IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Two Women Countering Violent Extremism

 

IVLP Alumni Spotlight features U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) alumni as they reflect on the impact of the program and how it has affected their work and lives.  Here we feature two alumni who participated in a Multi-Regional project for women engaged in countering terrorism on practitioner and grassroots levels in their own countries. The participants spent two weeks in the United States examining the growing threat of terrorism and extremist organizations, the role of women within these organizations, the radicalization of women, and the tools and strategies that help counter this threat.

 

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Working Together in Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brasil

Arriving It was hard to know what to expect. I had never been to Brasil, let alone South America. I was leaving the end of winter and arriving at the beginning of fall, as if time were working in reverse or speeding up and skipping seasons. As far as air travel goes, the flights (three of them) were all on time and remarkably stress free. In the blink of an eye, after falling asleep watching The Martian somewhere over the Amazon rainforest, I was in São Paulo, the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere. I would be back later...

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If There’s A Will, There’s A Way

Renowned philosopher Confucius once said “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Perseverance will get you somewhere, and sometimes, it ends up being a better place than you originally envisioned. One of the purposes of professional exchange programs is to motivate participants to realize their potential and to give them opportunities to connect with new people and understand the advantages of social entrepreneurship through exchange of ideas and experiences. This gives them the tool set to persevere through the challenges Confucius referred to so long ago. Professional Exchange Program alumnus Moreblessing...

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Combatting Human Trafficking Through The Arts

This blog was written by Joel Bergner, who recently went to India as part of Meridian’s Community Engagement through the Arts program:

Looking at a map of India’s eastern state West Bengal, one will notice that it has an unusual shape. At the top, a tiny sliver of land shoots hundreds of kilometers north, like a little tree growing out of rest of the state, which includes the capital city of Kolkata and the iconic Ganges River. This sliver pushes up into the Himalayas, and borders on Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, not far from Chinese-controlled Tibet. It is a fascinating place, with incredible mountainous views, the world-famous Darjeeling tea fields and Buddhist and Hindu temples spotting the landscape. However, it was none of these things that brought me here, to the small city of Siliguri. Upon arrival, I met with my team of local artists and Nishi Kant, director of the Indian NGO Shakti Vahini, who educated us on the situation here.

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From Miami to the Mile High City: My YLAI Experience

Alejandro Carbonell is a young entrepreneur from Panama who was selected to attend the 2016 Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative (YLAI) pilot program by the U.S. Department of State. This presidential initiative supports social and business entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean. Here are some of his reflections on his experience attending this prestigious U.S.-based exchange. Written March 11, 2016  After a short flight from Panama, and a very long wait in Miami’s Airport, I finally went through the door, looking for some sort of sign that I could recognize of the YLAI program. Instead I saw two...

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