Transgender Rights Activist Reflects on IVLP Experience and Pride Month

In June 2015, Naomi Fantanos participated in an IVLP project on Preventing and Responding to Bias-Motivated Violence Against the LGBTI Community. Naomi is the Founder and Executive Director of transgender rights group GANDA Filipinas, which works to battle transphobia in the Philippines. She offered the following reflections on her exchange experience and the impact of Pride Month.   What does Pride mean to you? Pride has come to mean so many different things to me through the years, from when I was actively organizing it and, alternatively, the times I was just one of its many marchers. One thing...

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Mike Okwoche on World Press Freedoms

For World Press Freedom Day we are excited to share a contribution from Mike Okwoche, a prominent TV news anchor for TVC News in Lagos, Nigeria, and an alum of the Broadcast Media International Visitor Leadership Program in 2017. Inspired by what he observed during his IVLP trip, Mike founded Rewired Africa Network to promote civic engagement through media and media literacy. What does freedom of the press mean to you? The freedom of the press represents or symbolizes every freedom that a country can get. So when we talk about freedom of the press or press freedom, that...

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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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