The ‘Wonders’ of North Korea or 15 Things You Did Not Know About the Hermit Kingdom

  For the past year or so whenever the subject of North Korea comes up (and it does quite a bit especially when you work on a great program like the U.S. Congress – Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program), folks always ask me what was it like going there, how did I get to go there in the first place and why, and is it that weird as the media portrays it. Aside from the Korean experts I had the privilege of getting to know over the years, most younger folks get their news about North Korea...

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Guatemalan Indigenous Leaders Visit to the U.S.

¡Bienvenidos! This was the word used all over DC as flashes of sky blue, deep indigo, and rich red were seen in the Senate, by the Monuments, in the House of Representatives, and even a local Subway. Seeing traditionally dressed Guatemalan Indigenous Leaders standing in line at Subway was definitely a site for onlookers, but it was a part of the experience that these leaders signed up for.     There was a moment when Officer of Press and Community Affairs, Municipality of Santo Tomas, Julio David Diaz Chay, discussed what December 21st 2012 really meant to the Mayan people which to the Western belief marked the...

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Beyond The Four Walls of a Classroom

Last December, Taliban militants assaulted the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan killing over 100 students and faculty in their classrooms and forever shaking the foundation of Pakistan. Just seven months later, Meridian supported twelve young men from the school on a program focused on global leadership and STEM. The twelve high school boys were joined by four American high schoolers throughout the program who soon discovered there was more that united them than divided them. Meridian partnered with the SUNY Polytechnic College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the International Center of the Capital Region, the New York Police...

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Bringing Peace back to the “City of Peace”

“Activism is action to bring about change in society. It can be trying to make a government change its laws, or trying to make people change what they do.”- Thamer Alyas Once upon a time, Baghdad was known as the City of Peace. After years of conflict throughout Iraq it is fair to say Baghdad is rarely looked at as a symbol of peace any more, but what people don’t understand is that peace is still very present in this city and all over Iraq. Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) is a highly competitive program sponsored by the...

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Be confident about being a leader

“Be confident about being a leader”. This is how Sunny, a Chinese high school student visiting the U.S. through a visitor program, described her biggest learning from the leadership training implemented by Meridian International Center in February 2015.   Such a comment tells me that this young woman is already a leader and I won’t be surprised to see her becoming a global leader in the next decade and a great pride for her country and parents. In fact, as facilitator of this training, Sunny, Harry and other students were a tremendous inspiration for me.   Training high school...

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