The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 57 can companies, like those of Erica, Stephanie and Valerie. The U.S. National Security Strategy lays out four pillars, including the need to promote American prosperity. The strategy states that to succeed in this 21st-century geopolitical competi- tion, America must lead in research, technology and innovation. And one way that American companies are achieving this goal is through connections made on exchange programs. Take Mike Matesic from Idea Foundry in Pittsburgh, Pennsyl- vania, who participated in the State Department’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative reverse exchange program for Ameri- cans who host international YLAI participants. After completing his nine-day visit in Santiago, Chile, he told us: “We have identi- fied several potential partners which we are following up with to discuss collaboration. This will support the transfer of innovations and talent between Santiago and Pittsburgh, in both directions.” The economic benefit to Americans is also felt when partici- pants come to the United States from other countries. On our Community Solutions program, AbdulsalamMohammed of Ghana partnered with his host supervisor, Michelle Wilson from Global Ties in Akron, Ohio. Together they created the Accra-Akron Partnership Board, engaging the mayors of both cities to increase fair trade and collaborate to boost businesses in both cities. One of the most powerful statements about exchange pro- grams comes from Susan Cohig of the National Hockey League, who tells us that the espnWGlobal Sports Mentoring Program has helped her organization rethink their business challenges on a more global scale and take advantage of new opportunities. “It’s helped make us better as an organization,” she says. Her mentee Olga Dolinina returned to Ukraine to start “Break the Ice,” which works with kids fromwar-torn areas to provide the support and training they need to succeed and contribute to society. Each year 40,000 State Department-sponsored participants and more than 300,000 private sector sponsored participants, who are overseen by the State Department on programs like Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel, bring direct eco- nomic benefits to the American people, while contributing to our nation’s security. Well over 90 percent of ECA’s appropria- tion is spent in the United States or invested directly in Ameri- can citizens or American organizations. We could not do the work we do without organizations like Global Ties, with their network of 100 organizations serving all 50 states. Mostly comprised of volunteers, these citizen diplo- mats make connections in their communities with businesses and organizations, then connect them to international partici- pants. And I am proud that ECA is expanding our pool of U.S. private sector partners. These partners range from professionals Olga Dolinina, second from right, a Ukrainian alumna from the 2014 U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, returned to the United States last March for a special one-week activity with the National Hockey League and U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team. During the visit, Dolinina reunited with her mentor, NHL Senior Vice President Susan Cohig, second from left, who says the GSMP helped make the NHL a better organization. Dolinina and Cohig posed for this picture with NHL Counsel Nicole Allison, at left, and NHL Executive Vice President for Media and Business Affairs Elaina Lombardo, at right. Dolinina participated in the 2014 GSMP as head of development for the Ukraine Athletics Federation. Since then she has established “Break the Ice,” an after-school ice hockey, table hockey and therapy program to support children in Donetsk who have been affected by the conflict and violence in the region. U.S.DEPARTMENTOFSTATE