Diplomacy Begins Here Summit: Shaping Foreign Policy from the Heartland

The Diplomacy Begins Here: Shaping Foreign Policy from the Heartland conference took place on Thursday, September 21, 2023. In honoring the tradition of President Truman’s impact on foreign policy, the Summit was held at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.  

Speakers for the day included: 

Mark Adams, Education Director, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library

Courtney Brooks, President and CEO, Global Ties KC

Jim Erickson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, MO 

Drew Felling, Vice President, International Trade, Commerce Bank 

Zane Francescato, Central Outreach Manager, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Karen Hiller, Councilwoman, Topeka, KS  

Kevin Holland, Vice President, Lockton 

Melissa Miller, Director, World Trade Center-Kansas City 

Chris Miner, Managing Director for Professional and Cultural Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Trisha Purdon, Director, Office of Rural Prosperity, Kansas Department of Commerce

Danial Orange, Program Officer, Office of International Visitors, U.S. Department of State

Daniel Ricchetti, Deputy Special Representative for City and State Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State

Chris Steineger, Former State Senator, KS

Amy Storrow, Director, Office of International Visitors, U.S. Department of State

Eileen Weir, Former Mayor, Independence, MO 

Matt Ziegenhorn, Global Ties KC Host

The Diplomacy Begins Here Summit brought together diverse perspectives to engage on how the Heartland is historically and presently connected to international affairs. Our speakers outlined how the region engages in international trade vital to the global economy, how rural communities are sometimes large exporters, and how everyone has the opportunity to engage in diplomacy right here in the Heartland. We hope that those in attendance came away from the Summit with a fresh understanding or renewed optimism of the importance of America’s heartland.

The day wrapped up with closing remarks from Daniel Ricchetti, the Deputy Special Representative for City and State Diplomacy. In his role, Daniel works with municipal leaders such as mayors, governors, and other local officials to strengthen local government engagement on the international stage. “Every citizen can play a role in creating enduring relationships abroad by engaging communities beyond our borders, emphasized DSR Ricchetti in his keynote remarks about the role of citizen diplomats in international affairs. 


To read about the Heartland Welcome Dinner, click here

To read about the Learning Lab, click here