Meridian Exchange | August 2021

We are heartbroken over the events in Afghanistan and Haiti given our efforts to support the citizens of the countries through a range of exchange programs in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and others. As summer comes to a close, we reflect on the strides Meridian has made to reconnect our network this season, while keeping the health and security of everyone involved top of mind. Read below to learn more about our latest initiatives.

Welcoming Washington'sSocial Secretaries and Cultural Attachés


After two years, Meridian hosted the long awaited Embassy Social Secretaries and Cultural Attachés Reception at Meridian House. With proper safety measures, the in-person event reunited diplomats and secretaries alike. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” said Carlos Elizondo, White House Social Secretary quoting Maya Angelou during the reception’s opening remarks. We thank all the social secretaries, cultural attachés and embassy protocol officers for their efforts in advancing diplomacy, cultural exchange and international cooperation.

Hybrid Programming is Underway

As we adapt to unprecedented times, Meridian continues to safely proceed with virtual and in-person events by fostering spaces for collaboration in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

  • The Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement hosted a successful hybrid Federalism Briefing for newly-arrived diplomats—allowing those to convene safely based on comfort levels. The hybrid model was proven effective again for our Diplocraft event, "Flight Plan: Reconnecting the World Safely" with United Airlines. The panel discussion, attended by an in-person audience and a simultaneous livestream, focused on how nations can safely return of travel by establishing common vaccination and testing protocols while jumpstarting economic recovery.
  • The Meridian Center for Global Leadership also hosted the first in-person International Visitor Leadership Program in two years: Contribution of Television Programs to Civic Debate in the United States: A Project for Cameroon. These IVLP participants gathered both on the Meridian campus and virtually to learn about the federal government and freedom of the press and expression in the United States. Alternatively, this month began our French-speaking 2021 Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) cohort connecting 60 students and 11 adult mentors from across Africa completely virtually!

Support Diversity in Foreign Policy

This past spring, Meridian introduced DiplomacyRISE (Readiness, Innovation, Skill, and Equity), an inclusive diplomatic professional development program that provides greater access to critical skills training, career guidance networks, and emerging issue expertise to cultivate the next generation of U.S. diplomats. Meridian President and COO Lee Satterfield announced DiplomacyRISE as "a part of the solution to shared global challenges," and reinforced the need for initiatives like it, "to cultivate the next generation of diplomats that reflect America's diversity and 21st-century statecraft. We all have a role to play and can work together to build a better world."

Help us spread this message at 2022 SXSWEdu! Our proposal for the SXSWEdu PanelPicker program, “American Diplomats Should Look Like America”showcases the vitality in creating a pipeline that educates, mentors and prepares underrepresented U.S. youth for global affairs careers. "Vote up" our pitch here!​​

Upcoming events

Global Business Briefing with National Security Council's Head of International Economics and Competitiveness

August 25 | 7:45 A.M. 
The Meridian Corporate Council is pleased to host an in-person luncheon roundtable discussion with Peter Harrell, Senior Director for International Economics and Competitiveness at the National Security Council. The conversation will cover supply chain resilience and the effects of nearshoring on the U.S. economy. This conversation is open to members of the Meridian Corporate Council and has limited space. For more information, please reach out to Steven GreenwaldThis program is closed to press and off the record.

Welcome to Washington Reception

September 14 | 5:30 P.M.
Meridian will welcome and honor newly arrived Chiefs of Mission to their postings in the United States in this invite-only event. The in-person evening reception provides an opportunity for newly arrived Ambassadors to meet and forge connections with Washington’s business, government, and cultural leaders. This event is part of Meridian’s Center for Diplomatic Engagement, an education and networking hub that accelerates collaboration between the diplomatic community and U.S. public and private sector leaders to solve shared global challenges. This program is open to press and on the record.

Meridian/Leaders on Purpose CEO Summit

September 22-23, 2021
Private and public sector leaders are signaling their dedication to purpose-driven and mission-driven leadership and to driving solutions towards a more sustainable economy. Today’s world is primed for a more globally engaged and impactful leadership. The Meridian Corporate Council, in partnership with Leaders on Purpose, are delighted to partner in bringing together the second annual CEO Summit at the UNGA, where the private sector sets the agenda for a day of programming at the UN. Ambassador Stuart Holliday, CEO of Meridian International Center along with members of our Board of Trustees, Corporate Council and other luminaries in the Meridian network, will be engaged in a variety of important discussions regarding economic diplomacy and the future of purpose led leadership on stage for a full day program on Sept. 23rd. Read more on this partnership here.

Meridian Ball and Global Leadership Summit

October 22, 2021
The 53rd Annual Meridian Ball will be in-person at Meridian House and embassies across Washington, D.C. The 10th Annual Global Leadership Summit: Prioritizing People and Planet will be a hybrid virtual/in-person experience. ​​​Click here to purchase tickets for this event. Attendees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination. Any additional health guidelines present at the time of the event, including, but not limited to, masking or limiting guest capacity, will be followed. For more information or questions, please contact Kylie Cash.

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