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International Groups

U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy
Ann Schodde
525 SW 5th St., Suite A
Des Moines, IA 50309

Central Mission of the Organization:

This organization promotes opportunity for all Americans to be citizen diplomats and affirms the indispensable value of citizen involvement in international relations. In an era of increasing globalization, more and more people develop their most lasting impressions through face-to-face, personal encounters, when people visit the United States or when Americans travel abroad. In this context, the ‘citizen diplomat’ is a powerful force in defining the United States to the rest of the world.

History of the Organization:

In March of 2004, 33 national leaders from international exchange organizations — including the business and academic communities —convened in Racine, Wisconsin, with the expressed intent of pursuing strategies to strengthen America’s commitment to citizen diplomacy. From that meeting emerged a national campaign of state and local summits on citizen diplomacy, culminating in a national summit in Washington, D.C., July of 2006.

The Coalition for Citizen Diplomacy, representing more than 120 U.S. organizations, was formed to implement this campaign. This movement underscored the importance of positive and sustainable engagement of Americans in a host of international exchange and educational initiatives through innovative public and private partnerships.

At the same time emerged the need to turn a nationwide spotlight on the importance and value of citizen diplomacy. As a result, the only center of its kind in the nation—the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy—was formed as a strategic focal point for citizen diplomacy. Launched in July of 2006, the Center is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

International Issues and Focus:

Peace, diplomacy, international aid, conflict resolution, international education, people-to-people exchanges.

Events and Programs Sponsored:

In the next decade, to increase fourfold the number of Americans actively involved as citizen diplomats to more than two million —the U. S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy is:

Managing a national database and interactive web site of U.S. citizen diplomacy activities and programs throughout the country and world;

Conducting research on the impact of citizen diplomacy;

Providing education and training to increase effective leadership capacity to conduct citizen diplomacy programs for all ages and levels of experience;

Increasing private and public sector support for citizen diplomacy by expanding alliances with businesses, foundations, local and state governments, civic organizations of all types and the U.S. government;

Strengthening and expanding available, time–tested programs and developing targeted, pilot programs and initiatives to address emerging needs;

Encouraging pre-K-to-12 schools across the United States to increase international content in their curricula to equip students with skills that they need to become future leaders in a global world;

Convening National Summits and special recognition projects on Citizen Diplomacy; and

Consulting with Congress, the U.S. Department of State and to work with and support those countries throughout the world seeking to establish or expand their own capacity to conduct citizen diplomacy.