South Korea Seeks Rare Talks with North Korea to Ease Military Tensions

Written by the Agence France-Presse in Seoul.
See the original article on the Guardian.


South Korea has offered to hold rare military talks with the North to ease tensions after Pyongyang’s first intercontinental ballistic missile test earlier this month.

Monday’s offer, the first since South Korea elected the moderate Moon Jae-In as president, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean war.

The South’s defence ministry proposed a meeting on Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom, while the Red Cross offered to hold talks on 1 August at the same venue.

If the government meeting goes ahead, it will be the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015. Moon’s conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, had refused to engage in substantive dialogue with Pyongyang unless the isolated regime made a tangible commitment to denuclearisation.

The Red Cross said it hoped for a positive response from its counterpart in the North; mooted family reunions in early October would be the first in two years.

Millions of families were separated by the conflict that sealed the division of the peninsula. Many died without getting a chance to see or hear from their families on the other side of the heavily-fortified border, across which all civilian communication is banned.

Only about 60,000 members of divided families are still left in the South.

“North Korea should respond to our sincere proposals if it really seeks peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Cho Myoung-gyon, Seoul’s unification minister in charge of North Korea affairs.

Cho stressed that Seoul “would not seek collapse of the North or unification through absorbing the North” and urged Pyongyang to restore inter-Korea communication channels, including a shuttered military hotline.

Moon, who took power in May, has advocated dialogue with the nuclear-armed North as a means of bringing it to the negotiating table and vowed to play a more active role in global efforts to tame the South’s unpredictable neighbour.

But Pyongyang has staged a series of missile launches in violation of UN resolutions, most recently on 4 July when it test-fired its first ICBM, a move which triggered global alarm and a push by the US president, Donald Trump, to impose harsher UN sanctions on the country.

Washington has also called on China, the North’s sole ally, to put more pressure on Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear ambitions, which have advanced rapidly under the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

“We make the proposal for a meeting … aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

[NEW]The European Union offered European support for South Korean efforts to negotiate with North Korea, but said it was also considering tougher sanctions on Pyongyang following its first intercontinental ballistic missile test.

In a statement Monday, the EU’s executive arm condemned the test earlier this month as a “serious threat to international peace and security” and urged an end to such actions.

The latest missile test – which Kim described as a “gift” to the Americans – was seen as a milestone in Pyongyang’s quest to build a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can hit the US mainland.

The proposed meetings, if realised, would be a “rare opportunity to ease tension that has built up for 10 years”, said Cheong Seong-chang, analyst at the Sejong Institute, a thinktank.

“It would at least help let off some steam out of the current crisis, although the North would still maintain that it would not give up its weapons programmes,” he said.

The agenda for the meeting could include moves to suspend propaganda campaigns operated on both sides of the border for years, Cheong added.

The South’s military has deployed dozens of giant loudspeakers along the tense border to blare out a mix of world news, K-pop songs and other propaganda targeting young North Korean soldiers.

It has also occasionally launched giant balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border despite warnings of military retaliation by the North.

The North has responded with its own propaganda broadcasts and sent anti-Seoul leaflets via giant balloons across the border.

They Fled Boko Haram and Famine – and then They Were Forced Back

Written by Kevin Sieff.
Read the original article on The Washington Post.
Image credit: The Washington Post.


 The soldiers arrived in the middle of the night, tearing through the village of Nigerian refugees, barging into stick huts where families slept in knots on the floor.

For years, those refugees had been on the run from Boko Haram insurgents, finally escaping across a dried riverbed that served as the border with Cameroon. They had settled in the village of Majina, where they farmed beans and millet. “A peaceful place,” the men said. And then, in March, the Cameroonian soldiers arrived.

The troops rounded up the refugees haphazardly and pushed them into military trucks, often separating parents from their children, according to witnesses. The refugees soon realized where they were headed: back to one of the most dangerous corners of Nigeria. Today, they are living in a displacement camp in Banki, a city racked by one of the world’s biggest hunger crises.

The United Nations would eventually put a label on what happened that night and many others to follow — “forced return.”Over the past few months, at least 5,000 Nigerian refugees were rounded up in Cameroonian villages and refugee camps and expelled to a region under frequent attack by insurgents, according to U.N. officials. Some aid officials think the actual number of those forcibly returned is over 10,000, including people evicted in sporadic operations since 2013. The Cameroonian government has denied driving out the Nigerians.

As the number of refugees around the world soars — topping 20 million — they are facing growing hostility from host countries and shrinking protection from the international legal framework put in place decades ago to defend such vulnerable people. A forced return like the one reported in Cameroon emblematizes the most extreme and unforgiving reaction to those searching for a haven.

Many countries are taking less-drastic steps that have still alarmed refu­gee advocates. Over the past three years, Pakistan has pressured hundreds of thousands of long-term war refugees from Afghanistan to return home, despite the dire poverty and violent insurgency in their homeland. In Kenya, a court blocked the government from sending more than 200,000 inhabitants of the Dadaab refu­gee camp, mostly Somalis, back to a nation beset by war and a hunger crisis. But human rights groups say many of the residents are being pressured to leave anyway.

International human rights groups last year accused Turkey of expelling thousands of Syrian refugees, a charge the government denied.

Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, ratified by 145 countries — including Cameroon — victims of war or persecution should not be returned to nations where they will face serious threats. But that edict is being ignored, according to human rights groups.

“Poorer countries hosting huge numbers of refugees for many years, such as Kenya, Pakistan and Turkey, have recently pushed back hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers,” said Gerry Simpson, a migration expert at Human Rights Watch. “They seem to be taking their lead from richer countries, such as Australia, the E.U. and the U.S., who are pulling out all the stops to limit refugee arrivals.”

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has sought to reach agreements with countries that are sending refugees home, to ensure that only voluntary repatriations occur.

But the agency’s assistance came too late for thousands of Nigerians in Cameroon.

Aid groups are still unsure what prompted what they call a mass eviction. Some U.N. officials say the refugees were probably forced out in advance of a large military operation. Other aid groups say that Cameroon, one of the world’s poorest nations, has simply grown tired of hosting Nigerians. Cameroon has been inundated by refugees in recent years, with more than 300,000 people fleeing wars in the Central African Republic and Nigeria.

Cameroon’s government has rejected the UNHCR statements on the forced returns. “I’m telling you there were no forced expulsions,” Richard Etoundi, head of the protocol unit in the Ministry of External Relations, said in a phone interview.

In addition to the thousands who were reported forced from Cameroon, many more were persuaded to go back to northeastern Nigeria after being lied to about the conditions there, according to refugees and aid officials. Arriving home, the refugees are finding a lack of housing, severe overcrowding and a scarcity of food and water. This month, the head of UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, said he was “extremely worried” about the flood of Ni­ger­ian refugees returning from Cameroon to “a situation dangerously unprepared to receive them.”

The Cameroonian military acted so hastily in removing the refugees that it inadvertently swept up a group of Cameroonian women and children in a raid in the village of Keraoua. They now sleep on the floor of an unfinished building in a bombed-out side street in Banki.

‘It was a decent life’

Abba Goni, 76, fled Banki nearly three years ago on a green bicycle with “China” stamped on the frame, riding on the packed sand from village to village, an old man much faster on two wheels than on his two gnarled feet.

Goni was born and raised in Banki, once a city of 150,000 surrounded by fertile farmland, just over a mile from the Cameroonian border. In September 2014, the Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram surged into town on trucks and motorcycles, shooting wildly and burning buildings. Goni’s first escape on the green bicycle was in the dead of night. His two wives and nine children followed.

For a few weeks, they lived outdoors, subsisting on whatever fruits they could find. When Boko Haram caught up with them, Goni got back on his bicycle, heading toward Cameroon.

Since Goni was a boy, members of his Kanuri ethnic group had moved back and forth between Cameroon and Nigeria without any documents. Boko Haram, too, had crossed the border with impunity. But the group’s stronghold remained in Nigeria, and Goni knew that if he headed deep enough into Cameroon, he would most likely be safe. In 2015, he and his family arrived in Majina, where some local men allowed him to cultivate a small patch of farmland.

“It was a decent life,” he said.

Parts of Nigeria were meanwhile inching closer to famine. When the aid group Doctors Without Borders finally got access to Banki last summer, after the military drove out Boko Haram, aid workers found a hunger crisis, with more than 10 percent of children suffering from severe malnutrition and people dying of preventable diseases. For Goni and his family, their hamlet in Cameroon wasn’t just an escape from Boko Haram, but also a refuge from starvation.

The government of Cameroon, though, was struggling to provide for so many refugees. Residents of northern Cameroon blamed food shortages on refugees. In some cases, the two populations clashed.

Experts see that frustration reflected in other countries where refugees have been pressured to leave.

“I think host governments are getting sort of fed up that a very large proportion of the burden is falling on them, without enough international assistance,” said Kathleen Newland, co-founder
of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based research organization.

In Majina, Goni never experienced that antagonism. On that March day, when he heard the sounds of trucks and men shouting, Goni first assumed Boko Haram had arrived. Then he looked outside and saw the men in uniform.

“Who is Nigerian?” the soldiers shouted, Goni recalled.

Goni asked if he could at least collect his clothes, blankets, food and his bicycle. The soldiers refused. Everything happened quickly. When he looked around, in the back of the speeding military truck, he found only one of his wives and two of his children. The rest had been left behind.

‘Get the Nigerians out’

The following morning, Goni got his first look at what was left of Banki. Entire blocks had been flattened, most likely by military airstrikes. Displaced people were living in abandoned houses.

Although aid groups had begun to distribute food and open rudimentary clinics, the Nigerian military still controlled access, posting checkpoints and barring residents from leaving town.

That meant no farming in nearby fields, no collecting of firewood and no possibility of leaving Banki again.

After being interrogated by Ni­ger­ian soldiers, Goni was directed to an abandoned building. UNHCR gave him a mat and a blanket. And he had a new home: one room with 18 people sleeping on the floor.

A month into his time in Banki, he and many of the other deportees were eating only one meal a day.

A few blocks away, in another gray, unfinished building, 32 Cameroonian women and children waved their documents — Cameroonian birth certificates and voter registration cards — when they spotted a visiting journalist.

“We kept telling the soldiers, ‘We are from Cameroon,’ but they brought us here anyway,” said Fati Kadi, 40. Her two children had been left behind during the raid, she said.

Faruk Ibrahim, a program manager with UNHCR, said the agency had expected that the Cameroonians would be taken home. “But it’s been over two months now.”

Stories of other forced returns emerged throughout March and April. More than 2 million people had already been displaced internally in Nigeria’s war with Boko Haram. With the flow of repatriated refugees from Cameroon, that number was rising.

Two hundred miles from Banki, in the city of Ngala, the border superintendent watched one day in April as the Cameroonians deposited hundreds of Nigerians on a bridge that connects the two nations.

“They just wanted to get the Nigerians out,” Mohammed Gadam, the border chief, said in an interview.

Many others in Ngala had chosen to return after they were convinced by Cameroonian and visiting Nigerian soldiers that life was much better in Nigeria, with free-flowing aid and much-improved security.

When Falta Ali, 23, arrived back in Ngala in March, two years after she fled, she saw that the city was in ruins. Aid groups set up tents, but not enough. The international community was running out of money for food aid.

Ali’s 6-month-old, Yagana Buhama, quickly developed whooping cough.

“It’s a product of the environment here,” said a doctor, Beauty Nwuba, standing over Buhama’s bed in a tented clinic. “There’s so much overcrowding.”

In March, UNHCR reached an agreement with the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments, mandating that refugees return to Nigeria only voluntarily. The number of forced returns appears to have dropped off recently, according to UNHCR.

“There is now a framework for voluntary returns,” said Cesar Tshilombo, head of UNHCR’s sub-office in northeastern Nigeria.

But other relief workers say people are still being pressured to go back to a dangerous, desperate place.

“They are threatened by Cameroonian authorities until they agree to return,” said a relief worker in Banki who interviewed refugees last month. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly about the issue.

Other countries also have been accused of compelling refugees to move home to precarious places. In a February report, Human Rights Watch said that in Pakistan, Afghan refugees have been subject to police harassment, arbitrary detention and deportation threats. More than 350,000 registered refugees had gone back to Afghanistan
in the previous six months, “making it the world’s largest mass forced return of refugees in recent years,” the group wrote. It added that the United Nations was abetting the exodus by providing subsidies of $400 per refu­gee.

The United Nations rejected the charge and said it offered support to refugees to decide their futures “based on a well-informed consideration of best options.”

The Pakistani government denied the allegations of coercion.

For now, the thousands of refugees, like Goni, who have been forced back to Nigeria have pragmatic questions. When will they be reunited with their families? How will they get their belongings in Cameroon? Will they ever be free to return?

“They keep us here like prisoners,” he said. “We weren’t ready to come back.”

Justices Side With Immigrant Who Got Bad Legal Advice

Written by Adam Liptak.
Read the original article on the New York Times.
Image Credit: the New York Times.


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of an immigrant whose lawyer falsely told him that pleading guilty to a drug charge would not lead to his deportation. When the immigrant, Jae Lee, learned the truth, he sought to go to trial after all.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 6-to-2 decision, said Mr. Lee should be able to reopen the proceedings against him and take his chances at trial even though the evidence against him was quite strong.

“But for his attorney’s incompetence, Lee would have known that accepting the plea agreement would certainly lead to deportation,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Going to trial? Almost certainly.”

Chief Justice Roberts noted that “if deportation were the determinative issue for an individual in plea discussions, as it was for Lee; if that individual had strong connections to this country and no other, as did Lee; and if the consequences of taking a chance at trial were not markedly harsher than pleading, as in this case, that ‘almost’ could make all the difference.”

Mr. Lee moved to the United States from South Korea with his family in 1982, when he was 13. After graduating from high school in New York, he moved to Memphis, where he became a successful restaurateur. He was a lawful resident but not a citizen and had never returned to South Korea.

Mr. Lee was prosecuted for possessing the drug ecstasy with the intent to distribute it, and his lawyer urged him to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. The lawyer falsely told Mr. Lee that he would not be subject to deportation after he served his sentence, which turned out to be a year and a day.

On learning the truth, Mr. Lee filed a motion to vacate his conviction, arguing that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Mr. Lee, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “would have rejected any plea leading to deportation — even if it shaved off prison time — in favor of throwing a ‘Hail Mary’ at trial.”

“Not everyone in Lee’s position would make the choice to reject the plea,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “But we cannot say it would be irrational to do so.”

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority opinion in the case, Lee v. United States, No. 16-327. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch did not participate in the case, which was argued before he joined the court.

In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote that Mr. Lee could not overcome the ordinary standard for proving ineffective assistance of counsel, which requires not only proof of flawed advice but also that the advice harmed the defendant.

The evidence against Mr. Lee was exceptionally strong, Justice Thomas wrote. The police had found large quantities of drugs at his home, and prosecutors were prepared to present a witness ready to testify about buying drugs from Mr. Lee.

“In the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt and in the absence of a bona fide defense, a reasonable court or jury applying the law to the facts of this case would find the defendant guilty,” Justice Thomas wrote. “There is no reasonable probability of any other verdict.”

“A defendant in petitioner’s shoes, therefore, would have suffered the same deportation consequences regardless of whether he accepted a plea or went to trial,” he wrote. “He is thus plainly better off for having accepted his plea: Had he gone to trial, he not only would have faced the same deportation consequences, he also likely would have received a higher prison sentence.”

The Supreme Court’s decision reversed one from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, which had ruled that Mr. Lee had suffered no prejudice, as the correct legal advice would not have helped him. Had he gone to trial, the court said, he would have lost and still have been deported.

But Judge Alice M. Batchelder, writing for the appeals court, seemed uneasy about what the law required.

“It is unclear to us why it is in our national interests — much less the interests of justice — to exile a productive member of our society to a country he hasn’t lived in since childhood for committing a relatively small-time drug offense,” she wrote. “But our duty is neither to prosecute nor to pardon; it is simply to say ‘what the law is,’” she added, quoting Marbury v. Madison.

Everything you need to know about tomorrow’s important UK election

Written by Chris Graham.
Read the original article on the Telegraph.

Image credit: The Telegraph.

The United Kingdom goes to the polls – again – tomorrow after Theresa May, the Prime Minister, called a snap General Election in April.

Both parties go into the final day of campaigning today with the race apparently much tighter than many expected a month ago.

Despite ruling out a snap election when she took over after the Brexit referendum in June last year, Mrs May announced the vote in the hope that she can capitalise on internal divisions within the Labour Party and bolster the Conservative’s majority in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives enjoyed a large lead at the beginning of the campaign and a good result for Mrs May on Thursday would give her a strong position as she negotiates a “hard Brexit” from the European Union.

Labour continues to trail in the polls – even though the gap has narrowed significantly – but their leader Jeremy Corbyn is hoping to confound the pollsters in the same way Donald Trump did in November.

The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, are campaigning on an anti-Brexit platform.

The gap between the Conservatives and Labour - the two main parties - is narrowing
The gap between the Conservatives and Labour – the two main parties – is narrowing

Here’s a rundown on the big issues from the election over the past week, why comparisons have been drawn between Mr Corbyn and the US president, and a guide to what you should look out for on election night.

Has the London terror attack affected the election?

Absolutely. The tragic events on Saturday night has had a significant impact on the race.

All the major parties suspended campaigning for 24 hours on Sunday following the attack that killed at least seven people. It was the second time that national campaigning has been suspended during the current election campaign after it was halted for three days in the wake of the Manchester bomb attack on May 22.

The atrocity even prompted calls on social media for the general election to be suspended, forcing Mrs May to stress on Sunday that it would go ahead as planned on Thursday.

However it is the news agenda that has been most significantly affected. With just days until the election, the prime minister, who was previously the Home Secretary, has been forced on the defensive as she faces criticism of her record on counter-terrorism following the third terrorist outrage in the space of three months.

When Mrs May addressed the nation on Sunday, she rounded on those who “tolerate” extremism as she told them: “Enough is enough.”

In a speech that Mr Corbyn attacked as “political”, she said she would consider longer prison sentences for terrorist offences as well as reviewing the country’s entire counter-terrorism strategy in the face of a changing threat.

On Tuesday, Mrs May vowed to start work on toughening anti-terrorism measures if she is re-elected and promised she would not let human rights laws stand in her way. The Prime Minister will make it easier to deport foreign terror suspects and will extend existing laws that restrict the freedom of British suspects.

She has faced a barrage of questions about why the three Islamist terrorists who killed seven at the weekend were free to do it despite two of them being on the radar of the police or MI5. She has also been taken to task over a 20,000 reduction in police numbers under her watch.

Certain sections of the press, meanwhile, have trained their sights on Mr Corbyn. Amid a slew of recent stories about the Labour leader’s past associations with IRA and Palestinian terrorists, Labour faced fierce headlines on Wednesday, including “Apologists for terror” and “Jezza’s jihadi comrades”.

What has been the reaction to Trump’s tweets?

Mrs May has come under fire for not standing up for London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in the face of strong criticism from Donald Trump in the hours after the terror attack.

The US President fired off a series of critical tweets over Mr Khan’s handling of the London Bridge terror attack, mocking the mayor’s comments that there was “no reason to be alarmed” over armed police on the streets.

But while Mrs May said Mr Trump’s Twitter attacks were “wrong”, she said Mr Trump’s controversial trip would go ahead.

Tom Brake, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Theresa May has allowed Donald Trump 24 hours to bully the Mayor of London. It isn’t good enough.

“Trump’s attack on Sadiq Khan was not only wrong, it was outrageous. Just as has been shown in so many other areas, when it comes to Trump, Theresa May is meek and mild, not strong and stable.

“It is time for Theresa May to do the right thing and cancel the state visit.”

A YouGov poll of 1,000 Londoners published on Monday found that Mr Khan was more trusted than both Mrs May and national Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to make the right decisions about keeping Britain safe from terrorism.

Is Jeremy Corbyn the British Donald Trump?

They stand at opposite ends of the political spectrum in many ways, yet comparisons between the US president Donald Trump and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have been made for months.

As The Telegraph’s Asa Bennett noted in March:

“Both men are just a few years apart in age. They have been part of the system for decades, but that hasn’t stopped them from amassing their own anti-Establishment following. Each man, their supporters say, is a straight talker who speaks truth to power, whose appeal is proven the huge crowds that come to listen.”

Mr Corbyn even seemed to lift some lines from the Trump playbook in February by blasting the BBC for reporting “fake news”.

The Labour leader has been frequently branded unelectable – a trait that was used to describe Mr Trump right up until he won the election in November. When the prime minister called the election in April, it looked set to be a coronation, much like Hillary Clinton was long expected to coast to the presidency. And yet, some polls now have the two candidates neck-and-neck.

Mr Trump’s victory looms over the election. When asked by Politicowhat the odds were on Mr Corbyn winning on Thursday, a veteran BBC producer said: “Zero percent”.

“Except, he quickly added that, in this age of Brexit and Trump, he no longer trusts the polls, or his own political instincts honed over three decades of covering British elections, or anything really.”

How are the polls looking?

With just a day until the election, polls are showing that the gap between Labour and the Conservatives has narrowed further still.

However, different polling companies are forecasting wildly different results.

The latest poll from YouGov has the Tory lead at just four points over Labour, while ICM has it standing at 11 points.

The situation is a far cry from the start of the election campaign, when Mrs May enjoyed a 17.8 point lead and polls indicated a landslide victory.

The Conservatives' crumbling lead
The Conservatives’ crumbling lead CREDIT: TELEGRAPH
But can we even trust the polls?  Not according to Michael Moszynski, a pundit who correctly predicted the results of the EU Referendum, Scottish referendum and 2015 General Election within 0.3 per cent.

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Moszynski, chief Executive and Founder of London Advertising, said the Conservatives remain “safely on course for a three-figure majority”.

What’s the schedule for election night?

  • 5pm EST: Polls close at 10pm in the UK and exit polls are expected to be announced at the same time.
  • 6pm EST: The first result should be called within the first hour of counting.
  • 8pm EST: Things start to get serious around 1am BST as the first marginal seats are expected to be called.
  • 10pm-12am EST: The busiest time for results to be announced will be between 3am and 5am BST. Conservative leader Theresa May should find out if she has held the Berkshire seat of Maidenhead around 4am – by that time she will have a good idea about whether she is still Prime Minister.
  • 1.30am EST: At around 6.30am BST on Friday, the loser will be conceding defeat and the winner will be declaring victory.

Protect Exchanges – Support Diplomacy

Dear WAC Friends:

International exchange programs have always received bi-partisan support in Congress. However, the White House’s newly released FY2018 budget calls for an unprecedented cut of 28 percent to the Department of State. While we don’t know by what amount, it is clear that the administration will soon propose steep cuts to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). If enacted into law, these cuts would greatly harm our nation’s public diplomacy efforts and, ultimately, our national security and economy.

As a nonpartisan organization, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana was founded on international exchanges over 30 years ago. We believe that by offering our communities an opportunity to interact with people from around the world, each of us can play an integral part in promoting peace and mutual understanding. Over these three decades, we have hosted thousands of delegates from every corner of the globe, connecting them with countless organizations, businesses and people in the region, from Louisville to Hazard to Bowling Green to Paducah, as well as Southern Indiana, and the many towns in between. The proposed cut would directly affect our mission and the services that we provide to our community and the region.

We need your support now more than ever. Congressman Hank Johnson is collecting signatures on a letter to the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations in support of exchange program funding. This letter calls for the highest possible funding level for exchange programs in FY2018. The deadline for members of Congress to join the “Dear Colleague” letter is Wednesday, March 22.

The Alliance for International Exchange has organized a letter-writing campaign that makes it very easy for you to write your representative. Click here to access a pre-written letter that you can customize if you would like. It only takes a minute or two to send this letter to your representative in Congress.

http://cqrcengage.com/alliance-exchange/app/write-a-letter…

Adding your voice to this effort will truly make a difference. Thank you for taking action today.

Sincerely,

Xiao Yin Zhao

Executive Director
World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana

WAC is hiring a part-time Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator!

Position Description
Job Title: Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator
Program: Across programs
Positions Type: Hourly to start; 30 hrs/week, $13/hr
Supervisor: Executive Director

Position Summary
The Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator will coordinate the implementation of
communications and marketing efforts across all programs of the organization. The Coordinator
will take the lead on event logistics, maintain accurate donor/member management database,
and manage the design and brand consistency of communication across platforms, including
website, social media and print.
Role: Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator
 Write, submit and follow-up to ensure placement on press releases and stories to
established contacts with local and regional media
 Coordinate and maintain all graphic design/key documents including one-pagers, annual
reports, posters, signage, flyers and brochures
 Create communication campaigns that connect and engage the public
 Coordinate website and social media updates, design and content
 Cultivate and expand membership development and fulfillment
 Actively participate on committees as necessary and appropriate
 Plan, implement and follow-up for all special events
 Coordinate event logistics, publicity, including public relations, advertising and collateral
material design, production and distribution
 Supervise and coordinate with event contractors
 Assist the Executive Director and board committees in other fundraising programs as
necessary
Key Competencies
Skills
 Excellent writing skills, including attention to spelling and grammar
 Excellent time management with strong attention to details
 Comfortable with website management
 Familiarity with a variety of online marketing, social media and donor management
tools, such as Mailchimp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or comparable platforms
 Excellent verbal communication and emotional intelligence
 Strong people and partnership development skills
 Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills
 Concise reporting skills
Experience and Attributes
 Bachelor’s degree, or two-year Associate Degree with at least two years’ professional
work experience
 Entrepreneurial and with initiative to help identify and develop new opportunities
 Capacity to be flexible and undertake the range of duties efficiently in a variety of
contexts and times
 Empathy when dealing with people from diverse cultural, linguistic, religious and
socioeconomic backgrounds
 Flexibility to work during off hours for events as scheduled
 Driver’s license & own car for regular errands and meetings
About the WAC:
The World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana (WAC) is a non-profit member-based
organization whose mission is to promote cross-cultural awareness, education and tolerance
through nonpartisan and quality programming on current international issues for the state of
Kentucky and Southern Indiana. As a member of the World Affairs Councils of America, the WAC
seeks to engage diplomats and experts across diverse fields to inform, stimulate and connect our
community to the most pressing international issues of the day and prospects for the future.
Through our Speaker Series, International Visitor Exchange programs, Education and other Special
Events, WAC offer our community the chance to hear directly from prominent world leaders and
experts on a variety of global concerns.
If interested, please send resume to [email protected]

Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator Job Announcement

Congratulations to DuPont Manual High School!

2017 Academic WorldQuest™ Regional Competition, 1st Place: DuPont Manual High School
World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana

Team members: Agharnan Gandhi, Mark Raj, Aditya Mehta, Abilash Thout, Matthew Raj; Coach: Esther Tamplin

Congratulations to Coach Esther Tamplin and the team from DuPont Manual High School! This team placed 1st overall at the regional round of the World Affairs Councils of America’s 2017 Academic WorldQuest™ Competition! The competition was held at Bellarmine University on Saturday, February 4, 2017. They competed against 9 high school teams from across the region in a thrilling competition testing their knowledge of international affairs.

The World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana is proud to have had this accomplished team represent our council at this year’s competition! Congratulations to their coach, Esther Tamplin, and the team! What a fantastic job! The team will head to Washington, D.C. in late April for the national round at the National Press Club on April 29th, 2017!

Interested in learning more about Academic WorldQuest™? Visit our Academic WorldQuest™ Page for more info!

Congratulations to DuPont Manual High School!

2016 Academic WorldQuest™ Competition, 5th Place: DuPont Manual High School
World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana

Team members: Shravan Ravishankar, Madan Subheeswar, Abilash Thout, Mark Raj; Coach: Esther Tamplin

Congratulations to Coach Esther Tamplin and the team from DuPont Manual High School! This team placed 5th overall at the World Affairs Councils of America’s 2016 Academic WorldQuest™ Competition! The competition was held in Washington D.C. on Saturday, April 23, 2016. They competed against 200+ high school students from across the country in a thrilling competition testing their knowledge of international affairs. Competition topics included:  NATO, Asian matters for America, international trade and finance, the Sultanate of Oman, privacy in the digital age, the Arctic, global food security, the organization of American states, great decisions, and other topics relating to current events.

The World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana is proud to have had this accomplished team represent our council at this year’s competition! Congratulations to their coach, Esther Tamplin, and the team! What a fantastic job!

Interested in learning more about Academic WorldQuest™? Visit our Academic WorldQuest™ Page for more info!