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: 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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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Connecting People, Creating Understanding, Exploring Opportunities

The following was written and submitted by Mr. Marco Polo. The author participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Department of State from September 27 to October 20, 2019. He is an Associate Professor at the Communication and Journalism Department and concurrently the Director for University Advancement of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas in Cavite, Philippines. He is a former two-term national president of the Philippine Association of Communication Educators (PACE) and is a member of the Board of Management of the Asian Media, Information and Communication Center (AMIC). I have always believed that traveling is...

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