Envisioning New Vistas in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

At Cultural Vistas we strive to enrich minds, develop global skills, and connect lives. Each year we connect thousands of young professionals to opportunities that deepen their understanding and appreciation of the many unique cultures that call our planet home. Our purpose has always been to create shared understanding and bring people together to work together in a global community.

The painful events of this past spring and summer have saddened and angered us as systematic racism persists, and we are reminded of the cultural divides in our own backyard weaken and diminish both our nation and the world. The recent moment has made clear: real understanding requires justice; lasting connection is rooted in equality.

As we continue on a journey to better develop intercultural competence and bring a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive lens to our work, we share our commitment to facilitate more access to international experiences through our partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Guiding us in this work is Dr. N Joyce Payne, Cultural Vistas Board Member and founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), designed exclusively for exceptional students at the nation’s 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). Dr. Payne has a long career in fighting for equality and previously served as Vice President, Office of the Advancement of Public Black Colleges and Council of Student Affairs of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities as well as Executive Director of the National Alliance for Public Trust.

Increasing access to meaningful learning opportunities for underserved populations is a priority we pursue with renewed fervor. Read on for a statement from Dr. Payne with her vision for an improved world with global engagement.

Statement from Dr. N Joyce Payne on Diversity in Global Leadership

While America speaks with pride about liberty and justice and the richness of our diversity, we continue to experience pervasive social injustices and bigotry that have the power to crush the aspirations and dreams of millions of young men and women of color. The conscience of America is stunned by the senseless and graphic murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and far too many others at the hands of public servants, their lives represent the hallowed promise of the Declaration of Independence “…that all men are created equal…”

This is no time for business as usual. The relentless pandemics of the virus and social injustice have created a firestorm across the world and widened cracks in the very foundation of democracy. We must envision a new, bold narrative that challenges regressive social policies and undermines globalism as a deterrent to international engagement; one that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive than before.

We must look for new ways to promote the value of inclusion and international cooperation in the midst of oppressive policies that overshadow the benefits of diversity. Those of us who believe in a true democracy must challenge the status quo and dissect deeply rooted structural inequities at the highest levels of government and industry.

Global experiences are integral to changing this status quo. The skills one acquires through meaningful global engagement either through international exchange programs or global collaboration are irreplaceable in building critical skills and competencies that build careers and provide pathways to leadership. To aid in this endeavor, Cultural Vistas and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund are working together to expand access to international experiences, global skill-building and career mentorship.

The TMCF represents a network of member-schools including the 47 publicly supported HBCUs/PBIs, medical and law schools, serving as a resource for nearly 300,000 students. I joined the board of Cultural Vistas in 2019 to strengthen global engagement throughout our network. Our new global initiative with Cultural Vistas will provide access, resources, and international experiences for our network to participate in and become global leaders in their fields.

America’s regressive policies and practices are not only a threat to the nation’s economic growth and security, it undermines nearly a century of political and economic cooperation with our allies and budding democracies. G. John Ikenberry, says, “The age of contagion demands more internationalism, not less.”

As America grapples with massive disruptions at every level of the society, Cultural Vistas brings progressive voices together to tackle these strategic questions with a laser focus on prompting new policies and programs that have the power to give the next generation of children of the world valid reasons to hope, to live, to prosper in a democracy that truly believes in creating a richer, more vibrant and inclusive vision of exceptionalism.

Through this collaboration, young Black men and women won’t just hear the hallowed promise of America, they will see themselves in it and they will lead the way.

For more on Thurgood Marshall College Fund, visit

Further the Discussion at the Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit

The theme of diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to international exchange will be further explored at the Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit October 22+23, 2020. Established in 2018, this annual event 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.

To learn more, purchase tickets or donate to our mission, visit