National Council for International Visitors experience “Life Elevated” at Western Regional Meeting

By Kaitlin Spas, Program Director, Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy

In 2011 the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy (UCCD) welcomed over 470 emerging leaders from 120 different countries to Salt Lake City through the International Visitor Leadership Program, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. Last week, UCCD welcomed a different kind of "Visitor" to Utah.

UCCD invited over 100 representatives of government, Washington-based nonprofit partners, and community leaders from around the nation to Salt Lake City for the 2012 National Council for International Visitors Western Regional Meeting June 6 – 8. This professional development conference attracted participants who came to network and share best practices in developing programs for International Visitors. And experience “Life Elevated!”

Through a diverse line-up of keynote speakers and panels of local experts on a variety of topics, UCCD was able to demonstrate the variety of cultural and professional resources available in Salt Lake City for International Visitors. The Program Officers from Washington D.C. who ultimately make the decision whether or not to send these visitors to Salt Lake City were left with a lasting impression of our community's commitment to the International Visitor Leadership Program.

The 2012 NCIV Western Regional Meeting program began with a professional resource tour for UCCD's national-level partners highlighting program themes such as volunteerism, interfaith dialogue, trade and business, education, and youth leadership followed by an opening reception for all our guests at beautiful Red Butte Garden. The program continued with two days of speakers and workshops including informative panel discussions on water resource management, youth, women's issues, and elections. Plenary speakers Deedee Corradini and Valerie Hudson inspired the audience with speeches on the roles of women in peace-building and international relations, and a panel including State Senator Gene Davis, Jennifer Andelin from the office of Congressman Jason Chaffetz, and Jason Perry from the University of Utah gave the audience useful advice for partnering with elected officials. The conference concluded with an address from UCCD Executive Director, Laura Dupuy, recalling her recent experience on a short-term professional exchange program to Afghanistan, complemented by a video message from Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Funded in part through a grant award with the U.S. Small Business Administration