Korean-American Exchange

Over the past month I have had the privilege of working on the U.S. Congress – Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program. This program will send ten American students to Seoul and ten Korean students to the United States. During their time in their host countries the students will learn about Korean-American relations and about how the two governments compare and differ. The program officially began last Thursday July 7 when all of the participants flew into Washington, D.C. for a week long orientation and team bonding. Their experience will culminate later this month in Korea where the...

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Spotlight on Soft Power: July 2016

Pop is Our Tradition

Hello Kitty®, Sailor Moon, sushi, anime, manga, and Studio Ghibli® are just a few examples of Japanese Pop culture that have gained popularity in the United States. J-Pop Summit looks to foster this growing interest and bring Japan straight to America. Since 2009 J-Pop Summit has been held annually in San Francisco. It was created and hosted by SUPERFROG project, whose goal is to educate the American public about the uniqueness of Japanese Pop culture. The project continues to be sponsored by a growing number of well known enterprises: UNIQLO, SEGA, Mazda, Funimation, and Lyft, just to name a few.

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Program Theme Spotlight: The Changing Face of Journalism

Support for free and independent media has long served as a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. In releasing the 2015 U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Secretary of State John Kerry focused on this point when he said “Far from threatening the democratic process, a free press and open civil society are the release valve and life blood of a thriving democracy.” Continue  

Refugee Resettlement and Integration: An IVLP for Portugal

After her husband was captured by a militant group, Hala faced the impossible choice of staying in war-torn Aleppo or seeking asylum in Europe for herself and her four children. Fleeing to Europe would mean leaving behind her mother and brother, her home, her job as an engineer—Hala would have to abandon a life she had built over 40 years. A PBS documentary followed Hala and her children through Europe as they became part of a group of more than 65 million forcibly displaced persons around the world. Continue  

Interview with an artist: Michelle Angela Ortiz

You may remember Michelle Angela Ortiz, a mural artist based in Philadelphia, from Meridian International Center’s Cuba Forum on June 9th. She recently returned from Cuba as part of Meridian’s Community Engagement through the Mural Arts program, a joint initiative with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. There, she worked with the local community in Regla to create stunning works of public art. We spoke with her about her experience, methodology, and the power of art to transform communities.

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