GlobalAustin accomplishes their mission statement by providing programs and services to international visitors, students, residents, and scholars of Austin and Central Texas. In addition to welcoming hundreds of dignitaries participating in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program and other exchanges, GlobalAustin offers friendship and support to newcomers to the community through the City of Austin’s International Welcome Ambassador Program. Citizen Diplomacy Receptions and Networking Events provide an opportunity for the community to meet with international visitors to the area. Coffee Mornings for international visitors and their families are held on Wednesday mornings. This is an opportunity for participants to network, learn about Austin and Central Texas and to share with each other information about their countries and cultures.
Scholarships supporting international educational exchange are awarded annually. Scholarship recipients are invited to share their study abroad experiences during GlobalAustin’s Scholarship Forum. The International Austin Events Calendar, developed in partnership with the City of Austin, is an interactive, web-based program that enables the entire international community in the Greater Austin area to post, view, and search for events of interest to internationally-minded organizations, businesses, and the public at large. IFestATX, Austin’s International Festival, produced in collaboration with members of the International Austin Events Calendar, debuts in November 2015.
GlobalAustin builds people-to-people relationships “one handshake at a time”. GlobalAustin connects people with a global vision, for mutual learning and understanding, through hosting current and emerging leaders and developing citizen diplomats.
GlobalAustin was founded in 1960 as IHCA (International Hospitality Council of Austin) to match international students at The University of Texas with Austin families for fun and fellowship. International students, thousands of miles from home, had feelings of isolation and loneliness. The concept of host families was developed with the support of the Rotary Club, Pan American Round Table and the Junior League. The program quickly grew to 100s of volunteers serving as host families.
When GlobalAustin was founded, Austin was a college town whose economy was driven by the university and state government. Today, Austin is more international, not only because of business generated by the presence of multinational companies but also because of specific community efforts. The Sister Cities Program, established in 1965, has resulted in regular exchanges with cities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia. A series of international marketing campaigns has brought foreign tourists and business groups to the city. Still other foreign individuals and groups have come as a result of local college and university programs on global issues. Today, one out of five Austinites is foreign born.
Today, GlobalAustin’s primary focus is on the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program. Some old programs are being reinvented and some new programs are being launched. GlobalAustin is looking forward to continuing their efforts to promote global peace and understanding ‘one handshake at a time’.