HERspectives: Ms. Rusudan Gotsiridze

Ms. Rusudan Gotsiridze is a 2014 International Women of Courage awardee and the first female Baptist bishop in Georgia. She is an advocate for women’s rights and interfaith dialogues to support religious minorities. This blog post is a part of a series highlighting and celebrating women leaders in our network during Women’s History Month. Who is your female inspiration, mentor or hero figure? I have often been asked who my role model is, and I always have a hard time answering this question. I was brought up in a Soviet country, in a dissident Protestant family, in a heavily...

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HERspectives: Ms. Sadaf Usman

Ms. Sadaf Usman is a 2018 IVLP alumna, and the Director of For A Cause, a social enterprise that works to build a more peaceful, tolerant, compassionate and empowered society through self empowerment, life skills and positivity. This blog post is part of a series highlighting and celebrating women leaders in Meridian’s network during Women’s History Month.   A woman’s life has many different stages, and in each stage we come across women who inspire us and push us to be a better version of ourselves. One woman who has truly inspired me is my mother. It wasn’t until...

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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: NGOs leading the way in response to COVID-19 in Cote d’Ivoire

This post was submitted by Mark Rebstock, Vice President of External Relations in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division. As cases of COVID-19 began to emerge in Cote d’Ivoire in March 2020, non-governmental organizations began to mobilize to meet community needs. For NGO AGIS, headed by IVLP Alumnus, Dr. Aboubakar Sylla, this meant setting up informational sessions about the importance of hand-washing and other precautions, collecting and distributing PPE and other supplies, and a special operation to disinfect the bus stations in Cocody, Cote d’Ivoire. Dr. Sylla registered AGIS in 2012 to prevent pneumonia in children and to reduce the mortality...

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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Conserving Antiquities in Sinai

This post was submitted by Addie Curley, Program Associate in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division. In April of 2019, three Egyptian antiquities experts embarked on their International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) experience after attending the American Research Center in Egypt’s (ARCE) annual meeting. The week-long program brought them to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, and New York, NY to examine how U.S. institutions utilize technology in the area of conservation, engage in dialogue with experts to increase international cooperation, and create opportunities for future partnerships between U.S. and Egyptian museums and academic institutions. Mr. Hesham Hamed is the Director-General of North...

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To be a Face of Exchange alongside Anwar Sadat

This post was written by Vered Cohen Barzilay. Ms. Vered Cohen-Barzilay is an Israeli social entrepreneur, a women’s rights activist, and an advocate for aviation, space, and science education.  Her latest project is “Out of the Box”’ which seeks to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through space education and entrepreneurship. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has been introducing 80 Faces of Exchange this year. These profiles of IVLP alumni have showcased participants from around the world and across...

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