On Friday, June 19, Rep. James Moran (VA) introduced House Resolution 569: To support the work of citizen diplomacy organizations and encourage the convening of a Presidential Summit on Global Citizen Diplomacy. This comprehensive resolution is an important component of the National Initiative on Global Citizen Diplomacy called for by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) and a broad coalition of organizations and leaders in international affairs. The goal of the Initiative is to substantially increase the number of Americans engaged in citizen diplomacy activities around the world. The Resolution comes at a time of increased focus on our nation’s tools of diplomacy, as evidenced by multiple pieces of legislation currently being introduced or passed in support of various citizen and public diplomacy programs and organizations that work to increase citizen involvement in international relations.

To create a nation of citizen diplomats, the USCCD and coalition are calling on President Obama to support and expand citizen diplomacy activities and convene a national Summit on Global Citizen Diplomacy in 2010. President Dwight D. Eisenhower convened the first national people-to-people summit in 1956. Today, in a twenty-first century globalized world, the importance of a national Call to Action to engage more citizens of the United States in positive relations with citizens of other countries is greater than ever.

The Summit will bring together hundreds of organizations and individuals and launch a nationwide campaign heeding the President’s call to help “restore respect for our country throughout the world.” The campaign will work to mobilize millions of Americans by expanding available resources and opportunities for citizens to make a positive impact “one handshake at a time.” Citizen diplomats of all ages engage with counterparts around the world in a wide variety of ways including education and study abroad programs, development assistance, commercial enterprise, international volunteer service, community-based initiatives, and exchanges in the arts and humanities, as well as through sports and tourism.

As of Tuesday, June 30, the resolution has 16 cosponsors and bipartisan support. The cosponsors are Rep. James Moran (VA-8), Rep. Sue Myrick (NC-9), Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA-3), Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-1), Rep. John Conyers (MI-14), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Rep. Bob Filner (CA-51), Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), Rep. Tom Latham (IA-4), Rep. David Loebsack (IA-2), Rep. James McGovern (MA-3), Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ-5), Rep. John Olver (MA-1), and Rep. Charles Rangel (NY-15).

The U.S. Center now needs your help to obtain additional cosponsors in order to have the resolution come before the entire House of Representatives. You may view the full text of H.Res. 569 and send a letter urging your Representative to support and sign on to the Resolution by going to Change.org.

Derek Forsythe is part of the research and communications effort at the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy.