We Are Ambassadors For Democracy

At Cultural Vistas, we are Ambassadors for Democracy. Born in the ashes of World War II with the mission of re-building relationships between nations once deep at war, our organization has a storied legacy of bringing diverse perspectives together to find shared solutions for common global issues. As we move forward in a new year, we recommit to upholding the values we hold most dear such as equality, freedom and respectful debate. 

We gathered our staff and network virtually to weigh in on the work we can do in this coming year to support our values. Read on to hear the diverse ways our community pledges to support democracy this year and beyond.

How Will You Be An Ambassador For Democracy in 2021?

“Democracy is as strong as the people supporting it. I am dedicated to strengthening our democracy through Cultural Vistas’ programs by setting up spaces nationwide that expand learning of both our democracy and the role our democratic institutions play in it.”

Paul Champaloux

Senior Director, Exchange Visitor and Grants Programs and Global Programs for Young Professionals


“In 2021 I will be even more active in the social side of the transatlantic relationship which has brought so much peace and prosperity to the world. This includes supporting the World Affairs Council affiliate in my community, mentoring international fellowship applicants at my local university, and working to rebuild as much people-to-people programming as possible once COVID restrictions are lifted.”

Daniel Villanueva. Ph.D.

Program Director, Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals


“I want to find ways to better equip myself and my communities to engage in productive and healthy debate.”

Jennifer Clinton

President/CEO, Cultural Vistas

“By enabling more incredible leaders to make a difference in the world through the programs like YSEALI Seeds for the Future and Edmund S. Muskie Internship Programs. Through these programs, young leaders in diverse industries create projects, jobs, innovations, and community engagement opportunities in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.”

Natalia Etten

Program Officer, Exchange Visitor and Grant Programs


“To be an Ambassador for Democracy in 2021, I commit to using intercultural competence skills to better understand my beliefs, listen to others’ experiences and suspend judgement to engage in meaningful dialogue from diverse stakeholders.  By doing so, I hope to contribute to greater understanding and cooperation towards equity and justice.”

Nancy Ongstad

Senior Director, Internship Placement Programs


“I will commit to combatting inequity and supporting social justice leaders and movements within my local community and on the national scale.”

Laura Gross

Director of Administration, People + Culture


“I have to learn more about principles of democracy and have clear understanding in order to share those values with my community.”

Marina Brodsky

Accounting Specialist


“I will strive to bring people together to find common ground through true dialog, not monologue, about democratic values.”

Michael Nelson

Vice President, Digital Strategy & Technology


“I will be an informed and active citizen, welcoming difficult discussions. I will ensure that I speak truths, fact checking my comments frequently and on variety of sources. I will support and be active of the democratic system- voting and volunteering my time.”

Elizabeth Kumbhari

General Counsel & Vice President, Professional Exchange Programs


“I will be an Ambassador for Democracy by continuing my commitment to encourage my friends and family to register to vote and make their voices heard.”

Steven Washington

Assistant Program Director, International Visitors Leadership Program


“I will be an Ambassador for Democracy in 2021 by sharing the stories that represent progress towards the values I hold closest to my heart including freedom, equity and justice.”

Lauren Salisbury

Director of Communications


“I’ll be supporting democracy by continuing to be a young professional with the current CBYX cohort and then reapply and hopefully get to go to Germany in person this year. A great pleasure to be in this year’s amazing cohort, despite everything being online!”

Patrick Kornegay Jr. 

2020 CBYX Fellow


“I am an ambassador for democracy in 2021 too, by listening to and encouraging diverse opinions through civil, non-violent dialogue: modeling curiosity for learning through others and other cultures.”

Howard Wallack

Cultural Vistas Board Member


“There are horrible things happening in the world right now. Almost every aspect of our free societies has been under attack. When I saw your email, it reminded me of how amazing travelling and connecting with people really is. It builds understanding and mutual respect. It makes us think about our place in the world and which role we want to play. I believe that through open dialog, we can overcome the issues that plague us today. It will take many courageous conversations but together we can do great things.”

Eelco Galestien

2014 Cultural Vistas Alumni