Meridian at 2023 SXSW EDU: Pathways for Global Affairs on College Campuses

Meridian International Center traveled to Austin, Texas, USA, for its second consecutive PanelPicker discussion at the annual SXSW EDU conference. 

The discussion, Pathways for Global Affairs on College Campuses, highlighted the importance of diversity in foreign affairs and the efforts of the U.S. Department of State to diversify its workforce. 

Ambassadors Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley and Nina Hachigian emphasized the importance of representing an entire nation in their diplomatic work, including recruiting historically underrepresented communities and making them aware of the State Department's growing opportunities for both careers and exchanges. 

"One of our goals is to work with [local governments] to make sure that they, alongside underrepresented communities, are aware of the vast opportunities in our government's international exchange programs," shared Ambassador Hachigian.

Michael Maningas, a Director of the Honors College at Lonestar Community College, the fourth largest community college in the U.S., shared his experience on the ground with students and how exchange programs provide an excellent gateway to foster national and international education opportunities,

"Virtual exchange programs are a great gateway to foster opportunities in [international and national education]..." explained Maningas.

The panel addressed several questions from educators in the room related to the necessary skills to prepare for a career in global affairs and what prospective international affairs students can do to prepare for a career in diplomacy. 

As diplomacy evolves, Meridian is helping shape its future. Learn more about Meridian's diplomacy work here

About Meridian

Meridian International Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded over 60 years ago, Meridian has equipped thousands of leaders with the networks, insights and cultural context essential for nonpartisan work on shared issues. Meridian strengthens engagement between the United States and the world through diplomacy, global leadership and culture because we believe we are stronger when globally engaged.


The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival reflects the world's most critical social issues as seen through the lens of education. This year's event will bring together the learner, the practitioner, the entrepreneur, and the visionary to share their groundbreaking stories, tackle complex issues, and build reimagined paths forward. As a community of diverse people united around a like-minded vision for the future, SXSW EDU serves as a place for attendees to renew their purpose in practice from a personal and professional perspective. It is a place to reinforce the core principles of teaching and learning and an opportunity to express your creativity and passion for education. SXSW EDU is a component of the South by Southwest® family of conferences and festivals that has grown from 800 to over 8,000 registrants in the last decade. 

Project summary

Meridian at 2023 SXSW EDU: Pathways for Global Affairs on College Campuses | March 2023
Countries: United States
Impact Areas: Education
Program Areas: Diplomatic Engagement