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8

DECEMBER 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Welcoming Visitors, Building Bridges

BY SHAWN DORMAN

I

Shawn Dorman is the editor of

The Foreign Service Journal.

My own limited experience with the

IVLP convincedme that it was a great tool

to expand relationships and build bridges

between countries, between various

embassy departments and among visitors

sharing common interests.

While serving as a political officer at

Embassy Jakarta in the late 1990s—a time

when Indonesian students were leading a

pro-democracy movement that ultimately

helped push the Suharto regime from

power in 1998—I welcomed the chance to

nominate five youth leaders representing

an interfaith alliance to the program.

I have stayed in touch with two of the

alums, and here’s what Edward Tanari said

recently when I asked what he took away

fromhis experience almost 20 years ago:

“After returning to Indonesia, we were

t is my great pleasure to introduce this

month’s focus on the International

Visitors Leadership Programon the

occasion of its 75th anniversary. Like

baseball and apple pie, what’s not to love

about a program that brings potentially

influential visitors from around the world

to the United States to get an up-close and

personal view of our country via “citizen

diplomats” in numerous U.S. cities?

From its beginnings in 1940 till today,

some 200,000 people have taken American

journeys through this program. Partici-

pants travel in small groups andmost often

have a chance to see several U.S. cities dur-

ing what is usually a three-week trip.

The program is sponsored and run by

the Department of State, managed out of

the Bureau of Educational and Cultural

Affairs, and implemented by dozens of

partner organizations and community-

basedmembers deploying thousands

of volunteers to welcome the visitors.

IVLP participants are nominated by U.S.

embassy staff.

Our tour of the IVLP is led by Global

Ties, which used to be the National Coun-

cil of International Visitors, a nonprofit that

works with partner organizations nation-

wide to implement the program. FSO Rob- ert Zimmerman introduces us to the IVLP

and shares 12 stories fromparticipants.

Global Ties President Jennifer Clinton and Senior ProgramMan- ager Jelena Putre offer

a look to the future of

the program, and ideas

for sustaining and

renewing it.

motivated to formalize a powerful civil

society in Indonesia. We each took on roles

in various fields. Three of us (including

me) took a political path. One chose to

work with nongovernmental organiza-

tions, and one took the path of election

organizer (under the Suharto regime, elec-

tions never took place democratically). The

civil society program in the United States

was very beneficial for the youth activ-

ists for learning and for motivating us to

rebuild Indonesia for a better future.”

All five went on to serve their country in

various leadership capacities in govern-

ment and civil society. There can be no

question that offering a personal U.S.

experience to potential foreign leaders at

a formative age is a potent contribution to

international understanding with unique

benefits for the visitors and their countries

as well as for the United States.

In

Speaking Out

, James Rider suggests

an approach tomeasuring the success of

public diplomacy programs. Through an interviewwith retired Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Richard Longworth

,

author of a 1977 “Primer for Diplomats,”

FSO Cecile Shea spells out the value of

diplomacy.

Please take a look at our 2016 Editorial

Calendar and see if any topics spark your

interest. Reach out to us if you’d like to

write for a particular issue, or let us know if

you have an idea for another article.

We accept submissions for Letters,

Speaking Out, Reflections, Features, Local

Lens, FS Know-How and FS Heritage all

year long, so do be in touch

(journal@afsa

.

org) and add your voice to the conversa-

tions.

n

2016 Editorial Calendar

Jan-Feb:

Mental Health Care

for the Foreign Service

March:

Women in the FS

April:

Migration

May:

Life after the FS

June:

The FS Career

July-Aug:

Corruption

Sept:

AFSA Awards

and Dissent

Oct:

The U.S. Elections

Through a Foreign Lens

Nov:

In Their Own Write

Dec:

Russia, 25 Years After

the Fall of the USSR