February 2021 at WorldBoston

February at WorldBoston
Dear Friends,

At WorldBoston we think a lot about the overlap of global, national, and local issues. (“The World in Boston, and Boston in The World” is our slogan, after all.) So three items this month are striking.
Yesterday, President Biden visited the State Department to give his first major foreign policy speech. Before he spoke, he met with Foreign Service officers. Let alone what he discussed, those two actions are in themselves kind of remarkable, at least in the context of recent years. Biden visited State on the 16th day of his presidency. President Donald Trump visited State more than a year after taking office. 
February is Black History Month in the U.S. (and in Canada). Black History months have been instituted in recent years in Ireland, the U.K., and the Netherlands, too. Observations of Black History Month (recognized by U.S. presidents since 1976) will naturally be limited by COVID this year, but there are still many engaging ways to join in. Here in Boston, the City has a fine selection of activities (check out especially the good programs at Boston Public Library). Our history shows, in both bitter and uplifting ways, that the international African diaspora is foundational to the United States, and to our region.
And finally, close to home (at least for a little while), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday evidently passed his Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of Labor. Recently, I sent Mayor Walsh a thank you letter on behalf of the WorldBoston community for his Administration’s international engagement. For example, in 2019-2020 alone, his office met with 27 WorldBoston delegations, totaling 227 visitors. In addition, the Boston Police Department met with 12 groups, totaling 102 visitors. We are proud that Boston’s Mayor is called to contribute to the nation, and wish Mayor Walsh every success in Washington.

We hope to see you soon. 
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.
Chat & Chowder features key authors on global topics in an engaging setting. Even virtually, the spirit of “Chat” persists! We encourage everyone to BYOCB (Bring Your Own Chow(der) & Beverages), and also to join us for the informal post-Chat Chat with WorldBoston friend and former team member Liam Martin (separate Zoom link provided in registration confirmation email). Newcomers always welcome!

John O. Brennan served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency from March 2013 until January 2017. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Brennan was assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, shaping the U.S. Government’s counterterrorism strategy and coordinating Obama administration policies on homeland security, counterterrorism, cyberattacks, natural disasters, and pandemics. 
Undaunted illuminates the often obscure world of national security, the intelligence profession, and Washington’s chaotic political environment. John Brennan offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at crucial moments in recent US history. What emerges is a portrait of a man striving for integrity — for himself, for the CIA, and for his country.

Tuesday, February 16th 
6:00-7:00 PM ET
The Covid-19 crisis has put a massive strain on what was growing a positive economic and political relationship between China and the continent of Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s centerpiece “Belt and Road initiative” continues to expand Chinese power, the response to the spread of Covid-19, as well as the African government’s growing debt to China, has seen pushback. What are some of the growing economic and political issues between China and Africa?

This event is produced by our partner GBH Forum Network. 
Lina Benabdallah is an assistant professor at Wake Forest University. She is the author of Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations(University of Michigan Press, 2020). Dr. Benabdallah is also a Johns Hopkins China Africa Research Initiative research associate and a contributing editor for Africa Is a Country.
WorldBoston’s 2021 Academic WorldQuest virtual competition will take place on Saturday, March 6th! “AWQ” is the World Affairs Councils of America‘s flagship youth program, a fun global knowledge competition for high school students. And this year (we’re so cool)WorldBoston is also holding an international relations-themed TikTok competition. Winners in either category get cash prizes for their schools! If you would like to register a team, please do so here. For more information, click here. 
To learn more about Global Engagement, contact Elise Pitcairn, Director of Operations & Global Engagement Programs.
Have an idea for virtual international exchange? We do Custom Visitor Exchange programming to meet objectives of various clients — whether government, private, etc. For example, this month we virtually host a professional group from Japan on, “Promoting U.S.-Japan Study Abroad during COVID-19 and Beyond,” for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Contact Manager of Citizen Diplomacy Programs, Josh Bruno to learn more about CVP.

Looking to get involved? This month and next bring more virtual home hospitality opportunities and we’d love to get you in on the fun! If interested, please contact our VP for Citizen Diplomacy, Sarah Sibley.
The new year brings the start of a virtual iteration of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI). We’ve enjoyed meeting this year’s cohort of 14 Fellows from across Latin America and the Caribbean and are grateful to our local community partnerswho engaged with them in recent weeks: City of Boston Mayor’s OfficeMassachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI)Autodesk, and our own Board Member, Tom Ebling.

We also thank all the Massachusetts-based businesses who are hosting Fellows in virtual work placements:

Returning WorldBoston YLAI Hosts

New WorldBoston YLAI Hosts

Follow @YLAIBoston on Instagram for updates over the three-month fellowship.
As the official cultural enrichment host for our region’s Fulbright Visiting Scholars, WorldBoston kicks off the first fully virtual version of the Fulbright Visiting Scholars Cultural Enrichment Program this month. On February 18th, the Fulbrighters meet community partner: Jared Bowen of GBH. On the 26th, they get an exclusive behind-the-scenes Boston Pops experience. Thanks to our partners for these and many upcoming cultural events!

With the U.S. Department of Statehold on in-person exchange programming for the IVLP through May 2021, we remain committed to welcoming virtual delegations. A warm thank you to all of our local citizen diplomats for joining us in this endeavor. Here’s whos “visiting” in February:
Social Media: Creatively Connecting Communities

MENA Regional Project
Countering Violent Extremism: Community Strategies

European Regional Project
We are looking for new ideas for virtual cultural activities, especially seasonal options. If you have any, please contact our VP for Citizen Diplomacy, Sarah Sibley.
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Welcome to last month’s new and returning WorldBoston members: Joseph Antebi, Fahad Buzwair, Jason Dyett, Joel Kramer, Kathleen Lang, Andrea Rutherford, andRobert Worth. Thank you, we appreciate your support! 
WorldBoston Recommends!
Check your inbox every Friday for “WorldBoston Recommends” — our staff picks international virtual programs in the coming week. 
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Don’t forget to check our News section for announcements and past newsletters. 
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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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