Creating Global Leaders for Emerging Challenges

Not everyone manages to do things they want to do either because of lack of opportunities or giving up in the struggle to achieve greater things in life. At the same time, there are people who turn hurdles and challenges into opportunities by exercising consistence and become more than what they have envisioned. Historically, all great people struggle at the beginning may it be Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein or Galileo Galilei; however, the times have changed and now it has become easier to identify and support people who are making a positive impact in their societies. International exchange programs...

Continue  

Meridian Social Innovation Fellows – Where are they now?

In May, Meridian launched the  Social Innovation Fellowship.  This year-long engagement of social entrepreneurs from across Europe will yield community improvement projects in 5 countries (Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, and Spain), however the implications will be significant throughout the region as each project addresses overlapping issues. Over the summer we shared some of the individual stories from the fellows’ experience – particularly their impressions and observations from their time in the U.S. (May, 2015).  Now that they are back in their own communities, they are working to put into action best practices they learned while here.  While each...

Continue  

America’s Long-Term Investment

While it can be easy to focus on missteps in the history of US foreign policy efforts, working at Meridian International Center has provided me with a window into the long legacy of successful public diplomacy opportunities we create throughout the years on behalf of the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. embassies abroad. For instance, only a handful of individuals have heard about “Jazz Diplomacy” during the Cold War era. Famous Jazz Ambassadors—Quincy Jones, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, and numerous others—joined forces with the DOS to avert crisis indirectly. Even though the...

Continue  

Guatemalan Indigenous Leaders Reconnecting with the Sacred Text of the Mayans

The Popol Vuh or “Book of the People” is a collection of mytho-historical narratives originating from the Post Classic K’iche Kingdom of Guatemala. These stories tell the tales of the Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque, the story of Creation, and other Mayan mythologies. The most celebrated mythology in the text is the story of the Hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. The Hero Twins’ father was a great ballplayer who was tricked into death by the Lords of Death. When the Lords of Death learned that the Hero Twins were even better at ball than their father, the Lords again tried to trick the twins; however,...

Continue  

Applications for Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students Have Opened

This past week, I was fortunate enough to be present for the launch of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students (IYLEP) 2016 application. While we knew students were waiting for the chance to apply, the results were astonishing. Once the application was released, applications began to arrive almost immediately. Over 250 applications were started within the first 24 hours, and that number has steadily increased.  Currently, nearly 3,000 applications have been created and several thousand more are expected by the application period’s closing on December 1, 2015. Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students is implemented by...

Continue