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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Lt. Gov. Lawton speaks on panel for Wisconsin diplomacy

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton spoke on campus Monday at a panel on increasing[/media-credit]

Lieutenant Gov. Barbara Lawton said Wisconsin will be a national model for diplomacy at an upcoming summit on global civil politics by encouraging interaction between states and foreign countries.

Lawton led a round table discussion Monday to spread awareness of Wisconsin’s participation at the U.S. Summit and Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy in Washington D.C. next month.

Wisconsin’s participation in Washington is part of a movement to transform Wisconsin into a model on the national stage, Lawton said.


According to Lawton, more than 250 non-governmental organizations and 500 other individuals will participate in the summit – an undertaking that has not been accomplished since Eisenhower’s presidency.

The summit intends to generate a higher level of activity between states, national governments and organizations and the global world, Lawton said.

A panel of five local specialists from private, public and non-profit sectors spoke alongside Lawton to discuss the need for citizen diplomacy.

The panelists encouraged students at the University of Wisconsin to utilize their time on campus in ways that will enhance diplomacy.

While Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., has pushed for state and national education funding, his retirement leaves pressure on students to realize the role of higher education in creating citizen diplomacy, said Mark Johnson, an assistant professor of public diplomacy at UW and a panelist.

“Involvement of citizens is vital in citizen diplomacy, but there is a tremendous role of state leadership in all of this,” Johnson said.

Obey’s retirement could lead to a decrease in funding for education, which lowers the available funding for greater foreign language programming at public universities, Johnson added.

Efforts at citizen diplomacy have not always been as successful as they should be, Johnson said, because states lack important domestic capacities such as properly trained translators in foreign languages.

Volunteers from Wisconsin’s National Guard Bureau and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison also said the summit is necessary because it encourages one-on-one discussion between individual states and entire countries.

Captain Joe Davison, Wisconsin coordinator for the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, said there is demand for greater partnerships between people and states as success rates increase.

The State Partnership Program allows members of the National Guard to engage with civilian sectors in foreign countries.

“The president cannot go to all of the countries [the United States] wishes to have relations with, but states can,” Davison said.

Although the program is not well known, Lawton said through the summit’s mission and Wisconsin’s goals, the State Partnership Program can be transformed from an individual program to a framework upon which other programs can build.

This framework will be used through the Wisconsin model to create a bridge program between these civilian sectors and the national security and defense sectors.

In addition, the program will also connect ideas between the National Guard and the UW System, Lawton said.

The panel also included Patricia Bornhofen, an employee from Electronic Theater Controls, Inc., who spoke on how corporations engage in citizen diplomacy across seas.

“The private sector really gets down to the notion of individual importance – we cannot go into a foreign country and pretend to understand its culture,” Bornhofen said.

Similar panels will be held at four other Wisconsin universities in upcoming weeks.

Correction: Originally, Lawton stated more than 6,500 non-governmental organizations and 11,000 other individuals will participate in the summit, however her spokesperson later corrected the numbers to be around 500 people at the Summit and
around 250 organizations. 

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