“My First Day of YLAI” by YLAI Professional Fellow Ann-Sophie Ovile

Ann-Sophie Ovile is the Founder and CEO of Mennen’m La Tours in Haiti, and she is one of 248 fellows participating in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program, which brings entrepreneurs and civil society leaders to the United States for a five-week program. This U.S. Department of State-sponsored program empowers these young entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. The day that we all have been waiting for has finally arrived! 248 young and dynamic entrepreneurs from Latin America...

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Embracing Hope in a Turbulent World: Five Steps for Global Leaders

This article is reposted from the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (September 6, 2016). Jo Ann Ross, based in Maryland, is a principal at the Center for Enlightened Organizations (C.E.O.) where she coaches global leaders in industry, government and nonprofits. Her other publications include “The Art of Self-Care and Dynamic Global Leadership” and, with Willa Zakin Hallowell, “Getting to the Heart of Global Leadership.” For the past 28 years at Meridian International Center, Jo Ann has provided executive coaching, leadership development, cross-cultural communications, global awareness, and multicultural team building to international visitors from around the world. She is also Senior Associate at Grovewell LLC, serving global leaders in Fortune 500 companies. Continue  

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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Into the Heart of Europe (From Right Here in Washington, DC)

45 European entrepreneurs. 41 different countries. 2 days in DC. 1 marketing and communications intern (me). Last week was my first week interning at Meridian, and I was immediately immersed in European culture and all its diversity with my first project: the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative. I arrived at the State Department for day one of the program. A minute later, a large crowd of people came walking over and waited in line at the security check. Many looked over at me with curiosity, and some came right over, introduced themselves, and asked about my background. I expected...

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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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