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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IVLP’s Pivot to Virtual Programming: Reinforcing Networks

The following was written by Meridian Professional Exchanges Division Program Associate Julia Koski. Normally, connecting emerging leaders and Americans in traditional IVLP style is as straightforward as riding a bike, however, in the last few months, program teams have had to find a completely new set of wheels. The tried and true practice of bridging Edward Murrow’s “last three feet” with in-person programs is a paused reality due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and online convening tools have entered as the new medium to connect with and engage our global community. In this virtual pivot, Meridian mobilized to look...

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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: E-learning and Media Literacy

This blog post was contributed by Lee Norrgard, Program Officer in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division. Even before the stay at home orders closed 124,000 elementary and secondary U.S. schools last spring, a survey of approximately 17,000 U.S. teachers and administrators almost unanimously indicated digital learning is now an integral part of teaching and learning. However, with the coronavirus acting as a catalyst, e-learning is dramatically changing education as millions of students remain distance learners. Without the internet, there would be no teaching and learning right now; but on the same internet, disinformation, misinformation and malinformation flourish. In a Stanford...

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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Strengthening U.S.–Japan Government Bonds

This blog post was contributed by Lee Norrgard, Program Officer in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division For almost 170 years, the United States and Japan have organized informational and cultural exchanges between our two countries. Arriving in 1871, Umeko Tsuda was a seven-year-old girl sent to learn Western ways in Washington, DC. Her foster parents provided schooling that led to her graduation from Bryn Mawr College. Upon returning to Japan, she founded the prestigious women’s school Tsuda University which continues the intercultural exchange first experienced by the young Umeko Tsuda. Carrying on this long tradition, in the 1970s, the Government of...

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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Volunteering from Oklahoma to Kazakhstan

The following was written by Bob Lieser, Vice President of Program at Tulsa Global Alliance. In October 2018, Tulsa Global Alliance (TGA), a Community-Based Member of Global Ties U.S., collaborated with Meridian International Center to host a U.S. State Department International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) from Kazakhstan titled “Volunteerism: Charity and Civic Action.” Their schedule included tours of the Little Light House, a faith-based non-profit providing free educational and therapeutic services to children with special needs, and Jenks High School, where they learned about special needs education at a public school district. The visitors also volunteered at Iron Gate,...

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