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Grosse Pointe Park resident Francine Pegues believes there’s never been a better time for citizen diplomacy. As president of Global Ties Detroit, Pegues will have the chance to link locals with people from all over the world.
Pegues, 70, was elected president June 28, for the 2017-18 year. The owner of Belle Isle Golf Center, Pegues has lived in Grosse Pointe 18 years. She has served in various roles with Global Ties Detroit, including vice chairperson and treasurer.
“Global Ties Detroit exposes our international visitors to the amazing people, places, organizations and social conscious that is Detroit,” she said. “Those of us living and working in the Detroit area know how special this region is; now we have a conduit to share that with the world.”
Global Ties Detroit is a nonprofit agency that hosts international exchange programs on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other governmental organizations, universities and groups that promote global exchange and citizen diplomacy. The nonprofit welcomed 302 international visitors in 2016.
“Visitors sent to Detroit by the state department are leaders in their home countries,” Pegues said. “They are or will be in a position to affect business trade with the U.S. We want them to know our citizens who are business leaders in the Detroit community. These visitors need to know us as friends and people who care about what’s also important to them.”
The goal of Global Ties Detroit is to connect international professionals with the hope of forging lasting relationships. Connections to international visitors are made through dinners, stays with area host families, speaker programs, networking events and more.
“Global Ties Detroit connects people in a way that’s personal around a common thread,” Pegues said. “Last year Global Ties Detroit hosted a group of female elected officials from 12 countries. We were able to connect them with Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan, who runs a camp called Camp Moxie that prepares girls to change the world.”
Grosse Pointe families, as well as others from the Detroit area, are needed to host visitors who want to meet and share a dinner. All visitors are vetted by the State Department and USAID. Most want to experience an American meal in a home, particularly around the holidays.
“I urge everyone to become a member of Global Ties Detroit. Become a citizen diplomat and enjoy the opportunity to meet with future world leaders,” Pegues said. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Wednesday, Sept. 13, Global Ties Detroit sponsors an international prohibition cruise and boat tour on the Detroit River. The event gives cruisers a chance to see what life was like for enterprising Detroiters who took advantage of the city’s proximity to Canada during Prohibition. Also in attendance will be a group of visitors from Belarus.
Cost of the event is $50 for Global Ties members, $65 for non-members. Call (313) 638-1626 or visit globaltiesdetroit.org for tickets. Also visit the website for information on other Global Ties Detroit events or volunteer opportunities.
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