April 2020 at WorldBoston

April at WorldBoston
Dear Friends,

The WorldBoston March newsletter now reads as from a different time: incoming delegations from all over the world, timely speaking programs, two special events — all entailing many opportunities for networking.

Then global disaster reached Boston. Who can clearly recall the recent rush of events? Over a few days we at WorldBoston postponed delegations and events, dealt with personal housing matters, and organized ourselves to work remotely. By mid-month, WorldBoston joined everyone who could in the giant experiment of social distancing. Working from home, we now look out on events whose outcome no one can predict, and are daily reminded of the sacrifice of all essential workers, from mail carriers to doctors, who make possible this strange fight against COVID-19.

At WorldBoston we are confident that while new realities may change our programs, our mission persists. Judging by the engagement and support we have experienced in the past month, our community agrees: Fostering engagement in international affairs and global cooperation is a critical mission at this new time. 

To this end, on the Citizen Diplomacy side of our house, we are working on new ways to foster virtual international connections among citizen diplomats. For example, last month we held an enjoyable virtual social hour for area Fulbright Visiting Scholars. Watch for more opportunities later this month.

On the Global Engagement side of our house, last month we hosted a very successful conference call with Dr. Jonathan Quick on COVID-19 and Global Epidemics on the KNOW NOW platform of the World Affairs Councils of America. (Podcast of the event coming soon!) 

This month, we look forward to the return of Great Decisions programming, with Fletcher School Dean Rachel Kyte on “Climate Change & the Global Order”, in an online format on Wednesday, April 29th.

We also begin a new weekly feature, a “WorldBoston Recommends” email highlighting high-quality virtual programming, whether our own, from other World Affairs Councils, or other excellent venues. We aim to assist our community in staying connected in this time of isolation, and to help enrich our understanding of global events beyond the day’s headlines.

We are warned of possibly grim times ahead in April as the pandemic intensifies. But this is a time for gratitude, too. At WorldBoston, we are grateful for the ability to continue to serve our mission, for the solid support of our board and staff, and for the participation of our community. Thank you, everyone.

It’s notable that three great global faiths will mark important holidays this month, from Passover, to Easter, to the start of Ramadan. May they be met in peace and hope.

Jeffrey J. Cymrot
Board of Directors
Mary P. Yntema
President & CEO
Help WorldBoston bring the world to you! 

As a non-profit organization, WorldBoston relies on the generosity and support of members, donors, and sponsors to accomplish our mission: foster engagement in international affairs and cooperation between people of all nations.

Wednesday, April 29th
3:00-4:00 PM EDT

We are very pleased to have reconfigured Great Decisions on “Climate Change & the Global Order” with Dean Rachel Kyte as a virtual event in partnership with the WGBH Forum Network. Information on how to register for this event is coming soon. 

Climate change is a defining issue of our time. As much of the world bands together to come up with a plan, the U.S. remains the notable holdout. What is the rest of the world doing to combat climate change? What impact will the effects of climate change have on global geopolitics?
Rachel Kyte
Dean of the Fletcher School
As we transition into online event programming, we’d like to know your schedule preferences for virtual programming. Please respond to the poll below.
What time of day would you prefer to engage with virtual programming?
Morning (9:00 – 11:00 AM)
Late morning/early afternoon (11:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Afternoon (1:00 – 5:00 PM)
Evening (5:30 – 8:00 PM)
To learn more about Global Engagement, contact Elise Pitcairn, Director of Operations & Global Engagement Programs.
Given the pandemic, WorldBoston is not currently hosting incoming groups of international professionals and leaders to our community. Our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) groups are on hold until July, per U.S. State Department restrictions, as are our Custom Visitor Programs (CVP) until further notice. We are fortunate to still have many of our Fulbright Visiting Scholars remaining in New England and have begun weekly virtual social activities together. We are working right now on new ways to offer virtual citizen diplomacy experiences, so watch this space!
On April 3rd, WorldBoston invited Fulbright Visiting Scholars to “Coffee Friday.” Scholars prepared their favorite “Cup of Joe”, chatted, shared entertainment and educational resources, and encouraged each other to continue their scholarly work. Our goal was to help scholars stay in touch during this unusual time. At the end of the get-together, the scholars expressed their appreciation for this virtual event, and planned to “meet” regularly going forward. 

This event aligns with WorldBoston’s objective to continue to strengthen the Fulbright community and facilitate opportunities for international engagement. 
To learn more about Citizen Diplomacy, contact Sarah Sibley, Vice President for Citizen Diplomacy Programs.
Update from the Office

Did you know that we have a blog?Check out our blog for event recaps, reflections from staff, and professional insights from members. Previewed to the right is a piece that Leslie Griffin, Principal of Allinea LLC and WorldBoston board member, wrote for TradeVistas about passenger airlines carrying more global cargo, including medical supplies, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Consider writing a piece about yourexpertise or interest, and contact Elise Pitcairn for more information. 
“Global Cargo is Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Leslie…

With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, airlines have seen a precipitous drop in passenger travel and are focused on the possibility of a voluntary or mandated halt to U.S. passenger flights. In response, major carriers are finding ways to keep…

Read more

Welcome to last month’s new and returning WorldBoston members: Jeremy Dela Cruz, Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Allison Hynes, Kenneth Stewart, Joanne Zitek. Thank you, we appreciate your support! 

WorldBoston Recommends!

Tuesday, April 7
1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT

During this global health crisis, many of us are discovering that life doesn’t always go as planned. U.S. diplomats regularly manage change, are ready for the unexpected, and perform effectively in a crisis. How do they thrive in adversity? Beth Payne will speak about her experience opening the Office of the U.S. Consul in Baghdad, Iraq, and how her struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder led to the creation of the State Department’s resilience training program in 2016. She will introduce you to the Department’s resilience model, highlighting some of the skills and tools taught at the Foreign Service Institute. 

Tuesday, April 7 
2:30 – 3:30 PM EDT

Leading remote teams in a crisis environment requires a different form of leadership than in steady-state
environments. Due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, organizations must plan for remote and disrupted work for indefinitely. This crisis is compounded by the recent stark decline in the price of oil. Both factors will certainly affect the Houston economy for the foreseeable future. As a result, we as leaders and individuals must improve our own behaviors to lead through this uncertainty.

Wednesday, April 8 
9:00 – 10:30 AM EDT

Austerity is both the old and new normal for U.S. security policy in Africa—but with resources shrinking, what can the U.S. realistically hope to accomplish in Africa? What tools can be effectively deployed by U.S. security professionals in this climate of scarcity? Please join the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center for the virtual book launch of African Security: An Introduction, featuring a conversation with authors Dr. John Siko and Dr. Jonah Victor. They will be joined by Ms. Brittany Brown, who formerly served on the National Security Council (under both Obama and Trump) and is now the International Crisis Group Chief of Staff.

Thursday, April 9
2:00-2:30 PM EDT

Under the ambitious leadership of President Xi Jinping, China is zealously transforming its wealth and economic power into potent tools of global political influence. But China’s foreign policy initiatives, even the vaunted “Belt and Road,” will be shaped and redefined as they confront the ground realities of local and regional politics outside China. In China’s Western Horizon, Daniel Markey anticipates that China’s deepening involvement will play to the advantage of regional strongmen and exacerbate the political tensions within and among Eurasian states.
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The International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program and WorldBoston’s main citizen diplomacy partner. Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. These visits reflect the International Visitors’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.

The U.S. Department of State’s bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the IVLP. In doing so, the bureau enters cooperative agreements with National Program Agencies, a group of private, not-for-profit organizations based in Washington, D.C., that design and implement national IVLP itineraries. In addition to the National Program Agencies, the IVLP relies on the commitment and skills of local community organizations across the U.S., known as Community Based Members (CBMs). Under the professional association of Global Ties U.S., local CBM members develop professional programs, arrange cultural activities, and provide home hospitality for international visitors.

WorldBoston is part of the Global Ties Network of more than 90 CBMs in 45 states.

WorldBoston is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America, 
a network of more than 90 independent Councils in more than 40 states.

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