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...

Continue  

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...

Continue  

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,...

Continue  

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...

Continue  

Community Impact – Youthbuild Louisville

Community Impact highlights organizations and people in communities across the U.S. that connect with international visitors, and how those cultural exchanges impact them. Meridian collaborates with local organizations who host international participants across the U.S. through various exchange programs including the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Exchange programs allow participants to gain a diverse perspective of the country, while local communities are also exposed to people from around the world.  This past November, I attended the Global Ties U.S. triannual summit in Louisville, Kentucky hosted by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana (WAC). During a networking lunch, I connected with representatives from YouthBuild Louisville, the...

Continue