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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 22, 2010

International Writing Program is recognized as a model for cultural diplomacy

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) has been recognized as a model for arts-based cultural diplomacy programming by the International Cultural Engagement Task Force and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD). The IWP's activities will be highlighted as a "Best Practice" at the upcoming U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy, which will be held Nov. 16-19 in Washington, D.C.

IWP Director Christopher Merrill will represent the UI at the summit, where he will be featured on a "Best Practices" panel.

In preparation for the summit, task forces in nine sectors -– business, community-based organizations, development assistance, global health, higher education, international cultural engagement, international voluntary service, K-12 education and youth service -- were created to highlight ways in which organizations can expand existing initiatives and offer new and innovative programs to encourage more engagement of Americans in global citizen diplomacy.

The task forces vetted hundreds of program profiles before selecting those that represent "Best Practices." The IWP was one of the "Top Ten" organizations selected by the International Cultural Engagement Taskforce, along with the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, American Voices, the Asia Society, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Cultures in Harmony, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Silk Road Project, the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, the Sundance Institute and the World Monuments Fund.

The task force examined existing and proposed new international cultural engagements that help enhance mutual understanding, respect and trust. These included partnerships and collaborations among individuals and organizations in the United States and abroad in the fields of dance; design; folk arts; humanistic study and publication; film, television and digital arts; libraries; literature and writing; music; opera; heritage preservation; music-theater; theater; and the visual arts; and the presenters, exhibitors and networks of these artistic and humanistic endeavors.

The U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy is a national meeting presented by the USCCD in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The summit is designed to broaden the momentum generated from the work of the USCCD as a national resource base and network for Americans to be engaged as citizen diplomats, and two major leadership forums focused on the revival of citizen diplomacy as a critical component of U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy strategy.

The summit will be the first such meeting since President Eisenhower’s People-to-People conference on the same subject 54 years ago, and will serve as the launch for a “Decade of Citizen Diplomacy” with a goal of doubling the number of American citizen diplomats by 2020.

For detailed information about the summit, visit

Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature.

The IWP introduces talented writers to American life; enables them to take part in American university life; and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. Since 1967, more than 1,200 writers from more than 130 countries have attended the IWP, including Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Many of the writers are supported through the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies, while others are funded through a variety of foundations, government councils and bilateral agreements.

The 2010 IWP community of 38 writers from 32 countries includes a mix of fiction writers, poets, translators, essayists, filmmakers, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, journalists and critics.

In recent years, the IWP has also organized symposia in Greece and North Africa, hosted Russian writers through the Open World program, and sponsored writing workshops for young Arabic-language writers at the UI.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Chris Merrill, IWP,; Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-430-1013,