CEO of Citizen Diplomacy International, greets us from her home in Ireland.

Posted by: Robin Truitt AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, October 13 2020
Positive Power of Woman in Diplomacy: MaryLou Spang

Photo credit: kapuPatel Photography

Woman in Diplomacy MaryLou Spang Shares How the Pandemic Has Impacted Her Business — And How She’s Staying Positive

This month, we continue our Women in Diplomacy series celebrating Citizen Diplomat MaryLou Spang, Owner and Creative Director for Spangles Custom Jewelry Designs. A native Philadelphian and Temple alumna, MaryLou and her husband Bill, a Citizen Diplomacy board member, have volunteered for over 30 years, meeting international students and professionals from all over the world. I hope you enjoy these highlights of our most recent conversation:

Posted by: AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 21 2020
Announcement: New, Free Virtual Exchange for University Students

I am happy to announce that Philadelphia university students will have access to a new virtual exchange in August - “How to Succeed as an Innovator.”

Many of our region’s university students have not been able to study abroad or participate in internships abroad because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We don’t want our region’s students to miss out on these unique and transformational learning experiences. Our future global leaders need vital dialogue skills to work with people from other countries; to understand the complexity of global issues; and to develop cross-cultural relationships.

Thanks to the Stevens Initiative, Citizen Diplomacy is one of 18 programs funded as part of the Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. With this funding, we are launching "How to Succeed as an Innovator” and it is fully underwritten for students to take part in for free.

This virtual international exchange is exclusively designed to connect students in Philadelphia and Egypt, between the ages of 18 - 22 years old, who are interested in improving our world through science, technology, engineering, and math innovations. Young adults with a passion for STEM need to understand that to successfully bring an innovation to the public, you need to network, build social capital, and think like an entrepreneur.

In this part-time exchange, from August 3 - 26, students will learn key dialogue and cross-cultural communication techniques and discuss the role of dialogue, stereotypes and bias in their community and in the larger global conversation of STEM business leaders of color. They will be introduced to special guest speakers, who are leaders in social entrepreneurship or have brought scientific discoveries to market. And most important, they will connect personally with peers in Egypt.

At the core of Citizen Diplomacy’s mission is building mutual understanding across cultures. Now, as Philadelphia faces its own structural racism, Citizen Diplomacy is teaching our university students to be STEM business leaders who are prepared to have real conversations on stereotypes and bias.

While traditional in-person exchange programs have been cancelled for the summer, virtual exchange programs like 'How to Succeed as an Innovator' continue to be a sustainable and accessible global learning tool.

Follow us on Facebook to see our stories from this exciting new exchange. Read the full press release here.

Take care,


P.S. If you have a university student in your life who is passionate about STEM and would like to participate in this free, virtual exchange, please encourage them to participate and register here.

This program is organized by Citizen Diplomacy International and made possible by a generous grant through The Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic The Stevens Initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute. It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. 

Posted by: Andrea Silva AT 04:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 22 2020
Did I ever tell you the story of 21PSTEM and Egypt? on to learn how a local STEM organization changed the face of learning in Egypt forever!

Posted by: Siobhán Lyons AT 02:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 06 2020

I interviewed Hannah Kalkstein, Citizen Diplomat for over 40 years, about her hosting experiences with the Minister of Education of Zimbabwe and what her friends from Azerbaijan and Ukraine are up to since their visit to Philadelphia.

Posted by: Siobhán Lyons AT 03:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 27 2020

Learn how Citizen Diplomacy International is going digital in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Posted by: Siobhán Lyons AT 10:48 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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