Work and Travel and U.S. Diplomacy

October 31, 2016

Spirit's Alison Gold was awarded the 2016 McCarry Leadership Award by the Alliance for International Exchange for "exemplary leadership in the international exchange community." The McCarry Award honors former Alliance Executive Director Michael McCarry for over 21 years of unyielding commitment to the field of international exchange.

After attending the Alliance for International Exchange’s Annual Meeting, I left feeling (re)inspired about our field –that our collective efforts are an important part of U.S. diplomacy, and our work leads towards a more peaceful world. During a time in which anti-immigrant sentiment has infiltrated both left and right political sides in the U.S., Europe and other nations, I believe that international exchange plays a vital role in fostering greater understanding between individuals and across nations. The participants who come on our programs are the motivated ‘movers and shakers’, who go home and take with them a positive view of the U.S., impacting future relations between our countries.

All of us at Spirit joined the international exchange field because of that - we were significantly impacted by our own exchange experience and came home with a changed worldview. International exchange has provided me with immense personal growth, impactful professional opportunities, and vastly changed and improved my life. And I – along with all of us at Spirit – are wholly committed to providing these opportunities for others. We are extraordinarily lucky to get to give that experience back to others, impacting the hearts and minds to the future leaders of the world.

-Alison Gold, October 2016