Lady Liberty and Mother India

This is the first blog in a series highlighting Meridian’s programs with India, both domestic and abroad. Each month a different department will select and share a project that represents our work with the world’s largest democracy. The series culminates in June with Meridian’s third annual cultural diplomacy forum, this year focusing on India.

Indian Women by Joshua Song

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global call to action for all to support women’s rights and gender equality. We use this day to remind us of the great amount of work still yet the be accomplished in respect to these issues, including wage parity, political representation, trafficking, and abuse. A complex case study, India is a nation with its fair share of triumphs and difficulties in respect to women’s rights. Women have held the posts of president and prime minister in India, yet the country remains lowly ranked in the Global Gender Gap Report.

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UNESCO’s Announcement of New Intangible Cultural Heritage Is a Great Chance to Think about New Steps to Protect the World’s Properties

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the addition of 16 new sites to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list on December 1. This gives us a great opportunity not just to celebrate new additions but to think about how to protect them. These 16 new sites are literally from all over the world: Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. As a Japanese intern, I was personally glad to see that “Yama, Hoko, Yatai float festivals in Japan” was on the list. This tradition encompasses 33 festivals in 18 prefectures throughout Japan, showing the...

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The Everyday Olympics of Rio de Janiero

This guest blog by Dave Loewenstein, the selected artist for ECA’s Community Engagement through the Arts Brazil program, first appeared hereFor the prequel to the story, read about his experience in Vitória.


In a picture postcard
How would the dream of Rio compare to actually being there, especially at this moment? My first impression matched if not exceeded my expectations – the awe inspiring beauty of how human settlement is tucked in between those lush green mountains that appear like teeth sprouting from the maw of a sun bathing dragon.

Looking down at Copacabana Beach from the top of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)
Looking down at Copacabana Beach from the top of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

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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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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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