Photo left to right: Laura Harris/AIO Executive Director, LaDonna Harris/AIO Founder and President
Published October 29, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE – Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) received the Citizen Diplomat Award from Global Ties ABQ, a partner of the U.S. State Department. Adelle Lees, Global Ties ABQ Program Manager, presented the award to AIO’s founder and president, LaDonna Harris (Comanche), Wednesday during a special reception in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Global Ties recognized AIO for outstanding achievements in furthering the cause of international understanding and global engagement. In particular, AIO and Harris were celebrated for presenting “Indian 101” (AIO’s signature cultural competency training) to hundreds of participants in the State Departments’ International Visitor Leadership Program. AIO is an international Native peoples advocacy organization that is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“AIO is building relationships with Indigenous communities globally and we are grateful for the opportunity to further our mission and to enhance the world’s understanding of Indigenous peoples,” said Laura Harris (Comanche), Executive Director of AIO. “Volunteering our time to meet with and learn from leaders of other countries nurtures our work and broadens our ability to advance the rights of Indigenous peoples, here in the United States and internationally.”
Through the Indigenous values-based leadership development of AIO’s award-winning Ambassadors Program, Americans for Indian Opportunity seeks to create transnational interactions that nurture the self-determination capabilities of Indigenous communities.
“With the inclusion of participants from outside the U.S. in the Ambassadors Program and through interactions with international visitors, we are expanding AIO’s impact and helping to promote Indigenous worldviews to address our most pressing challenges,” said LaDonna Harris. “Globalization threatens to be another form of colonization. Indigenous leaders must add our voices to positively influence international discourse through our cultural values.”
“On behalf of Global Ties ABQ, I am pleased to recognize the service Americans for Indian Opportunity contributes to the knowledge of our international visitors,” remarks Adelle Lees. “We always receive very positive feedback from the groups hosted at AIO.”