Advocacy Day is hosted by the Alliance for International Exchange as a time for sponsors, exchange organizations, and other stakeholders to:
- Establish relationships on Capitol Hill
- Make initial funding and regulatory requests
- Share information/create feedback loop
- Spread awareness about the power of exchanges
- Become an advocate
Leading up to Advocacy Day, the Alliance held a virtual orientation and briefing to educate attendees on the nuts and bolts of advocacy work as well as the challenges facing the Educational and Cultural Exchange programs designated by the State Department.
On the evening before Advocacy Day, a reception was held for attendees to spend time networking with one another and learning about the international exchange work of other Alliance members. This year, speakers included Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who spoke highly of the value of cultural exchange and the international exchange programs that promote it across the U.S.
On Advocacy Day itself, attendees were broken up by state into small teams. Michelle joined “Team Wisconsin” in meeting with various staff members of Rep. Mike Gallagher, Rep. Mark Pocan, and Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Chelsea joined “Team Minnesota” and met with staff for Rep. Paul Stauber, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Sen. Tina Smith. At these meetings, the teams spoke with staffers about international exchanges and ways that the Members of Congress can support the work of educational and cultural exchanges.
Overall, the staff members were supportive of international exchange programs, understanding the value that international exchange brings to the economy and to national security.
This is the first year since the COVID-19 pandemic that the Alliance has been able to organize Advocacy Day in person, and Spirit is grateful to have been part of this event.
Special thanks to the Alliance for International Exchange, and especially Andrea Bodine and Mark Overmann, for organizing such an educational and enjoyable event!
Interested in learning more about advocacy for international exchange? Click here for resources!
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