This Earth Day, we reflect on our impactful strides in environmental stewardship with three remarkable climate initiatives from last year. Read on to learn about the journey visitors from El Salvador took to San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, South Korean visitors met with the CA Air Resources Board to discuss bridging nations for a greener future and a group from Chile met with the Yurok Tribe in Eureka, CA to learn about indigenous leadership and management of protected areas.

The Power of Arts and Exchange – A Virtual Reunion

On June 29, 2021, Global Ties Sacramento hosted Women Writing Together for Social Justice: The Power of Art and Exchange, a reunion between Sacramento-based Women’s Wisdom Art and the Ugandan Women Writers Association: FEMRITE. Members of Women’s Wisdom Art and FEMRITE reconnected with us virtually to share their international exchange experience and discuss their latest joint project: a cross-cultural anthology of women’s stories. Written and illustrated by 60 women writers (30 from the United States and 30 from Uganda), the writers hope that the book will inspire and encourage women around the world to use writing and art to influence social change. Each woman is writing about the experiences of her Ugandan or American counterpart, and using the narratives to tackle important issues, such as female genital mutilation and gang violence. The amazing work done by Women’s Wisdom Art and FEMRITE has given these writers— and eventually their readers— the opportunity to heal from trauma, create lasting bonds, and illuminate women’s voices. If you missed the event, click here to watch the recording.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and to the writers for sharing their time to give us a sneak peek into some of the stories. We look forward to the finished product! Special thanks go to our featured speakers:

  • Hilda Twongyeirwe, Executive Director, FEMRITE
  • Ms. Fortunate Tusasirwe, Programs Officer, FEMRITE
  • Ali Lichtenstein, Board Chair, Women’s Wisdom Art
  • Vicky Boyd, Vice-Chair, Women’s Wisdom Art
  • Yvonne Evans, Advisory Council Member, Women’s Wisdom Art

If you are interested in becoming more involved with international exchange programs in Sacramento, please contact Kim Todd or subscribe to our mailing list.

Writing for Social Change

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project, Writing for Social Change, brought women from the Ugandan Women Writers Association: FEMRITE, to the U.S. to meet with American c to examine the use of the written word to raise awareness of gender issues, empower women, and promote inclusion. While in Sacramento, the visitors met with representatives from Women’s Wisdom Art, a non-profit organization that improves women’s lives and advocates for equity and justice through art, writing, and wellness.

During this exchange, the women discussed the importance of using the creative arts to raise awareness of gender issues, influence social justice action, build confidence, and empower women. Both organizations provide a creative space for women to find their strength, gain confidence, and heal from trauma in their local communities, and were excited to share experiences. It was obvious from the first hello that a solid connection had been made and this IVLP meeting in Sacramento would not be the only time these women would interact. True friendships and a lasting partnership were formed.

Since 2019, Ali Lichtenstein, Board Chair of Women’s Wisdom Art, and Hilda Twongyeirwe, Executive Director of FEMRITE, have remained in almost constant contact. They are currently collaborating on a project with 60 women, 30 each from Uganda and the U.S., to inspire and encourage women around the world to use writing and art to influence social change.

2019 IVLP Meeting with Ugandan Visitors at Women’s Wisdom Art in Sacramento

Environmental Activism and Citizen Diplomacy

Saad Abid is an environmental activist and 2016 participant of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) from Morocco. He received the 2021 Global Ties U.S. IVLP Alumni Decade of Social Innovation and Change Award for his work, inspiring thousands of participants to take action against climate change.

Read more about Saad’s work, his reaction to receiving the award, and why he believes in the power of citizen diplomacy.

Supporting Next Generation of Leaders

Congratulations to former World Trade Center Northern California intern Evan Pearson on being selected to the 2021 Cohort of the Global Ties Emerging Leaders Program. Evan joins 19 other young leaders from around the country in this one-of-a-kind professional development program. Global Ties U.S. recognizes that today’s young leaders will be tomorrow’s changemakers, which is why they emphasize providing those interested in public diplomacy and international exchange with professional development and networking opportunities.

Evan is currently a student at UC Davis and began work as an intern with World Trade Center Northern California (WTCNC) in May 2020. He quickly became a valuable member of the team, supporting the organization’s international exchanges and diplomacy efforts, and helped WTCNC navigate the transition to virtual programs.

In addition, Evan participated in the first WTCNC Global Connections Program in July and August of 2020, engaging with international leaders about various topics of global importance, such as climate change, women’s empowerment, and bridging the tech divide. Evan’s leadership qualities shined during this program, as he was always well-prepared for the sessions, asked thoughtful and insightful questions, and took on a mentorship role with other students in the program.

WTCNC is thrilled for Evan to have this leadership development opportunity and looks forward to following his continued success!

Emergency Planners from Italy Learn about Wildfire Response

The California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) hosted a delegation of Italian government and emergency management professionals at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) headquarters in Sacramento in November 2019, turning a chance conversation at a bus stop into a very successful international event. Read more