Come one, come all! The circus is coming to the National Mall

As the Smithsonian Folklife Festival enters its 50th year, Washington D.C. will welcome a group of international circus performers onto the National Mall this summer. A craft rich in history and diversity, the circus arts represent an industry where creativity trumps cultural divide. This entertainment industry, has served as an arena of collaborative imagination where the collective goal is to create an awe-inspiring show for the audience.

A performer at the Turkmenistan Circus Arts exchange, facilitated by the Meridian International Center, shows off her aerial abilities at a workshop between seasoned performers and Turkmen youth.

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Culture at the Center: Eritrean Community in D.C.

Every day around 5pm, people start pouring through a small heavy door on 18th Street in Adams Morgan.  Nearly hidden behind the long lines from the bars that surround it is the entrance to the Eritrean Civic and Cultural Center (ECCC).  Among the DMV’s considerable Eritrean population, the ECCC has emerged as one of the foremost meeting places for the community.  Continue  

Life in Lagos, Part II

I’m home now, typing this in a coffee shop in my neighborhood, thinking about how different life is here. We take so much for granted and we could get by with much less. But a big difference in Lagos was that I didn’t wander much — most of my experiences were through the wheels of an automobile. Our daily commute gave me a fleeting window into the street life of Lagos. Each day was a long ride through layers of traffic-ridden roads with little yellow taxicabs — called kekes (pronounced Kaykay) — Piaggio-manufactured three wheeled covered motorcycles and yellow...

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Honoring the 2017 International Women of Courage

A few months ago I came back from lunch and noticed a new file sitting on my desk. Recognizing it as a new International Visitor Leadership Project (IVLP) assignment, I looked for the title and saw four letters: “IWOC”. Having no idea what that meant, I thought “Huh, strange.” Little did I know that I had been given the opportunity to work on one of the most inspiring public diplomacy programs that the State Department sponsors: The Secretary’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award. This annual two-week IVLP honors a visionary group of women for their respective work in advancing women’s rights all over the world. Continue