Honoring the 2017 International Women of Courage

A few months ago I came back from lunch and noticed a new file sitting on my desk. Recognizing it as a new International Visitor Leadership Project (IVLP) assignment, I looked for the title and saw four letters: “IWOC”. Having no idea what that meant, I thought “Huh, strange.” Little did I know that I had been given the opportunity to work on one of the most inspiring public diplomacy programs that the State Department sponsors: The Secretary’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award. This annual two-week IVLP honors a visionary group of women for their respective work in advancing women’s rights all over the world. Continue  

Life in Lagos – Part I

My latest journey took me to Lagos, Nigeria, the most populous city in Africa, where I worked with a community to create a collaborative public mural for the facade of a police station in Ikeja. UR4Africa, a social enterprise dedicated to fostering creativity and unique African content amongst youth and young adults, hosted me during my two week stay in Nigeria. I met Shola, the organization’s founding director, and Abraham, one of her very valued mentor colleagues, at the airport. The organization was originally ‘United Reels for Africa’ as Shola is a filmmaker and the backbone of her mission...

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Bringing American Expertise and Excellence to India – U.S. Speaker Program

Since Fall 2013, Meridian International Center has had the pleasure of working with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi implementing the U.S. Speaker Program for India. Sponsored by the Public Affairs Section, the program is designed to connect U.S. experts with Indian audiences and institutions; to promote an understanding of U.S. strategic priorities, policies and institutions; and to discuss the political, economic, social, and cultural context from which they arise. Continue  

Jazz Diplomacy in Thailand and Around the World

April 30th marks International Jazz Day, the worldwide celebration of America’s original art form. Although the style originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, jazz’s combination of foreign styles and influences has made its music an international genre. Since its creation in the late 1800’s, jazz has evolved into a critically acclaimed and appreciated form of music across the world. Throughout jazz’s rich history, musicians and international diplomats alike have employed the genre for its use as a vehicle of international cultural diplomacy.
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