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Citizen Diplomat Academy Impact

Our Citizen Diplomacy Academy empowers Philadelphia youth to see themselves as global citizens, entrepreneurial innovators, and cultural changemakers.

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Our Promise

As we face new challenges, from economic recovery to climate change, social unrest and public health, leaders who think globally and operate in a world marketplace are positioned to make the most significant impact on Philadelphia's future.

The Cost of the Crisis

Because of the Coronavirus, in-person educational travel abroad programs are on hold. We are experiencing an abrupt and stark elimination of valuable cross-cultural learning experiences for thousands of youth for the next 2-3 years, until we can travel freely.

Without international exchange, students miss out on tangible benefits, such as preferred college admissions, scholarships, and enhanced global career opportunities.

Most important, an interest in global affairs typically starts with an international experience. Without these opportunities to nourish global curiosity, where will our next generation of global leaders come from? If isolationism is learned, how stable is American security and democracy worldwide?

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Positioned to Meet the Challenge

As a leading organization in our national peer network transitioning in-person to virtual face-to-face experiences, this new initiative builds on our 68-year history as the Philadelphia region's international relations organization. Citizen Diplomat Academy, in part, replaces our 30-year Sister Cities High School Exchange program, which is on hold due to the pandemic.

The Citizen Diplomat Academy expands on a successful model of the ‘How to Succeed as an Innovator’ exchange that was piloted in August 2020, thanks to the Stevens Initiative. We are dedicated to maintaining experiential international education for youth ages 14-18 throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Unlike our peers in Philadelphia, who focus on educating students on foreign policy through theory and role-playing, Citizen Diplomacy teaches students core skills of diplomatic work and then places them in live, face-to-face discussion with peers.

It is real, experiences speaking and learning from international peers. Practical education that better equips them to work cross-culturally and strengthen international cooperation through direct personal action, not simply theory.

By the Numbers



Students are Women in STEM, LGBTQ, Persons of Color, Immigrants or Live in Low-Income Communities


First Exchange

Student Learn:

  • To practice core skills of dialogue and diplomacy
  • Increased awareness and understanding of civic and global competencies, and
    leadership philosophies for success
  • How to identify and respond to bias and stereotypes
  • How to network across global cultures
  • Education pathways to more international education and careers
  • A greater understanding of business, entrepreneurship and current social and cultural issues
CDI Student having a speech

Citizen Diplomat Academy

  • A global learning journey for high school and undergraduate students ages 14 to 18
  • 2 themes: ‘How to Succeed as a STEM Innovator’ and ‘How to Succeed Social Innovator’
  • Countries Engaged: Sister Cities and Multi-country worldwide exchanges
  • 3 semesters per year, 9-week exchanges offered summer and out-of-school time

Stories of Impact

Citizen Diplomat Academy: Alia Baher Aboraya

6th of October City, Egypt I am a few months shy of 20 years old. Two years ago, I graduated from an all-girls catholic school, where I learned values of […]

Citizen Diplomat Academy: Catherine Getty

Philadelphia, United States I am a chemistry major. For the past few years, I have been part of a bioinorganic research group. I am very interested in lab work, and […]

Citizen Diplomat Academy:Tracy Patterson

Philadelphia, United States I am a 20 year old African American woman from Philadelphia, PA. I am one of 9 children and am the first to graduate high school and […]

Your Donation holds the Keys to Global Change

High school students are open-minded and ready to learn about themselves and the world. With your help, an introduction to one international friend, made at this point in their development, can influence the trajectory of their lives in a positive, lasting way.

Sponsor a student for $175 or a full exchange for $7,500.

Contact Andrea Silva, Interim President and CEO to learn more about sponsoring a student or an exchange at 215-486-2092 or

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