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...


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...


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...


IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Promoting the digital economy through collaboration

In September of 2019, Mr. Aaron Hape of New Zealand participated in the multi-regional International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project “Advancing an Open, Reliable, and Secure Digital Economy.” Working as a senior public servant in the New Zealand Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, his focus is aimed at helping guide regional economic development policies. For Mr. Hape, his IVLP experience highlighted the importance of global perspectives in pursuing his work remarking, “Because of the myriad of cultures I was exposed to in my IVLP cohort, I now have a greater understanding of how other countries support the growth of their digital sectors and encourage the uptake and use of...


Public Diplomacy Supports the Rule of Law

Corruption, an abuse of power for private gain, threatens democracy, depletes national wealth, and undermines public trust.  It’s a global problem plaguing even the youngest republics, like Kosovo.   The U.S. Department of State reports that Kosovo suffers from endemic government corruption and one of the Kosovo’s think tanks reports its judicial system is considered among the most corrupt Continue