On the value of networks

As a new intern and a young professional in the making, one is always made aware of the multiple networking opportunities that arise in any given environment. We are encouraged to network, to update our LinkedIn profiles, and make eye contact when firmly shaking people’s hands. Flash forward a month into my summer experience interning for Meridian’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative  (YLAI), I have learned the true value of creating a network. Needless to say, my networking awareness was not exclusively informed by my peers, colleagues, or from my fellow interns. Rather, it came from reading more than 300 applications out...

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Discovering Cuba Through Its Culture

Despite Cuba’s geographic proximity to the United States, historical circumstances have served to widen the distance between our two countries. As both nations begin to turn the page towards a future of greater closeness and cooperation, leaders from both sides of the straits are seeking ways to increase understanding and develop relationships between our countries. In April of 2016, led by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, a distinguished group of members of Meridian International Center’s Board of Trustees and other supporters, undertook a trip to Cuba. Consistent with Meridian’s mission to “understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions,...

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Tragedy and opportunity | Reflections from a YLAI fellow

Kheston Walkins is a young entrepreneur from Trinidad and Tobago 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. Tragedy and Opportunity: it is a strange courtship that is as clumsy as a duck’s waddle, yet the two travel abreast almost inseparably. My name is Kheston Walkins, and I am from Trinidad and Tobago. Let me tell...

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Mapping IVLP Volunteer Service

The spirit of community service has grown stronger every year since Congress enacted the National and Community Service Act of 1990. From President Bush’s Points of Light Award to President Obama’s United We Serve initiative, successive presidents have helped to strengthen this part of the American cultural fabric. After Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated as a national day of service in 1994, Americans everywhere worked to make it not a day off but a day on. Continue  

Educating the Next Generation of Global Leaders: #MeridianSummit

I am so incredibly lucky. I was born in America in a prosperous time to parents that not only valued my education, but had the time, resources, and capacity to be fully engaged. They sacrificed to send me to private schools, staying up until all my homework was done and explaining difficult concepts until they wanted to pull their hair out. But they did so I would have as many opportunities as possible. They poured their all into my education and in turn, gave me an impassioned outlook on my future. That is why I cannot get Deputy Secretary...

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