This week, ArtsWave was thrilled to welcome a delegation from the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Eight visitors from Iraq joined us for a discussion about non-profit leadership and NGO leadership, along with two interpreters and a representative from the State Department. This provided a unique opportunity to explore ideas and concepts that cross cultural divides: expression, education, community vitality and more.

Representatives from ArtsWave shared the story of our organization, what we do and how our annual campaign is organized. We shared the role of volunteer and professional leadership. Our impact team explained our grant-making process and our Blueprint for Collective Action for the Arts Sector. One gentlemen in attendance confessed that he was not much of a fan of the arts, but as we presented our goals for the arts sector, he became aware of how the arts can play an important role in the community.

The beautiful public art created by ArtWorks had already caught the eyes of the delegation, and they wanted to know details — who painted them, how did they select the buildings, etc. ArtWorks recently invited ArtsWave staff to help paint the new Fiona mural, which gave us not only a chance to share our understanding of the process, but an opportunity to introduce the group to Cincinnati's favorite celebrity.

As the event wrapped up, we exchanged mementos — pins, keychains and emblems from Iraq and campaign t-shirts from ArtsWave. Big thanks to International Visitor Leadership Program, the World Affairs Council, the leaders who came to visit us and to ArtWorks for the use of their boardroom for the meeting!