Nancy Gilboy

Contact Information
President Emeritus - Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia
PA 19102
United States
Phone Number: 

Gilboy had headed CDI (formerly IVC, International Visitors Council of Philadelphia) since 1990, during an historic twenty-five year period of U.S. involvement around the world. As the local host for the country’s premier exchange, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), she and CDI’s staff engaged thousands of volunteers, connecting them to important and unfolding world events. As citizen diplomats these volunteers played, and continue to play, a vital role in the country’s efforts to make friends and change how the U.S. is viewed around the world.

Under Gilboy's leadership many initiatives were developed and programs brought to CDI and Philadelphia:

- The Business for Russia Program: a post Cold War Clinton-Yeltsin initiative made Philadelphia the first of 30 U.S. cities to train Russian entrepreneurs through local businesses that were recruited by Gilboy to serve as mentors in building a free-market Russia. She engaged host families who opened their homes to hundreds of guests experiencing freedom for the first time.

The program reached other countries of the former Soviet Union, bringing 47 delegations to the region for training programs in entrepreneurship, rule of law, transparency of government and freedom of the press — all with the goal of building democracies across the former Soviet Republics.

After September 11th program themes shifted to include religious tolerance and issues related to the Middle East.

- Partners for Peace: a special State Department program that began in 2004 when asked by Sister Cities International to become a U.S. partner for a city in Iraq. In 2005, CDI partnered with Mosul, Iraq. The first request Gilboy received was to keep the Governor’s son safe after his older son, and the previous Governor, were killed. Drexel’s late President, Constantine Papadakis, provided a Presidential Scholarship for the son and a generous host family opened their home to the young man.

- The State Department’s Presidential Management Training Initiative began in 2007. Gilboy brought Arab women lawyers and entrepreneurs to Philadelphia for mentoring and internships in law firms and businesses through the region. Only 10 U.S. cities were selected to participate in this important program to build tolerance and mutual understanding in the Arab world and United States.

- In partnership with the City’s Department of Commerce, in 1999, Gilboy created the Philadelphia Trade Office. Through grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), this precursor to the World Trade Center provided free export assistance for Philadelphia companies and created CDI’s Doing Business Abroad seminar series. When EDA funding ended after 4 years, many of her specialists continued their work with the newly formed World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.

- The Sister Cities Program: CDI assumed responsibility for Philadelphia’s Sister Cities Program in the 1990's. She immediately partnered with Drexel University to create the first Sister City Scholarship Program in the United States. She has since expanded it to ten colleges and universities.

- Gilboy organized and participated in Mayor Nutter’s business and education trips to several Sister Cities: Tianjin, China (2012); Tel Aviv, Israel (2013); and Frankfurt, Germany this past July 2015, where he signed an agreement creating the new Sister City relationship.

- Restoration of Philadelphia’s deteriorating Friendship Gate in Chinatown came about in 2007 after Gilboy negotiated with Philadelphia’s Chinese Sister City, Tianjin, to provide skilled artisans to do the work. In cooperation with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp, the gate was completed in November, 2008. Because the people working on the gate came from China and used traditional artisan techniques, Philadelphia’s Gate is now the only authentic Chinese Friendship Gate in the United States.

- “International Philadelphia,” began in 2003, with several grants from the William Penn Foundation for her effort to make Philadelphia “The easiest city in the United States for people to visit, live and work.” This raised awareness in the hospitality community on the impact of foreign visitors and resulted in international language signage at key tourism destinations.

- In 2009 Gilboy had Mayor Nutter’s business cards translated into 25 languages - showcasing Philadelphia as an international city with each dignitary and delegation he met.

- CDI’s monthly First Thursday international receptions rank high among her initiatives. These receptions provide opportunities for Philadelphians to learn first-hand what’s happening around the world by meeting rising leaders and executives from abroad in an informal, friendly setting.

Each month First Thursdays showcase State Department and Sister City guests in Philadelphia, as well as new members of Philadelphia's Consular Corps, new heads of local international Chambers, or foreign executives looking to establish U.S. headquarters through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Center for Direct Investment. The First Thursday reception on December 3, 2015 will be the 163rd in its series - making it the region’s longest running ‘international salon.’

- Discover Philadelphia® was created by Gilboy and CDI Executive Board member Dick Atkins after both observed that many international students were isolated on campus and not interacting with Americans. They focus on international graduate students by providing city tours and including them at the monthly First Thursday receptions. Their goal is to provide positive American experiences by getting the students off campus to explore the city and get to know Americans.
She also created an informal program for expatriates living in the region so they could feel at home and develop a better understanding of American culture and our way of life.

- In 2010, Gilboy created the Honorary Ambassador to India Program after meeting a Wharton graduate from India with close ties at the highest levels in her country. The program was formalized by the City Representative with support by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor/Director of Commerce and has attracted Indian students to our universities, increased Indian tourism and brought Indian investment. The program became so successful that it attracted the attention of Pennsylvania's Office of International Business Development, and became Pennsylvania’s first and only “Special Envoy Program." Now supported by more than 20 universities and colleges, this unique program has already generated initiatives such as the PA Education Hub, edu-tourism programs, six MOUs, and more to come. Total economic impact so far, including student tuition and special projects in India, is estimated at more than $30 million.

- Changing the name: After years of confusion with the region’s tourism agencies, she spearheaded a contest for the (then-named) International Visitors Council to find a more appropriate name, indicative of the work the organization does. Gilboy invited the public to submit names based on their understanding of the organization’s work. One year and hundreds of suggestions later, the new name, Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia, was officially announced at the 60th Annual Meeting in 2014.