Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
Georgia businesspeople are encouraged to participate in Atlanta’s first Summit on Citizen Diplomacy, which is designed to help the Atlanta community better interact with foreign-born visitors to the state.

Free and open to the public, the day-long summit is to be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Atlanta International School in Buckhead.

The summit will feature informational sessions on selected regions of the world, as well as workshops on how to do business with people from different cultures.

Developing cross-cultural business skills is becoming increasingly important in Georgia as the state continues to raise its trade and investment profile in foreign markets, according to Shellie Stuart, executive director of the Georgia Council for International Visitors that is organizing the conference.

“We’re getting more and more international businesses and people coming to Georgia, and we want to prepare Georgia’s citizens to greet those internationals,” Ms. Stuart told GlobalAtlanta.

The conference will feature morning informational sessions on African, Arab, Latin American and Muslim countries, while afternoon workshops will consider applying cross-cultural communication skills in the business world.

For a complete list of workshop offerings, visit

Throughout the day, representatives from Atlanta’s Consular Corps are also expected to participate in workshops. They will discuss their own experiences with diplomacy and share insight about their home countries.

Other scheduled speakers are Tom Miller, vice president of Business for Diplomatic Action, a San Francisco-based association that encourages businesspeople to promote a positive international image of the United States, and Sherry Mueller, president of the National Council for International Visitors.

The National Council is the parent organization of the Georgia Council for International Visitors, which organizes exchange opportunities between local professionals and visiting foreign officials.

The National Council was also one of 32 civic organizations that founded the Coalition for Citizen Diplomacy in 2004, which started the first summits for citizen diplomacy two years ago.

So far, 49 summits have taken place in communities across the country.

While each summit takes on a different focus, they all aim to foster meaningful cross-cultural exchanges and combat anti-American sentiment on a one-to-one basis, according to Ashley Mastin, deputy director at the Georgia Council.

The Georgia Council is working with local organizations to promote the upcoming summit and expects individuals from the business, education, government, non-profit and religious sectors to attend.

While the conference is free, registration is mandatory and can be done online at

Organizations working with GCIV to promote the event are invited to host an information booth during the conference.

For more information on promoting the event, contact Ms. Mastin at (404) 965-4342 or

To learn more about the summit, visit