At a recent International Division leadership meeting, APA National provided an international strategy update.
This summer, the APA Board approved a new strategic approach to international outreach to align with APA's Strategic Goals (Figure 1). Board members were direct in recognizing APA's ethical obligation to advocate for the planning profession and planning professionals globally, while also reinforcing the guidance that international outreach must yield a benefit to APA members.
APA's four strategic initiatives.
As a result, APA's international strategy will focus on gradually evolving existing international learning exchange activities that have potential to advance the upskilling of planners, and APA will continue to leverage its relationship with partnering organizations in the Global Planners Network (GPN) in pursuit of this goal.
International learning exchange presents opportunities for APA to identify leading planning practices outside of the U.S. that can inspire creative problem-solving by U.S. planners while building their cultural competency. Such engagement also provides a vehicle for APA to share its unique research with other professionals around the world, especially insights coming from the association's practice of foresight, and its work to identify trends impacting the profession.
APA maintains consultative status to the United Nations through the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and will continue to pursue planning advocacy opportunities with partnering GPN organizations, including the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI), among others.
Every two years, GPN representatives including the APA president and CEO attend the World Urban Forum, the premier global conference on sustainable urbanization. Communication in the network is robust year-round; GPN conference calls convene representatives from 17 planning organizations around the world quarterly, and representatives often attend each other's annual conferences. Regular communication with international peers in these forums has cultivated a strong network of influential allies committed to advancing the voice of planners and planning worldwide.
APA's presidents attend the World Urban Forum bi-annually to advocate for sustainable urbanization from a planning perspective.
APA's international strategy offers opportunity for partnership with the International Division, while also leaving room for the division to pursue distinct goals and activities that are in alignment with APA initiatives, including technical assistance, mentorship programs, and recognition programs. World Town Planning Day is one example of successful collaboration between division leaders and APA national in pursuit of shared goals; this year's webinar program Think Global, Plan Local attracted nearly 100 participants, offering CM credit.
Top Image: Aerial view of the Katowice, Poland, host city of the 2022 World Urban Forum. iStock/Getty Images Plus, JackF.