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SOLD OUT: Diplomacy Begins Here: Seattle

April 9, 2015

$8 - $75

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On April 9, 2015, join the World Affairs Council of Seattle, Global Ties U.S., and the U.S. Department of State at the Diplomacy Begins Here regional summit in Seattle! Seattle is one of eight cities selected to hold a regional summit.

The summits celebrate the 75th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) – the premier U.S. Department of State professional development exchange program – in addition to other exchange programs and activities in our region. The World Affairs Council of Seattle supports these exchanges through its International Visitor Program.

Attend in order to foster connections and growth in the international exchange community and celebrate the critical role that public and citizen diplomacy programs play in building a more peaceful, prosperous world at home and abroad. This event is designed to engage globally-minded people from all walks of life to explore the innovations and impacts that stem from international relationships. 

The agenda for the Diplomacy Begins Here regional summit in Seattle is listed below.

Detailed speaker and moderator bios can be viewed HERE. FAQs can be viewed HERE.


9:00 AM – 10:15 AM: Morning Plenary

Registration and continental breakfast will be available beginning at 8:00 AM

Kick-off Diplomacy Begins Here: Seattle with high-level leaders in politics and government. Plus, learn how you can take part in the #ExchangesAre and #ExpandYourWorld campaigns!


  • Ms. Valerie Crites Fowler – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Dr. Maura O’Neill – Former Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor to the Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development: “Innovations in U.S. Foreign Policy”


10:30 AM – 11:45 AM: Critical Tools – Fostering Strategic Partnerships through Exchanges

Each year nearly 5,000 exchange participants come to the U.S. on the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). More than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, and its alumni include 335 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government. A key component of the IVLP is to strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world and cultivate lasting relationships by connecting current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the United States. Whether between business, non-profit, educational, or government entities, these strategic partnerships extend across states, sectors, and borders — and you can play a critical role. Join our diverse panel for a discussion on utilizing tools and opportunities in international engagement to build partnerships in your community and abroad.


  • Ms. Tiffany McVeety – CEO, Girandola
  • Ms. Elizabeth Scallon – Associate Director, New Ventures Facility, University of Washington
  • Mr. Chris Mrozowski – Branch Chief, IVLP On Demand Division, Office of International Visitors, U.S. Department of State


  • Ms. Connie Miller – Founder, Consultant, and Coach, Pivotal Presentations 


10:30 AM – 11:45 AM: Investing in Women and Girls

The empowerment of girls and women is a critical economic and political issue. Ensuring access to education, financial capital, and political participation for women is among the most impactful strategies for advancing long-term sustainable development. Around the world, women and girls bear the brunt of poverty and political instability. Over 60 million girls do not have access to primary education, approximately 10 million women die each year due to nonexistent or low-quality healthcare, and three out of every four war fatalities are women or children. Women are not just the faces of poverty; they are the key to overcoming it. Panelists will assess strategies, both within the U.S. and beyond, that have been catalysts for positive change in the status of women and girls.


  • Ms. Sapana Pradhan Malla – 2015 IVLP Gold Star
  • Dr. Leola Ross – Director, Capital Markets Research, Russell Investments
  • Ms. Cathy Allen – President, The Connections Group Public Relations | Co-Founder, Center for Women and Democracy
  • Mr. Tim Hanstad – President & CEO, Landesa


  • Ms. Carol Welch – Senior Program Officer, Development Policy and Financing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Congressional Plenary Luncheon

Congressional representatives from Washington State will discuss current foreign policy priorities in Congress, especially those that are relevant to the greater Puget Sound area.


  • The Honorable Suzan DelBene – Member of Congress, First District of Washington 
  • The Honorable Adam Smith – Member of Congress, Ninth District of Washington
  • The Honorable Jim McDermott – Member of Congress, Seventh District of Washington


  • Mr. C.R. Douglas – Political Analyst, Q13 Fox News


2:15 PM – 4:15 PM: Advancing Youth Exchanges

Young people are future leaders and key actors in efforts to foster cross-cultural understanding. Secretary of State John Kerry noted in a statement for World Population Day that “today’s generation of 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 is the largest the world has ever seen, and will shape the future of the world we live in.” Engaging younger populations through international exchange is a key U.S. Department of State priority and one of the most important investments we can make for the future of our country and the world. Join us for an engaging session examining the role and impact of youth through the lenses of diplomacy and social change. This session will also feature local Seattle youth who are alums of the Department of State and World Learning’s Youth Ambassadors Program.


  • Ms. Melanie Brubaker – Program Officer, The Experiment in International Living, World Learning
  • Ms. Tracy Eckard – Senior Program Officer, Youth Programs, World Learning


2:15 PM – 3:30 PM: Digital Diplomacy

Technology presents new opportunities and new challenges to traditional diplomacy. Digital diplomacy allows governments, embassies, institutions, and social movements to reach more people more quickly than ever before — even if only in 140 characters at a time. Digital tools and access to social media can have a transformational effect on policymaking and empower policymakers in new ways. It allows governments and citizens alike to better understand global events and actors in real time; it can help states and movements alike identify actors in communities; and it is a powerful tool to monitor and shape public opinion. These instruments, however, are available to all, and non-state actors have adopted and adapted to digital diplomacy and challenge governments and their agendas in this domain. The very digitalization of state diplomacy adds not just tools but new issues like cyber attacks and internet freedom to the foreign policy agenda. Panelists will focus on the wide-ranging influence of digital diplomacy on international relations and the centuries-old practice of diplomacy.


  • Ms. Valerie Crites Fowler – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Mr. Simon Liepold – Manager, Global Government Affairs, Microsoft
  • Dr. Karine Nahon – Associate Professor, Information School, University of Washington


  • Ms. Liisa O’Neill – Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Socrata 


3:45 PM – 5:00 PM: Careers in the Foreign Service

Learn what it takes to have a career in the Foreign Service promoting peace, supporting prosperity, and protecting American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad! 


  • Ambassador Lewis Lukens – Diplomat in Residence for the Northwest, U.S. Department of State
  • Ms. Thao Hong – Boeing Commercial Airplanes & Ret. Foreign Service Officer
  • Ambassador Roger A. Meece – Former Ambassador to Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo


  • Mr. Chris Mrozowski – Branch Chief, IVLP On Demand Division, Office of International Visitors, U.S. Department of State

 Note: $5 tickets are available for students only wishing to attend this session.


4:15 PM – 5:30 PM: Seattle Harbor Tour

Meet at the Pier 59 Argosy Ticket Trailer, just a half mile from the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. The tour departs from Pier 57 at 4:30 p.m. Boarding pass for the Seattle Harbor Tour will be given upon check-in at the summit.

Note: An additional fee of $20.15 applies for the harbor tour.


6:00 PM – 7:30 PM: Diplomacy Begins Here Celebration Reception

Join us to conclude a day of celebrating the international exchange community and citizen diplomacy programs!

Note: An additional fee of $25 applies for this reception.










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April 9, 2015
$8 - $75


Bell Harbor International Conference Center
2211 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA,98121