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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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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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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