My Emerging Leaders Experience

By: Gabriela Estala, Global Ties ABQ Program Coordinator

Every January, the Global Ties ABQ team heads to Washington DC to participate in the National Meeting of Global Ties US, and this year I had the distinct privilege and honor of being one of 18 young professionals selected to participate in the Global Ties US Emerging Leaders cohort. The National Meeting brings together about 1,000 professionals in public diplomacy and international exchange to share ideas and highlight leaders in the field. 

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What is the Emerging Leaders Program?

The Emerging Leaders program is designed to integrate and introduce stand-out interns and volunteers from all over the network into the National Meeting through a series of informative sessions regarding careers in public diplomacy and international relations. It also provided an outstanding opportunity for networking with so many wonderful people who share the same passion for building connections with those around us. The Global Ties Emerging Leaders program is described on their website:

Over the course of four days, these young citizen diplomats immerse themselves in the world of public diplomacy and international exchange by attending networking events, workshops, and sessions to hear from professionals in the field.”

Prior to this program, I was quite unsure about what I wanted to do post-graduation. I knew that I wanted to pursue an international master’s in business and sustainability, but the timing didn’t feel right. Before heading to DC, my Global Ties ABQ co-workers encouraged me to take this opportunity to explore different alternatives. 

Participating in the Emerging Leaders program was an immersive experience that allowed me to talk to many different people within the network that are all currently in unique phases of their careers. They showed me that I had started all on my own something I’ve always dreamed of doing – building connections with people from all over the world who all want to make it a better place. It was so refreshing being surrounded by people who understand that the things that divide us become the things that unite us. Although the days were long, full of career panels, simulations, and thought-provoking breakout sessions, such as “The Opioid Crisis”, I found myself energized by the passion for this integration into the public diplomacy sector that the Emerging Leaders program provided.

Throughout the duration of the conference, I promised myself that I would make meaningful connections; meaning that with every person I gave my business card to I had a stimulating conversation and a positive exchange of ideas. I was fortunate enough to have met leaders across the public and private sectors who provided insight and honesty that helped shape my career goals. The Emerging Leaders program truly gave each and every one of us a great and welcoming environment in which to grow professionally. 

Program Reflections

Overall, one of my favorite aspects of the experience was getting to engage with the other 17 Emerging Leaders. We were all from various parts of the country but were so proud to promote international exchange in our Community-Based Partners.  It was amazing to hear that despite how different our backgrounds were, we were all in this program for the same reason: our passion for public diplomacy and international affairs. After every conversation, I found myself more and more impressed by my fellow leaders and the dedication they had to their respective career paths.

This program not only solidified our passion but it also forever linked us together by the love of what we do within our cities and CBMs. Ever since my first day here at Global Ties ABQ, I’ve known that I love what I do and the meaningful work I get to engage in. Albuquerque is a city full of potential, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to showcase it on an international level. Knowing that there are these 17 Emerging Leaders around the country who work hard each day and dedicate themselves to the same cause humbles and motivates me. I truly cannot wait to see the ways in which they accomplish great things and help shape this new era of public diplomacy and international relations.

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