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Young Diplomats of Utah High School Program offers Diplomacy Exchange with Jóvenes en Acción

Youth participants earn Citizen Diplomacy Certification badges, a great resume builder.

Utah Civic Learning Collaborative (UCLC) sat down with Vincent Carson of Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy (UCCD) to learn more about an upcoming opportunity to build global leadership skills in Utah youth.

UCLC: First, what is the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy?

Vincent: The UCCD is a nonpartisan nonprofit with a mission to promote respect and understanding between the people of Utah and other nations. We do this through citizen diplomacy: the concept that all people have the responsibility to take part in international affairs, one handshake at a time.

For more than fifty years, UCCD has been working with the U.S. Department of State to bring emerging leaders from around the world to Utah through their International Visitor Leadership Program. We provide space for critical conversations related to global issues.

What is your role in preparing youth for civic life?

Our Young Diplomats of Utah high school leadership program prepares youth aged 14-32 to enter our globally interconnected world. Participants explore international affairs by attending events, meeting with subject-matter experts and real diplomats, and participating in diplomacy simulations that grow their leadership skills and experience. Participants collect ‘badges’ for each of the ways they engage, culminating in a Citizen Diplomacy Certification that they can carry with them through their post-secondary and career. This certification also builds core competencies outlined in Portrait of a Graduate, which identifies the ideal characteristics of a Utah graduate after going through the K-12 system.

Can you describe the program you have coming up on October 26th?

In conjunction with the Jóvenes en Acción (youth in action) exchange program, UCCD is hosting a virtual diplomacy simulation between high school students in Utah and about 25 of their English-speaking peers in Mexico. This online event will sort students into five competing teams with the task of negotiating water rights between two fictive nations. Senator Luz Escamilla will join the event to discuss her role on the Utah Legislature International Relations and Trade Committee, as well as the power of positive U.S. – Mexico relations.

Space is limited, so encourage students to sign up quickly! Just like all of our youth programs, this simulation is free. Educators are welcome to attend and observe, as are lawmakers and the media. Email for further information.

How can educators or others support your program?

Educators can get involved in a variety of ways! First, we would love you to encourage your students to participate in the upcoming simulation, as well as our year-long Young Diplomats of Utah program. Educators are also encouraged to form teams in our Academic WorldQuest knowledge competition, taking place in March 2022. Outside of the classroom, all Utahns are welcome to attend our World Affairs Lecture Series events, with the next virtual lecture happening on November 9th.

What brought you to the Utah Civic Learning Collaborative?

I got involved into the Utah Civic Learning Collaborative because I have seen the power of that experiential civics has on student growth and believe that now is the moment for Utah to invest in innovative ideas that facilitate young peoples’ engagement in civic life. I love that the UCLC brings educators, nonprofits, and lawmakers together to build the momentum high quality civic teaching and learning.

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