In May, the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council hosted a group of six international visitors from Japan, Kosovo, New Zealand, South Africa, Uruguay, and Vietnam as part of a U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project looking at different aspects of U.S. Foreign Policy.
The visitors began their visit at Pensacola City Hall, where Councilman P.C. Wu welcomed them, shared insight into how local government operates in the area, and presented the group with certificates of honorary citizenship to the city.
The group looked at the role of the National Guard in U.S. Foreign Policy and how service members and their families are affected by foreign policy decisions during a discussion with Florida National Guard Major Jamie Sweet and Sergeant Major Joseph Mosely.
At Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, Program Director of Immigration and Refugee Services Josefina DeVito spoke to the visitors about immigration and refugee policy as well as efforts to help newly-arrived citizens integrate into the community. Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida President & CEO Christopher Root, Immigration and Refugee Program Coordinator Maria Roswold, and Deanery Office Manager Matt Knee joined the discussion as well.
During a visit to the office of Congressman Jeff Miller, Congressional Caseworker Sherrie Holmes spoke to visitors about the role of a congressional district office and how constituents’ voices and opinions on foreign policy matters reach their elected representatives in Washington, D.C.
The visitors also experienced volunteerism, a key component of American culture, during a visit to Manna Food Pantries. Outreach Manager JoAnn Howansky explained the organization’s food pantry and nutrition programs to the group before they began workings in the Manna warehouse.
Visitors and locals engaged in informal conversation on foreign policy topics and current events at Seville Quarter during a community coffee discussion session. Joining the group were Donovan Chau, Julie Connerly, Kent DeSantis, Leigh DeSantis, Josefina Devito, Becky Kirsch, Julie Montgomery, Bob Moulton, Jacob Shively, and Bruce Swain.
Finally, the visitors had a wonderful time enjoying local hospitality during dinners hosted by Judy Brooks and John Toole, and Leigh and Kent DeSantis.
The Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council thanks everyone who made this project a success by engaging with the international guests.
Sharing ideas and experiences at the community coffee