The Romanian Blouse and the Many Forms of Cultural Diplomacy

Cultural diplomacy takes many shapes and forms. The forms and ornaments found on Romanian folk blouses, called “ia” (pronounced E – A), are just the latest and probably most unusual manifestation of what cultural diplomacy can be. Unbeknown to most, the Romanian blouse is truly an universal cultural icon. Worn by celebrities, part of cultural revolutions such as the hippie movement in the 60s, loved by famous fashion designers from around the world, and an inspiration for famous artists or movie characters, the Romanian Blouses trace their origins back to the ancient civilizations found along the Danube river thousands of years ago. They preserved a part of the language of...

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The American Dream, seen through the eyes of a European

On May 4, 2015, Meridian welcomed the inaugural cohort of the Meridian Social Innovation Fellowship to Washington, D.C. The eight Fellows – who hail from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain – are global problem-solvers who bring together networks and resources to solve critical challenges facing their organizations, communities, and countries.  Meridian has brought together this distinguished group to drive ground-breaking advancements in the fields of youth and women empowerment, cultural integration, entrepreneurship, science, technology, and education The following blog post is written by Meridian Social Innovation Fellow Rowinda Appelman “Your time is just as valuable as mine.” John...

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U.S. Congress – Korean National Assembly Exchange Program – Reflections

On July 25, 2014 20 young leaders descended upon Washington DC to partake in the 2014 U.S. Congress – Korean National Assembly Exchange Program. This unique program, funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and jointly sponsored by the U.S. Congress and Korean National Assembly, is designed to broaden the perspectives of Korean and American young people on: the legislative process; the history of U.S. – Korean relations; and current economic, political, and security aspects of the bilateral relationship. The program also provides the U.S. and Korean participants with first hand experience of each other’s...

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Opportunity: A guest blog from Meridian Social Innovation Fellow Tamara Steen

On May 4, 2015, Meridian welcomed the inaugural cohort of the Meridian Social Innovation Fellowship to Washington, D.C. The eight Fellows – who hail from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain – are global problem-solvers who bring together networks and resources to solve critical challenges facing their organizations, communities, and countries.  Meridian has brought together this distinguished group to drive ground-breaking advancements in the fields of youth and women empowerment, cultural integration, entrepreneurship, science, technology, and education. “Dream yourself along another day. Never miss opportunity” (Pete Murray, Opportunity) I am Tamara Steen from the Netherlands, I grew up...

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It’s all about the Spirit: Meridian Social Innovation Fellows in Detroit

By Meridian Social Innovation Fellow Javier Garcia Rodrigo   “Why Detroit?” my colleague Alberto Di Minin asked Jacques Panis, president of Shinola, the company that symbolizes one of the great success stories of business in the recent history of the formerly glorious city of Detroit. “In principle,” Alberto followed, “there should be more interesting locations across the US to establish a business, right?” Listening carefully, Mr. Panis answered without hesitation: “The People,” he told us. “Actually, it’s not what we are doing for the city; it is what the city is doing for us,” he added, under the watchful...

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