Soft Power: The Monthly Roundup (June edition)

With s’mores ingredients and charcoal prominently displayed in supermarkets across the United States, summer is definitely in full swing. The change of seasons comes with an increase in activity, so for this month’s edition of Soft Power, the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy is showcasing eight events from around the globe that brought people together to encourage unexpected dialogue.

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The Art of Disability Programming

As the U.S. Department of State focuses increasing attention on promoting the rights of people with disabilities, the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is seeing increasing numbers of participants studying this topic. The implementation and design of exchange projects on disabilities policy, some with participants with disabilities, have unique logistical and administrative needs and require a high degree of skill, creativity and sensitivity. This article provides IVLP programmers and associated colleagues with a framework for providing disabled participants the same productive (and fun) experience as others. Continue  

3 Months Home: An Interview with IVLP Alumna Khairunnisa Ash’ari from Brunei

This is the first post of a new initiative where we will feature a U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) alumnus who, three months out from their IVLP experience, is putting into practice ideas and concepts gleaned during the IVLP study tour. Here we feature Ms. Khairunnisa Ash’ari, Director of Community Engagement for Green Brunei and a Committee Member of the Brunei Youth Council. She participated in a group project on Volunteerism and Youth. We followed up with Ms. Ash’ari to learn about her experience since IVLP and lessons learned.

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Supporting Global LGBTI Movements for Equality through Exchange Programs

June marks lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) pride month. As communities worldwide celebrate with parades, festivals, and workshops, LGBTI people globally acknowledge success in their fight for equality as well as much work that remains to be done. President Obama acknowledged as much in his proclamation declaring June as LGBT Pride Month when he wrote that “…we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities – that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us – and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”

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The American Dream, seen through the eyes of a European

On May 4, 2015, Meridian welcomed the inaugural cohort of the Meridian Social Innovation Fellowship to Washington, D.C. The eight Fellows – who hail from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain – are global problem-solvers who bring together networks and resources to solve critical challenges facing their organizations, communities, and countries.  Meridian has brought together this distinguished group to drive ground-breaking advancements in the fields of youth and women empowerment, cultural integration, entrepreneurship, science, technology, and education The following blog post is written by Meridian Social Innovation Fellow Rowinda Appelman “Your time is just as valuable as mine.” John...

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