Soft Power: The Monthly Roundup (January edition)

Happy 2016! While you might have already broken your New Year’s resolution, we are starting off fresh with a new edition of Soft Power: The Monthly Roundup to show you what is going on in arts and culture around the world. The New Year may only be a few weeks old, but we can already look back at a great amount of events and festivals celebrating and promoting international exchange through film, food, sports, and dance.


International Exchanges: Instilling Hope and Understanding for a Better 2016

Here I was, in a charter bus with 15 Pakistani young leaders, dancing to Punjabi music, while directing the Chinese bus driver where to go in the bustling streets of San Francisco. To most people, this situation would seem bizarre. However, these types of unique experiences are a typical part of my job at Meridian International Center. Although they are definitely different from the traditional diplomacy, people-to-people exchanges have the power to effect meaningful change. Most notably, these exchanges break down stereotypes to foster intercultural understanding. For the 2015 Emerging Leaders of Pakistan program, Meridian worked on behalf of...


Mapping IVLP Volunteer Service

The spirit of community service has grown stronger every year since Congress enacted the National and Community Service Act of 1990. From President Bush’s Points of Light Award to President Obama’s United We Serve initiative, successive presidents have helped to strengthen this part of the American cultural fabric. After Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated as a national day of service in 1994, Americans everywhere worked to make it not a day off but a day on. Continue  

Community Development in Iraq through Volunteerism

By Ameer Sabri, Manager of Volunteers of Duhok University (VDU) Alumnus IYLEP 2015 Volunteers of Duhok University (VDU) is an initiative launched by a group of students from the University of Duhok – a fast-growing institution in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Established in March 2015, the idea of setting up a youth center was pitched by a student, Saeed Qasim, and his mates, Zeena, Pekhatin, Karzan, Matty, Khosh, Iman, Yoshia, Khalid, Shihab, Ahmed, and Iman Na’man to create and spread the culture of volunteerism among students. First of all, the VDU team developed a registration form for membership...


Soft Power: The Monthly Roundup (December edition)

As we say goodbye to another year, this edition of MCCD’s Soft Power features events from last month that are likely to impact cultural diplomacy in 2016. In the spirit of the New Year, we’ve coupled these highlights with soft power resolutions that anyone can take part in. Soft power diplomacy comes in many forms – maybe this month’s selections will inspire grassroots efforts in 2016.