The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy will host Neftalie Williams as its Ambassador John Price & Marcia Price World Affairs Lecture Series guest speaker to discuss Skateboard Diplomacy.
Williams found that through his love of skateboarding he could create positive communication and change between people, and that everyday actions of individuals can exemplify the spirit of public diplomacy and spark dialogue between communities at home and abroad in a way that supports the best of American ideals.
During his visit to Utah, Williams will participate in a series of events that include Pizza and Politics with the University of Utah Hinckley School of Politics, a Youth Skate Event at the West Valley City Skate Park, a discussion with students at Utah Valley University, and the main event being the World Affairs Lecture at Westminster College.
While Williams’ message relates to a myriad of hobbies, passions, and interests, the focus of the lecture is on skateboarding and using this sport as a means to engage with people outside of one’s immediate community, especially with youth, where their voices and engagement is key in building a more peaceful and prosperous world. The world has witnessed a recent shift from the idea that youth are our future leaders to they are the change-agents of today, so it is essential that youth recognize they are citizen diplomats and be prepared to strengthen foreign relations even if it’s at a skate park.
DATE: Tuesday, September 4, 2018
TIME: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Jewett Center for the Performing Arts at Westminster College 1840 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City
Felecia Maxfield-Barrett, Executive Director for UCCD, states, “Diplomacy has no boundaries, and this lecture reaffirms our guiding principle of citizen diplomacy – that everyone, has the right and responsibility to help shape foreign policy “one handshake at a time” or in the case of this lecture, one kick-flip at a time.” Maxfield-Barrett continues, “We are honored to have Mr. Williams, Skateboard Diplomat and enthusiast, as our inaugural guest lecturer for the 2018-2019 World Affairs Lecture Series, as he shares how passionate engagement in skateboarding can enhance and strengthen sustainable international relationships as well as relationships right here in our own backyard.”
Williams is known for founding the concept of Skateboard Diplomacy that demonstrates how skateboarding creates identity and culture, provides a common language, and shares experiences amongst diverse communities. Williams was the first academic and skateboarding envoy for the United States Embassy in the Netherlands to help Syrian refugees integrate into a new European life. Most recently, he worked with the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Phen building partnerships with the Asian Skateboarding Championships. He has also worked with skateboarding communities in South Africa, Brazil, Cuba, and Cambodia. He is the Chairman of Cuba Skate, a non-profit in Washington D.C.
He lectures and conducts research at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles, California and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.