Teaching in Rural Japan Amidst a Pandemic

The following was written by Regan McAllister, former Fellow in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division. Her perspective displays how people around the world are facing the same challenges and how we can be stronger at home by understanding global issues. Last August, I moved to a small town in northern Japan to be an English Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) through the Japan Exchanges and Teaching (JET) Program. The first seven months of living in Aomori, Japan, were lively and full of seasonal festivals, school events and regional traveling. As I enter my second year, a ‘new normal’ has taken hold...

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Women’s empowerment at Meridian International Center

As catalysts, trailblazers and change-makers, women have unquestionably shaped the world we live in today. Next month marks Women’s History Month in the U.S. and Meridian is proud to honor the accomplishments of women in diplomacy around the world through a series of programs, as well as flashbacks to our flagship initiatives that demonstrate Meridian’s commitment to championing the empowerment of women and girls.  WOMEN IN DIPLOMACY  On February 24, in partnership with Women Ambassadors Serving America, Meridian hosted over 50 former and current women ambassadors from foreign embassies and the U.S. for “Diplomatic Readiness: What skills will diplomats need in 2030 and beyond?” This program opened with the Director of National Intelligence’s Global Trends report, followed by a panel conversation, moderated...

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PAYLP Through the Eyes of a Meridian Intern

 “This program has offered me the opportunity to experience what I’ve learned in school, a lot of what I teach my pupils and read on the internet and books…. I am sure this will breed a group of young leaders with a hunger for success.” (Private Mchenga of Malawi, PAYLP Adult Mentor participant) Students will often look to adults, school, and friends to shape the things they do not know. When that is not enough television and movies fill in the gaps.  As it turns out, romanticized perceptions, movies, and television often steer us further away from the reality...

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“The Impacts of Exchange Programs in My Life” by Massolian Fahnbulleh, A Liberian Let Girls Learn Participant

My name is Massa and I am from Liberia. This is actually a real experience about my life. I never thought I could be outspoken and participatory until I went on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program because I used to be a very shy person. But when I went to the U.S. for the one year program in 2011, I learned how to speak in public, do PowerPoint presentations, and cultural presentations in front of audiences. I also learned how to sing and dance in my American high school. Then came the “Let Girls Learn” program...

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“The Let Girls Learn U.S. Exchange Program” by Bochra Laghssais, A Moroccan Participant

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama invited 22 Moroccan girls and 22 Liberian girls to the White House for the premiere of the CNN documentary We Will Rise on October 11, the International Day of the Girl. I was one of the Moroccan girls invited to Washington D.C. as part of First Lady Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative. The White House visit was a follow-up to First Lady Obama’s visit to Liberia and Morocco in June 2016, during which we Moroccan girls participated in a roundtable discussion on the challenges young girls face in order to continue...

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