This blog is for those wanting to keep up to date on all the work that the Vermont Council on World Affairs is doing around the world.

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Experience at the Global Ties U.S. 2018 National Meeting

By James Gunger, Intern

The Global Ties U.S. 2018 National Meeting proved to be more than a three day conference full of meetings and informational sessions: Global Ties U.S. provided a place and time for the facilitation of international dialogue between professionals and emerging leaders in the field.  Not only was this an opportunity to learn but it was also an opportunity to grow.  As an accepted member of the Emerging Leaders program, I was able to expand my network while developing professional skills and my knowledge of international relations.

Attending the 2018 National Meeting as an Emerging Leader aided me in becoming a more productive intern at my Community Based Member: the Vermont Council on World Affairs.  Here in Burlington, VT we are proud to embrace the global community in our small city in one of the most rural states of the nation.  While attending the National Meeting I heard from Sophie Lamprou.  Ms. Lamprou, who was a member of the VCWA’s IVLP program, received the 2018 IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change.  Listening to her experiences in international relations with us in Burlington reassured me that the work we do truly makes a difference. After my time in Washington, D.C. the global community feels a bit smaller.

VCWA Intern, James Gunger, pictured third in
from the left with three other Emerging Leaders
Emerging into the international workforce is intimidating but the humanity and humility of my experience with those in the field truly highlighted why exchange matters. Eating lunch with the First Secretary of the Embassy of Kenya and enjoying hors d’oeuvres at the Embassy of the Republic of Argentina were among some of the activities which opened my eyes to the globalized world in which we work and thrive.

The opportunity to be sponsored as an Emerging Leader of the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting was one of the most enriching experiences of my professional life. Now I have a network of fellow young professionals across the country and experienced professionals working around the globe.  I would like to thank Global Ties U.S. and the VCWA for an experience which not only made me a more efficient worker in international exchange but also allowed me to develop as someone who will be working in citizen diplomacy for the rest of my life.

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