ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on Tuesday received two honors — both of them for promoting Albuquerque on the world stage and for advancing citizen diplomacy.
The first award was from Global Ties ABQ on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award recognizes Berry’s “extraordinary commitment to encourage citizen diplomacy and to foster commercial, educational, and cultural exchange between Albuquerque and nations from all over the world.”
Global Ties ABQ is a local nonprofit that connects emerging leaders from other countries with New Mexicans via international exchange programs and events sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Yearly, Global Ties ABQ brings about 30 state department-sponsored international exchange groups through Albuquerque. The delegations are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, and the delegates are emerging leaders in fields ranging from entrepreneurship and economic development, human and minority rights, tourism, and civic activism.
Adelle Lees, director of the Global Ties ABQ, gave a concrete example of how citizen diplomacy at its best can work. In 2013, Rebeca Gyumi, a woman from Tanzania, was among the delegates who met with Berry’s Youth Advisory Council. She was so inspired by the local youths’ passion to be a part of change that when she returned to Tanzania she filed a petition with that country’s high court, winning a landmark case to raise the minimum age for marriage from 14 to 18.