Stories of Citizen Diplomacy: Connecting Philadelphia to the World

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Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia has received a $16,000 grant from PA Humanities as part of its $1.4 million recovery and growth program.

Called PA SHARP (Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan), the initiative provides flexible funding to strengthen and grow the humanities across the state. Grantees join the new PA SHARP Learning Network, a special statewide learning group that fosters resource sharing, networking, professional development, and mutual support.

“The humanities are on the ground putting people first by making spaces for new voices, supporting meaningful learning experiences, and fostering healing and resiliency in communities of all sizes,” said Laurie Zierer, executive director of PA Humanities. “PA SHARP further strengthens this essential work through network building, financial support, and reimagining the possibilities of the humanities across the state.”

The 92 recipients represent museums, historical societies, libraries, and other vital cultural institutions across Pennsylvania. They were carefully selected with an emphasis on equity and geographic diversity.

Funds from PA SHARP aim to help address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector by supporting creative programming, capacity building, and general operations. In addition to funding, the PA SHARP Learning Network will build a statewide community of people passionate about creating inclusive, engaged communities that are ready to lead the statewide recovery alongside PA Humanities.

“Because of COVID-19, two years of our high school students have not had international exchange opportunities,” said Siobhan Lyons, President and CEO of Citizen Diplomacy International. “Growth and recovery funding, such as the PA Sharp grant, is critical to sustaining cultural programs like international exchange. Teens need opportunities to connect with peers in the Philadelphia region and around the world. The Citizen Diplomacy Academy will teach them how to break down cultural barriers, have meaningful dialogue and cultural competency. School children in America need to become effective global leaders and engaged citizens to support our recovery and growth.”

Every day, Citizen Diplomacy contributes to our region’s prosperity by educating students and adults in intercultural communication and making global connections for our citizens. The Citizen Diplomat Academy is a new initiative launched in March 2021 to provide free, virtual, international exchange for high school and university students in Philadelphia and abroad who are interested in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. In 2022, 18-24 exchanges will be offered aiming to serve 400-500 Philadelphia region teens and young adults.

The Citizen Diplomat Academy introduces students to new friends internationally. Students learn to be a Citizen Diplomat and apply the core skills of diplomacy, cross-cultural dialogue, STEM entrepreneurship, and social innovation from a rotating group of instructors from the top universities, start-up businesses, innovation labs, and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and around the world. For more information or to register your teen, visit our Citizen Diplomat Academy page.

Funding for PA SHARP comes from PA Humanities’ federal partner, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Recognizing the financial realities of the pandemic and the vital importance of the humanities to economic and civic life, this legislation allocated to the NEH funds to “prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.” Additional funding comes from Spring Point Partners to support 16 organizations that serve Philadelphia’s BIPOC and new immigrant communities.

The full list of PA SHARP grantees is available at pahumanities.org/pasharp.

About PA Humanities

PA Humanities is an independent nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities and part of a network of 56 state humanities councils that spans the nation and U.S. jurisdictions. We believe the humanities inspire people to grow their potential and shape an equitable society. We put the humanities in action to create positive change in our lives and communities. Our work is grounded in people and champions their creativity and big ideas. We bring Pennsylvanians together to shape the future through the power of stories, reflection, and relationships. Our programs and grants generate avenues for civic involvement and community development, and for youth and adult learners to strengthen skills for school, work, and personal improvement. We amplify the voices of talented partners and individuals, and we lead a movement to champion and redefine the role the humanities play in our lives.

PA SHARP: Recovery and Growth Grants

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, PA Humanities and other state and regional humanities councils are distributing funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ SHARP (Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan) program. This legislation recognizes both the financial realities of the ongoing pandemic recovery and the vital importance of the humanities to economic and civic life. Additional funding from Spring Point Partners supported 16 organizations that serve Philadelphia’s BIPOC and new immigrant communities. Through its $1.4 million PA SHARP program, PA Humanities provided up to $20,000 in flexible funding to support the growth and recovery of the humanities in Pennsylvania. This initiative is an opportunity to reimagine, reinvent, and reenvision humanities work through planning, capacity building, and creative programming. Along with grants for Programs and General Operations and Capacity Building, PA Humanities is partnering with grantees to develop the PA SHARP Learning Network, a special statewide learning group that fosters resource sharing, networking, professional development, and mutual support.

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