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Welcome to our new weekly virtual conversations with our City's international thinkers, past international visitors, and Citizen Diplomats from all over the world. You want to know how people around the world are handling this crisis, and we want to keep you connected to our worldwide community of Citizen Diplomats.

Previously recorded Zoom conversations

Thursday, October 7, 12 PM Eastern Time

Sister City Frankfurt

Matthias Thoma, CEO of the Eintracht Museum in Frankfurt

A Sister City since 2015, we are proud to work in partnership with Frankfurt toward a more peaceful and prosperous world. Matthias Thoma is a leader in his research and commitment to sharing the culture of this global city.

Tuesday, June 29, 12 PM Eastern Time

Reflecting on IVLP in Philadelphia and Journalism in Gaza

Nagham Mohanna, IVLP Alumna and Journalist, The National

Understanding the Middle East in today's political climate is especially important. Nagham Mohanna and journalists like her are working to share stories on a global level.

Thursday, June 10, 12 PM Eastern Time
Sister Cities - Tel Aviv

Israel Nitzan, Acting Consul General of Israel in New York

Sister City relationships improve our world by promoting diplomacy and expanding conversations on pressing issues. Citizen Diplomats join the Acting Consul General of Israel to discuss transitioning through the pandemic and more topics on their homefront.

In partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Tuesday, May 18, 2 PM Eastern Time
COVID & Health Challenges for The World

Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York and career diplomat

Though great strides have been made to combat COVID, there are still a number of global health challenges that must be addressed. Passionate about the healthcare sector of the Indian community in the U.S., Citizen Diplomats join Consul General Jaiswal as he updated us on endeavors to strengthen the relationship of our two countries during the pandemic.

In partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Thursday, May 13, 12 PM Eastern Time
African Superheroes

Samba Yonga, Media Communications Specialist and IVLP alumna from Zambia

Stories of superheroes not only entertain us but also impact our cultural DNA and influence real-world societies. Samba Yonga is a visionary of what our society can look like if we re-learn indigenous knowledge instead of relying on western views.

Philly Shipyard

Tuesday, April 27, 12 PM Eastern Time

Steinar Nerbøvik, President and CEO of Philly Shipyard ASA and Philly Shipyard Inc.

Hundreds of jobs have returned to Philadelphia thanks to a decade-long project building National Security Multi-Mission Vessels for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. Steinar updated us on what this new contract means for the Shipyard's operations and the economy of our city.

In partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Exploring Energy Innovations

Thursday, April 22, 12 PM Eastern Time

Amina Ansari, Consulting Manager at Bridge Factor and IVLP alumna from Pakistan

Kareem Afzal, CEO of PDC Machines

This Earth Day, learn about the latest energy innovations from Pakistan to Philadelphia.

Pakistan's Amina Ansari is expanding solar, wind, and bio-waste and has worked with local and international stakeholders and partners including the Aman Foundation, GE Capital, and The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

Philadelphian Kareem Afzal is producing hydrogen energy and refueling solutions for fuel cell cars, buses, trucks, forklifts, trains, and so on. Whether it's making our beloved Philadelphia Eagles more sustainable with hydrogen energy at Lincoln Financial Field or bringing the first retail hydrogen station to Australia, Kareem is helping to solve the challenge of climate change through the adoption of clean, hydrogen energy.

Social Entrepreneurship with Special Guests from Brazil

Thursday, April 8, 12 PM Eastern Time

Eliane TrindadeSocial Entrepreneur Award Senior Editor at Folha de S.Paulo

Raphael Mayer, Co-founder and Manager of Simbiose Social

Nicola Gryczka, Co-founder of Social Gastronomy Movement

Kim Ramirez, Co-founder and CEO of FactSumo

Karina SotnikFounder of WorldUpstart

Citizen Diplomats got a behind the scenes look at the conversations that happen in IVLP. Leading social entrepreneurs in Brazil and Philadelphia talked about ways to achieve extraordinary impacts. Collaboration is key to build resilient economies and support innovative solutions.

Diplomacy and Dialogue: The International Art World and Major Art Fairs

Tuesday, March 30, 12 - 1 PM Eastern Time

Omar López-ChahoudArtistic Director and Curator of UNTITLED

Ralph CitinoArt Collector

Moderated by Christine Pfister, Director and owner of Pentimenti Gallery and Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Philadelphia

This conversation will delve into the global significance of major international art fairs. We will hear about current trends and challenges for art fairs from the perspectives of several prominent members of the international arts community. The panel will be followed by a Q&A.

Jake Marini, Vice Provost for Global Engagement at Drexel University
Tuesday, March 9, 1 PM

Philadelphia's universities are big advocates for creating global citizens. Citizen Diplomats joined as Jake Marini updated us on how COVID-19 has affected Global Engagement for Drexel University and future plans for global education.

In partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Fred Maahs and Yuval Wagner on Accessible Travel From Philadelphia to Tel Aviv

Thursday, March 4, 12 - 1 PM

Accessibility and inclusive design innovations are gaining wide appeal. As we reimagine what safe cities look like, we spoke about the growing business of accessible travel with Yuval Wagner, Founder and President, Access Israel and Fred Maahs, Founder and President, FJM Solutions, global disability rights champion and Editor of Melange, Accessibility for All. We  discussed trends for expanding universal design in the U.S. and internationally.

Kim Cahill on Educating Responsible Global Leaders

Thursday, February 11, 12:00 – 12:30 PM

Under her leadership, study abroad by business students increased 1,000 percent. Join our discussion on the best ways to promote global opportunities to Philadelphia's emerging leaders in 2021 and what it takes to compete in the 21st-century workforce as responsible global citizens. Currently, the Director of The Elenore and Robert F. Moran Sr. Center for Global Leadership at Villanova's School of Business (VSB), Kim has been involved in international education for more than 20 years. She serves a member of the MidAtlantic District Export Council and in 2015, Kim received a distinguished Fulbright International Education Administrators award to travel to Germany.

Annual Meeting and Donor Appreciation Coffee Break

Thursday, February 4, 3:00 - 3:45 PM

Citizen Diplomats joined us for a coffee break to recognize the efforts of fellow Citizen Diplomats in 2020, keeping Philadelphia connected to the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. President and CEO Siobhan Lyons shared highlights of 2020, plans for 2021, plus a special message from Senator Bob Casey.

Tuesday, February 2, 8:30 – 9:00 AM Eastern Time
Miao Poya Turning a New Page in Taiwan's Politics

As part of our Social Justice Series, Citizen Diplomats joined to hear Taiwan's covid success stories with IVLP alumna, Miao Po Ya. Miao became one of the first ever openly lesbian politicians in Taiwan when she was elected to Taipei City Council in 2018 as a member of the Social Democratic Party. She has since gone on to become a driving force advocating for issues such as the abolition of the death penalty, judicial reform, gender equality and labor rights. She was named among the “16 women fighting for fairness in Asia” in June 2020 by Tatler Asia.

Thursday, January 28, 9:00 – 9:30 AM Eastern Time
Dr. Joel Duah Afi Talks About Creating Opportunity From Crisis

Joel talked about his work in Healthcare and Economic Empowerment in Ghana.  An alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he recently launched a vocational training program in response to covid empowering women through sustainable employment skills. Joel is a winner of the USADF, USAID, CITI Foundation grant competition to expand his organization to a community clinic, the first ever hospital facility and access to healthcare in a district with a population of over 114,000 residents.

Thursday, January 21, 12 PM Eastern Time
Vikram Dewan, CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo 

Presented in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia.

Thursday, January 14, 12 PM Eastern Time - International Art

Val Gay, Deputy Director of Audience Engagement + Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes Foundation

Mladen Banjac, Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republika Srpska, Bosnia Herzegovina Representative to the International Council of Museums, IVLP alumni

Moderated by Christine Pfister, Director and owner of Pentimenti Gallery and Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Philadelphia

Presented in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia.

Tuesday, December 15, 11 AM Eastern Time

Lee Anne MilhiserHead of Global Enterprise Risk Management at Nasdaq and Raymond MaysSenior Vice President, Global Head of Real Estate, Facilities & Security at Nasdaq

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Hear how Nasdaq's global operations are adapting to the impact of Covid-19 and what they see as the future of work coming out of the pandemic.

Tuesday, December 8, 11 AM Eastern Time

Ruth Ann Frey, Vice President, Global Strategy and Business Development

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Join Ruth Anne Frey to discuss COVID-19's impact on CHOP's international partnerships and how healthcare is adapting in the face of a global pandemic.

Thursday, December 3, 5 PM Eastern Time

December First Thursday and Year End Achievements

Special international friends will be joining us to share live updates on their achievements of 2020. December would mark our annual holiday party, but this year in the season of giving, join us to meet new international friends and give international education to the next generation.

Thursday, November 19, 10 AM Eastern Time

David Briel, Executive Director of International Investment at the Department of Community and Economic Development and Karolina Kaptur, Pennsylvania's Trade Representative in Poland at AHP International

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

David Briel will join Karolina Kaptur to discuss the strong ties between Poland and Pennsylvania and continuing opportunities for trade and investment as we navigate the Corona pandemic.

Thursday, November 12, 11 AM Eastern Time

André HaspelsAmbassador of the Netherlands

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Citizen Diplomats joined Ambassador André Haspels as he talked about how the Dutch are handling the second wave of Covid and the current connections with Philadelphia.

Thursday, November 5, 5 PM Eastern Time


U.S. Presidential election season is here and for November First Thursday, we discussed the U.S. Electoral Process with our international friends. Head Consul of Mexico, Carlor Obrador joined us for the evening's conversation. We also gladly welcomed our friend Manuel Vargas, IVLP alumna back to Philadelphia, virtually. . This event featured a Spanish-speaking breakoout room.

Tuesday, October 27, 9 AM Eastern Time

Alina ShkolnikovSocial Impact Program Officer at the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and IVLP Alumna from Tel Aviv

In honor of Tel Aviv and Philadelphia's Sister City Anniversary, we are excited to welcome Israeli native, Alina to update us on the Social Impact portfolio she has been working on since her visit to Philadelphia. 

Alina Shkolnikov is a Program Officer at the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, in Israel, where she manages the social impact portfolio. Her role entails strategic oversight of all projects and programs aimed at social impact, via specialized grants. Her projects include the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation (Israel) and Jewish Funders Network Matching Grant: Build & Strengthen the Impact Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Israel. Additionally, Ms. Shkolnikov is the founder of Ms. Catt aimed towards the implementation of UNSCR 1325, in non-Western conflict countries, empowering current and future female leaders in realms of international security. And, she is the co-founder of House of Genius aimed at leveraging collective creativity to help entrepreneurs solve critical challenges via professionally-facilitated monthly gatherings.

Thursday, October 22,  12 PM Eastern Time

Featured Speaker: Ciarán Madden, Consul General of Ireland in New York

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Consul Madden discusssed the long-standing cultural and economic ties between Philadelphia and Ireland and the opportunities to strengthen our connections in COVID times.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
9 AM
 Eastern Time

Featured Speaker: David Gill, Consul General of Germany in New York

Conversation in partnership with the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany New York and the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

In honor of German American Friendship Day, Consul Gill discussed 5 year FRA-PHL Sister City relationship, climate change, economics and 30 years of German reunification.

October First Thursday

Thursday, October 1, 2020, 5 - 6 PM Eastern Time
Where: Italy, Philadelphia, All over the world

Citizen Diplomats joined us to meet new Italian friends as we celebrated our Sister City anniversary with Florence, Italy! We are also excited to meet the new Deputy at the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia. This event also featured an Italian-speaking break out room.

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 10 to 11 AM Eastern Time
A special 1-hour conversation

Featured Speaker: Yasmine Mustafa, social entrepreneur and co-founder of ROAR for Good

Tune in with Yasmine as she talks diversity in STEM and starting a business with students from our "How to Succeed as an Innovator" virtual exchange program.

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 12:30 PM Eastern Time
Featured Speaker: Manuel Vargas, IVLP Alumnus from Costa Rica

Check in with Manuel on how he is working through challenges of a digital divide in hopes to give more people access to education.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - 5 PM Eastern Time
Featured Speaker: Chellie Cameron, CEO of Philadelphia International Airport
Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

How has travel remained essential to Philadelphia? Tune in to hear insights on the future of travel and making Philadelphia's impact on the nation's travel industry.

Thursday, September 3, 2020, 5:30 - 7 PM Eastern Time
Where: Egypt, Philadelphia, All over the world
This September, you are invited to meet Menna Khaliel and Ramadan Ibrahim from our How to Succeed as an Innovator STEM entrepreneurship exchange for college students from Egypt and Philadelphia. I know you will enjoy hearing about this fantastic educational experience and their recent travels from Egypt to Philadelphia for college.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 12:45 PM Eastern Time
Featured Speaker: Jim Moses, Vice President of PHL Hub Operations at American Airlines

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Jim Moses is the Vice President of PHL Hub, JFK, LGA and BOS Operations at American Airlines. Tune in as he shares insights on how American Airlines is adapting in the face of a global pandemic and the future of travel.

Thursday, July 23, 2020, 8:30 AM Eastern Time
Featured Speaker: Eduard Hechler, Director of International Affairs of Frankfurt, Germany

Eduard Hechler has served as the Director of International Affairs in Frankfurt since 2007. His responsibilities include, Foreign and European Affairs, Partner Cities Relations, the Consular Corps Liaison Office and International Networks. Mr. Hechler began his career with the City of Frankfurt am Main in 1976. He has served in a variety of roles, including at the Frankfurt Opera and Theatre and the Frankfurt Tourism Board. In 2002, Mr. Hechler was promoted to Head of Sister Cities Affairs and Deputy Head of Protocol and, in 2004, he joined the newly established International Affairs Unit in the Mayor's Office.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 12 PM Eastern Time
Featured Speaker: Khawar Nasim, the acting Consul General of Canada in New York

Conversation in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Mr. Nasim is a career diplomat who joined the Canadian Department of External Affairs in 1993. Prior to his New York assignment, Mr. Nasim was Canada’s Consul General in Minneapolis. During his time at Headquarters, Mr. Nasim served in the European Investment and Technology Division, the South Asian Trade Division and the Trade Operations policy unit. His overseas career has included postings in Rome, where he served as Second Secretary (Commercial), Barcelona where he was Consul and Rome for a second time where he served as Minister-Counsellor (Commercial-Economic). In 2010, Mr. Nasim took a leave from government to work as Vice-President of External Affairs, for one of Canada’s largest gold companies, Yamana Gold of Toronto.

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 12:30 PM Eastern Time
Featured Speaker: Norman Vossschulte, Philadelphia Eagles Director of Guest Experience & German native

Citizen Diplomats tuned in for a conversation with Norman Vossschulte, the director of Guest Experience at the Philadelphia Eagles. Celebrating the 5 year anniversary of Philadelphia's Sister City relationship with Frankfurt, the German native talked about his role leading the Eagles' Go Green initiative and the unforgettable behind-the-scenes tour of Lincoln Financial Field he gave last November to visiting IVLP delegation of American Football players and managers from Russia.

Thursday, June 25, 2020, 12:00 PM Eastern Time
Nikarilkanth Kanthasamy, IVLP Alumnus, Sri Lanka 

As Assistant Secretary at Sri Lanka's Ministry of Skills Development, Employment & Labour Relations, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nikarilkanth will discuss his work protecting and advancing minority rights in Sri Lanka, including creating the first social security system for migrant workers in his country, and how his time in Philadelphia as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program helped him understand equal rights in completely new ways.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 12:30 PM Eastern Time
Edgar Vesga-Arias, executive director and CEO of Philadelphia International Medicine

Hear about his work connecting international patients and physicians to Philadelphia's network of world-renowned doctors, surgeons, and hospitals.

In partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Thursday, June 18, 2020, 12:30 PM Eastern Time

Jameela HollingsworthHR Manager and Owner of The HR Boss

In 2018, Jameela visited Philadelphia on the International Visitor’s Leadership Program in recognition of her contribution to entrepreneurship in Barbados. At HR Boss, Jameela has built a Caribbean millennial career consultancy with readership in over 27 countries. She is a qualified HR practitioner with over 8 years’ experience in Jamaica, Barbados and St. Lucia. She is a certified recruiter & psychometric assessor and has helped thousands of persons take charge of their careers. Recently, Jameela expanded her consulting into political strategy and helped her first political client win a highly contested seat, which until now had never been held by the Barbados Labour Party.

Thursday, June 11, 2020, 12:30 PM Eastern Time
Gabriela Savova, Digital Communications Fellow, Bulgaria 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 3:30 PM Eastern Time
Jerry Sorkin, Honorary Consul for Tunisia
Partnership with Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Thursday, June 4, 2020, 5:30 PM Eastern Time

June First Thursday - Message from the CEO

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:30 AM Eastern Time
Ami Bharat Chheda, Professional Fellow and Youth Advocate, India

Tuesday, May 26, 12 PM  Eastern Time
Anne Bovaird Nevins, President of PIDC

Presented in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia.

Thursday, May 21, 2020, 11 AM Eastern Time
Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York

Presented in partnership with the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 12 PM Eastern Time
Nwabisa Mayema, Entrepreneur, South Africa

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 9 AM Eastern Time
Mario Ramò, Deputy Head International Economic Relations, Economiesuisse, Swiss Business Federation, Switzerland

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 3 PM Eastern Time

Pier Attinio Forlano, Consul General of Italy

Hear Pier's reflections on COVID-19; the economic impact of the crisis; and what Italy has learned as a result.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 5:30 PM Eastern Time
Virtual First Thursday: Special Guest, Anne Grimes, Director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Visitors

Update on the International Visitor Leadership Program will give us an update, then we will Breakout for conversations exploring what does diplomacy look like in a virtual world?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
(Partnered with Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia)
Carlos Obrador Garrido Cuesta, Head Consul of Mexico in Philadelphia

Update on how COVID-19 is affecting business in Mexico; our Mexican community in Philadelphia, and a brief update on the new trade deal between Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Gerald B. Halt Jr., Citizen Diplomacy board member and partner at Volpe and Koenig, Andreas Lindgren at AWA in Malmo, Sweden and Michael Lucey at Purdy Lucey Intellectual Property in Dublin, Ireland

Thursday, April 23, 2020
Yelena Potapova, Open World Facilitator and International Visitor from Russia


Thursday, April 16, 2020
Dr. Emanuel Catumbela,  Medical Faculty at Agostinho Neto University and the National Director of
Post-Graduate Training for the Angolan Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

Hear about his trip to Philadelphia, how Angolans are coping with COVID-19 and future plans with his work.

Thursday, April 8, 2020
Lauren Swartz, Philadelphia's Deputy Commerce Director for International Business and Global Strategy.

Hear how international business attraction has been impacted by travel restrictions and physical distancing, and then what comes next once this crisis has passed. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

April First Thursday and Update on Citizen Diplomacy's Programs in the face of Covid-19

Our 2019/2020 community programs are made possible through our corporate partners at Elap Services, Volpe KoenigSpangles Custom Jewelry Designs, Philadelphia Credit Union, Temple University, and generous support from the Albert W. Bader Foundation.