Meeting shared global challenges... #GivingTuesday


Pictured: Participants in a Minority and NGO Participation in the Democratic Process IVLP Program, from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, after a meeting with the Kalamazoo Promise

At this time of giving, with open hearts and open minds, please consider investing in our mission to enrich our local community with global diversity, one relationship at a time. We do citizen diplomacy by relying on the generosity, day in and day out, of members of the Kalamazoo and broader West Michigan community to open their homes, schools, businesses, organizations and hearts to emerging leaders from all over the world. In 2019, we are on track to host the most visitors ever – more than 370 – from six continents. Without the hundreds of local residents giving of their time and talent, and without the amazing model-worthy initiatives taking place in so many fields all across our community, we would not be able to draw so many inspiring visitors to engage with all of Kalamazoo. This Giving Tuesday, thanks to a generous anonymous donation, the first $500 in gifts will be matched. Please support citizen diplomacy in West Michigan. In a time of shared global challenges, creating the opportunities for people to learn from and teach each other, face-to-face, is as important as it has ever been.   Here are the words of two of our recent International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) guests: 

“We met with a wonderful American family, which completely changed my perception of family relations in the United States.”
“Kalamazoo made me realize that there is great potential for innovation at the level of the small city in aspects of combatting poverty and promoting prosperity, and the importance of the community in this regard.”

Please support our work and join us in making the world stronger, through deeper cross-cultural international engagement, right here at the local level.  Below are a few highlights from our upcoming newsletter:


  • Hosted 24 exchange programs in the past six months, with four more to come in December

  • On track to host more than 370 visitors this year (up from 261 in 2018)Significantly increased the diversity of our professional hosts, who welcomed international visitors from 58 countries in 2019

  • 31 families hosted overnight guests for between one week and two months, with eleven being new to Colleagues Many more new hospitality hosts, opening their homes for a meal and casual, but meaningful, intercultural conversation

  • Continue to host delegations in Grand Rapids and Traverse City, so more of West Michigan can benefit from exchange with international leaders

  • Partnered to host inaugural Michigan event of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) - right here in Kalamazoo on WMU’s Campus

  • Two new events this year – a celebration of exchange at Bell’s Brewery; and an event honoring the legacy of women leaders in international exchange and diplomacy from Kalamazoo, at the Ladies’ Library Association (with a keynote from Global Ties U.S. President and CEO, Dr. Katherine Brown).

  • We have hosted programs on a very broad variety of themes this year, including media literacy; combatting trafficking in persons; youth development; entrepreneurship; disinformation in journalism; interfaith dialogue; arts and culture management; education and community service; summer camps; STEM education; traditional and social media in elections; minority participation in the democratic process; NGO management and many more. 


Thank you for all the ways that you are involved in Colleagues International. Join us in making a gift today.

Best wishes and thank you,

Jodi Hope Michaels Executive Director Colleagues International