August 18, 2022

Dear Friends, Advocates, and Supporters:

This is a historic and exciting day for World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (the Council) and Citizen Diplomacy International Philadelphia (Citizen Diplomacy)!

Today, we proudly announce that our respective Boards of Directors have voted to approve a merger between the Council and Citizen Diplomacy. While the merger is subject to required governmental notices and approvals, our organizations will immediately begin operating jointly.  Lauren Swartz, current President & CEO of the Council will continue to serve the merged organization in that capacity. All employees and programs of both the Council and Citizen Diplomacy will be retained.

The Council and Citizen Diplomacy have strong legacy traditions in international affairs. While we have excelled individually, the potential for what could be, if we brought our innovative and trusted organizations together, was impossible to ignore. This merger presents an unprecedented opportunity for Philadelphia to position itself as a leader and champion of international affairs through expanded mission and programmatic initiatives, especially in education, global connectivity, and people-to-people diplomacy.  

The unified entity will operate under the name World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.  The Council will continue to execute its outstanding public policy forums, renowned speaker series, world travel, professional development, and acclaimed youth education programs, including its partnership with the School District of Philadelphia for the William W. Bodine High School for International Affairs. Citizen Diplomacy’s mission and initiatives, including its role as the official partner to the U.S. Department of State for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), facilitation of Philadelphia’s Sister Cities programs and the Citizen Diplomat Academy virtual international youth exchange program, will also remain central to the merged organization.


Michael S. Farrell
Chair, Board of Directors
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

Gerald B. (Jay) Halt
Chair, Board of Directors
Citizen Diplomacy International Philadelphia

Philadelphia Business Journal

Two nonprofits focused on making Philadelphia a global city merge with over 130 years of experience