Cultural Vistas Names Dr. Linda Lopez as 2020 Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award Recipient

Washington D.C. (October 6, 2020) – Cultural Vistas is pleased to announce that Dr. Linda Lopez, a 2017 alumna of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE) program, has been named the recipient of its 2020 Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award. The award will be bestowed at Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit on October 22.

This award recognizes alumni of Cultural Vistas exchange programs who have attained distinction in their chosen field while fostering international understanding and collaboration in their communities and organizations. It is the highest honor bestowed upon Cultural Vistas alumni. At a time when more than 75% of Cultural Vistas programs have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus, Dr. Lopez’ impressive advancement of equity and inclusion for immigrants, refugees and low-income families provides a beacon of hope.

A Social Impact and Philanthropic Advisor with more than 20 years of experience in strategy, program development, management, and implementation of complex projects. Dr. Lopez’ impressive career has spanned leadership roles in multi-sector industries and organizational structures including university administration and management, federal and local government, non-profit management and with significant expertise in communication crisis response.

As Chief of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for the LA Mayor’s Office, Dr. Lopez served as a senior advisor to Mayor Eric Garcetti and led a variety of initiatives to create innovative public-private partnerships. Her work established the LA Justice Fund, a $10 million legal defense fund to provide legal representation to victims of domestic violence, children, refugees and asylum seekers and low-income families.

On behalf of the Mexican Consulate, Dr. Lopez established Ventanilla Financiera (financial window), a program that provides more than 30,000 residents financial education and services through partnerships with the banking and non-profit sectors. In the health arena, she has led a multi-sector coalition of key industries and stakeholders to create and implement innovative health programs and access for vulnerable populations.

In 2017, Dr. Lopez participated in Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE), a reciprocal exchange program for integration practitioners and leaders from the United States and Germany who work to integrate refugees and immigrants into their local communities. The goals of this program include to create and strengthen the “welcoming infrastructures” in these communities, including a productive dialogue between local residents and newcomers and collectively find innovative solutions to the challenges of unexpected influxes of migrants to communities in the U.S. and Germany.

“I am really honored to accept this award especially because I have so many good memories of my WCTE experience in Germany and how this informed the work I do on human rights, and refugee integration work,” said Dr. Lopez. “It was an incredible experience to be a part of the delegation and I have been able to use it to also write about models and best practices on welcoming and inclusive cities and resilient communities.”

A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Lopez holds a Ph.D in Political Science from USC and M.A.s in Political Science from USC and the University of Michigan. Dr. Lopez will be recognized among several award recipients, including Cisco, at the Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit on October 22 from 12-3 p.m. EST.

Established in 2018, the Cultural Vistas Awards Benefit recognizes individuals and institutions for their influence and notable contributions toward the advancement of global skills, leadership development, and cross-cultural understanding. This signature event brings together leaders from across the business, education, government, and diplomatic communities for an evening celebrating the diversity of people, ideas, knowledge, and skills shared through international exchange.

Learn more about the event program, tickets and opportunities to sponsor at

Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award Recipients


Alaina Percival
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, 2003-04


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program, 2001-02

About Cultural Vistas
Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization whose mission is to enrich minds, advance global skills, build careers, and connect lives through international exchange. Cultural Vistas develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Every year, Cultural Vistas’ 30-plus unique exchange programs empower people in the United States and in more than 130 countries around the world to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society. Learn more at