In-person Programming Fosters Return to Cultural and Personal Connections

After two years of virtual meetings, where we perfected the use of Zoom and asking people to unmute, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has returned to in-person programs at full speed. While we all appreciated the chance to still connect during the throes of the pandemic, there is no true substitution for the connection face to face interaction offers. This was recently highlighted in the experience of Team SVAT, standing for Special Visitors, Ashi, and Tatyana (in reference to their resolute liaison team). This contingent of seven participants from various countries recently came to the U.S. for a...

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Pakistani Young Influencer reflects on her IVLP and Pride

In the Fall of 2019, Ms. Aradhiya Khan participated in an IVLP project with a group from Pakistan focused on Young Influencers. At the time, she worked with the Akhuwat Foundation promoting the social and economic inclusion of the transgender community. In addition, Ms. Khan has actively pursued legislation on a transgender protection bill in the Sindh Provincial Assembly. Below, she reflects on her IVLP experience and Pride.  What is an accomplishment you would like to highlight from your IVLP experience?   As part of the 2019 Young Influencers IVLP project, I attended various interesting meetings, discussions, and field visits during the three-week program. After...

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Australian IVLP Alum Reflects on Marriage, Equality, and Pride

In June 2015, Anna Brown participated in an IVLP project on Preventing and Responding to Bias-Motivated Violence Against the LGBTI Community. At the time, Anna was the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation for the Human Rights Law Centre. She currently serves as the CEO for Equality Australia. She offered the following reflections on her exchange experience and the impact of Pride Month. What have you been doing since your IVLP experience? I have a vivid memory of the plane ride home from the U.S. after my IVLP trip because when I landed on Australian soil I found out...

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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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Erkinbek Kamalov on World Press Freedom

For World Press Freedom Day we are excited to share a contribution from Erkinbek Kamalov, a fall 2019 alumnus of Meridian’s Central Asia Journalist-in-Residence Program (CAJIR), part of the wider Central Asia Media Exchange Program (CAMEX). Erkinbek is a dedicated media practitioner from Kyrgyzstan. He is a currently a reporter and project coordinator for Content-Media versia.kg located in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyz Republic. His current project is short term media research for the New Media Advocacy Project (NMAP) New York based entity in which he is a Lead Researcher for the Eurasia region. His most recent completed project, ‘SynergyKG-21’, is related to...

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