We kicked off 2020 with a celebration of Meridian’s 60th anniversary. Founded in 1960, Meridian strengthens engagement between the United States and the world through diplomacy, leadership and culture to solve shared global challenges. We commemorated the history of our work and our historic campus in Washington with the publication of our book, Grounds of Diplomacy: A History, A Place, A Mission.
But it wasn’t long into 2020 that the world turned upside down. Meridian responded by pivoting to virtual programs, harnessing the tools of digital connectivity to create MeridianOnline. With the help of our supporters and network, we achieved truly global collaboration between business, government and diplomatic leaders at a time when cross-sector, multinational cooperation was most necessary.
We hosted 160 virtual programs and exchanges with 782 experts and stakeholders and reached a global audience of 6,849
we brought together the ambassadors of both countries to discuss their national responses with members of our Corporate Council.
we welcomed Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff and Ebola Czar, to analyze the current situation and the federal approach to the crisis.
we convened the mayors of three cities to share insights and updates with members of the diplomatic corps.
In October 2020, we organized our first-ever virtual summit with more than 40 leading experts across sectors and border.
READ our report: Redefining Diplomacy in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
We launched the Meridian Center for Global Leadership to house the professional and educational programs that enhance Meridian’s vision of a more secure and prosperous world—today and for generations to come.
Meridian has been preparing the next generation of global leaders to collaborate on solutions to shared challenges, and I'm pleased to announce the development of the forthcoming Meridian Center for Global Leadership, which will expand our reach in this space and harness our expertise in developing innovative leadership programs adapted for the new virtual world.
Check out our PRESS RELEASE
As the U.S. grappled with the pandemic, it faced another crisis that has plagued the country from its beginnings. The killing of George Floyd and other instances of police brutality launched a sweeping national movement for racial justice and equity, bringing much-needed awareness to the history of systemic racism in the United States. Meridian responded by convening nuanced discussions on racism and injustice and their intersections with civil rights, healthcare access, and other critical issues.
And we continued to share the diversity of American culture with the rest of the world, even in the virtual age of the pandemic, through our Next Level Live! series. A cultural diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Meridian International Center, Next Level uses Hip Hop to create connections around the world while promoting conflict transformation, entrepreneurship, artistic and professional development among younger and underserved audiences.
Learn more about Next Level Live!
When the COVID-19 crisis, racial injustice, the economic recession and other issues of the year came to a head in the 2020 election, Meridian created a space for addressing the challenge of disinformation and its impact on elections and American democracy through the Meridian Global Journalism Initiative and our U.S. Speaker Series.
We facilitated exchanges between 118 global journalists navigating the challenges posed by the digital age of information.
In one of the most contentious and divisive elections in our nation’s history, Meridian connected our network of diplomatic and business leaders with timely insights on the race through discussions with elected officials and political experts from both sides of the aisle.
And we look forward to hosting members of the new administration, as we have done for the past 60 years.
While 2020 was a difficult and unprecedented year, and unlike any other in Meridian’s history, we advanced our mission in ways we never have before. But it would not have been possible if it weren’t for you. Our supporters. Our network. You make diplomacy possible. Thank you.