Meridian Exchange | January 2021

As we head into 2021, Meridian stands ready to continue our work in advancing diplomacy and shared democratic values, while finding common ground about what unites America as citizens and with the world. See below for highlights from the last month 'at' Meridian, and be sure to check out our upcoming events at the bottom of the newsletter.

Meet Washington's newly confirmed ambassadors

Building peer-to-peer relationships in Washington, D.C. is crucial for diplomats to exchange information and facilitate bilateral cooperation on key global issues. Twice a year Meridian honors newly credentialed international ambassadors through our Welcome to Washington reception, giving these diplomats an opportunity to meet a cross-section of Washington, including fellow members of the foreign diplomatic corps and our distinguished network of public and private sector leaders. On January 13, we virtually celebrated 15 new ambassadors through our first-ever digital reception. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) offered remarks and emphasized the important role that the Ambassadors will play in strengthening diplomacy between the U.S. and their respective countries. The ambassadors in attendance outlined top priorities for their terms in the United States. Watch here.

Celebrating 80 years of international exchange

While 2020 presented unforeseen challenges, it remained a year of celebration for Meridian's 60th anniversary and the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which supports emerging international leaders and cultivates lasting cross-cultural relationships. For six decades Meridian has been a principal partner in implementing the IVLP and we're proud to collaborate with the U.S. State Department in administering and maintaining this flagship program for democracy and diplomacy. Many of our alumni have gone on to become heads of state, founders of NGOs and leaders in their communities, including UN Secretary General António Guterres, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and former President of Egypt Anwar Sadat. Throughout 2020 we highlighted IVLP alumni through our #FacesOfMeridian campaign, and Meridian IVLP alum (1986) and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair shared his experience and advice for future participants at the virtual anniversary celebration in December. Watch here.

Our 2021 commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion 

As we look forward to the new year, Meridian recognizes the importance of reflecting back on commitments made in 2020. In response to the convergence of a global public health crisis, ensuing economic despair and a sweeping movement for racial justice, Meridian listened, reflected and re-centered our efforts values to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace and programs. In July, we created an internal, cross-departmental and multi-generational Taskforce of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Taskforce to ensure we live our core values and prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace and programs. Over the last six months, this taskforce has provided our staff and network with timely discussions on anti-racism, and implemented new support measures, policies and trainings. Read more about our continued efforts here.

You're Invited to Join Us

Global Business Briefing with Vice President of the European Parliament

January 28 | 9:30 A.M. ET
Vice President of the European Parliament Dita Charanzová will join the Meridian Corporate Council for a discussion on 2021 trade outlooks. Moderated by Meridian CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday, the conversation will focus on the future of the U.S.-EU tech policy relationship. For more information, please reach out to Steven Greenwald.
*This program is closed to press and off the record.

Global Business Briefing with Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs

February 12 | Time to be announced
The Meridian Corporate Council is pleased to host H.E. Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Iceland's Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation, for an insightful discussion on the importance of U.S.-Arctic cooperation in 2021. For more information, please reach out to Steven Greenwald.
*This program is closed to press and off the record

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