Israeli IVLP Alum reflects on Pride and LGBTQ+ Solidarity

In March 2019, Israeli national Ms. Liana Ester Meirom Asif traveled to the U.S. for an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on “Human and Civil Rights for Marginalized Communities.” At the time, Ms. Meirom Asif was the International Funds and Resource Development Coordinator for IGY, Israel LGBTQ+ Youth. She has since taken on the role of Vice President, Resource Development and External Relations for IGY. Below, she reflects on her IVLP experience and what Pride means to her. What have you been doing since your IVLP experience? I have started new projects both at IGY, Israel’s LGBTQ+ youth organization,...

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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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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 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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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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