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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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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Top 5 Tips for Best P3s

Public Private Partnership : a government service or private business venture that is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies. Whether in Washington or around the world, many are justifiably weary of the term. We hear it frequently. It is thrown around as a “catch all” term, but has no intrinsic value; it is simply a descriptor. The marker of a public private partnership is attached to all manner of initiatives from the electric grid to highways and job training. PPPs, as they are dubbed in the alphabet soup of Washington,...

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Coverage, communication and cures at heart of U.S. – France Leadership Dialogue dinner on health and innovation

Paris has been top of mind for Americans the past few weeks. Last month’s attack by Islamic extremists and the ongoing COP 21 negotiations have been well covered by the American media and have elicited a wide range of responses by political candidates on both sides of the aisle. It is with this in mind that Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday opened the most-recent convening of the U.S.-France Leadership Dialogue on December 7 by reiterating the importance of global engagement. “What this nation is all about is engaging the world and not closing our borders. Not pulling up...

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Meridian Social Innovation Fellows – Where are they now?

In May, Meridian launched the  Social Innovation Fellowship.  This year-long engagement of social entrepreneurs from across Europe will yield community improvement projects in 5 countries (Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, and Spain), however the implications will be significant throughout the region as each project addresses overlapping issues. Over the summer we shared some of the individual stories from the fellows’ experience – particularly their impressions and observations from their time in the U.S. (May, 2015).  Now that they are back in their own communities, they are working to put into action best practices they learned while here.  While each...

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