Five Russian journalists who visited Bardstown Thursday contrasted the freedom of the American press with the constraints under which they must work in their country. – Kentucky Standard
Eight delegates from seven different African countries arrived in Louisville on November 4, 2018. Prior to their arrival, the group had traveled extensively across the United States – to Washington, D.C., Annapolis and Baltimore, Miami, and Colorado Springs – learning about the U.S. electoral process, election monitoring, and effective campaigning. But no amount of travel was going to wear down the group’s excitement for the big day: November 6th.
While in Louisville, the group met with several organizations, candidates, and constituents. For a compare and contrast, the group met with both the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office and Floyd County Clerk’s Office to explore the differences in election day preparation, laws, and management of polling stations. Mr. James Young, Co-Director of the Jefferson Co. Election Center, met with visitors to discuss the amount of preparation that goes into managing Kentucky’s most populated county and how residents must visit their assigned polling stations. In Floyd County, IN, the group learned from Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton that polls are run a bit different just across the river. In Floyd County, visitors were exposed to the idea of Election Centers, where residents of Floyd County are able to vote in any Election Center and are not tied to one specific polling station.
Our group also met with local candidates of both parties. First, visitors met with Mr. Kent Hall who ran as the Republican candidate for Metro Council’s 7th District seat. Mr. Hall had previously worked in the Jefferson Co. Election Center and had a wealth of knowledge to share having help prepare for elections and now as a candidate himself. Later in the day, visitors met with Ms. Nima Kulkarni, the Democratic candidate running for State Representative in the 40th district. Ms. Kulkarni shared her drive to run, major issues, and the grassroots support for her campaign as the first Indian-American elected to Kentucky’s state legislature.
Dr. Rhonda Wrzenski, Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University Southeast, gave a presentation on the predictions for the Mid-Term elections and reasons for the historical turn-out of women candidates in this year’s election cycle. Students of IUS sat in on the discussion.
Bill Burton of 89.3 WFPL News met with the group to discuss the importance of transparency and media coverage during elections. Not only did the visitors have a wonderful discussion, but Mr. Burton interviewed two of the participants, which played on WFPL the morning of November 6th! You can hear the interview in the audio file below.
Interview by Bill Burton, 89.3 WFPL News:
A delegate from the Central African Republic shares a traditional song with trivia contestants!
The group had wonderful experiences with two volunteer home hospitality dinner hosts! They also joined WAC’s special “Election Edition” Global Trivia Night at Gravely Brewing Co. to watch results pour in. One of them even gave the crowd an impromptu singing lesson!
This project was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and implemented locally by World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana in partnership with World Learning.
Fourteen adaptive sports coaches descended on Louisville from Zambia for the 2018 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament! The fourteen coaches represented Special Olympics Zambia, National Paralympic Committee of Zambia, Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Child Development, Baeuleni United Sports Academy, and more. The coaches were invited to the United States on a project of “Disability Rights and Inclusion” sponsored through the U.S. Department of State, Sports Diplomacy. World Affairs Council partnered with FHI360 to provide an unforgettable experience for the coaches and Kentucky counterparts that they met with.
— Jacquelyn Piansay (@japiansay) April 14, 2018
Following the tournament, coaches met with several local agencies, individuals, and organizations working for disability rights and inclusion in sports. The group started their local meetings with Louisville Metro Councilman Vitalis Lanshima, the first foreign-born resident to sit on Louisville Metro Council. Councilman Lanshima lost his arms in an accident while living in Nigeria. He shared his personal journey in paralympic sports, which is what ultimately brought him to Louisville through a sports scholarship with Bellarmine University.
Sports was the first thing that taught me that I could be free.
Louisville Metro Councilman, Vitalis Lanshima
Special Olympics Kentucky met with the group afterwards to talk about the organization’s history, work, challenges, and successes. Mr Hunter Brislin, Program Director of Team Sports and Coach Education, and Mr. Justin Harville, Director of Volunteers and Program Services, provided a presentation and answered questions about Special Olympics in Kentucky.
Mr. Greg Fante, Vice President of Sports Development with the Louisville Sports Commission, put together a strong panel of guests and hosted a roundtable on “Sports Tourism, Events, and Accessibility” for the coaches at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCVB). The panel included: Ms. Vickie Lincks, Executive Director of Kentucky & Southern Indiana Paralyzed Veterans of America; Ms. BJ Levins, Recreation Administrator for Louisville Metro Parks’ Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation (AIR) program; Mr. Brad Knapp, Destination Services Manager, LCVB; Ms. Gen Howard, Senior Sales Manager (Sports), LCVB; and Mr. Dave Patrone, Vice President of Client Services, Kentucky Venues. Immediately, the roundtable talked about the logistical challenges and successes for hosting the National Wheelchair Bakestball Tournament, including transportation, venue, hotel, and more. The group was greatly impacted by the amount of collaboration and partnerships that it takes to pull a successful event.
The group was impressed to see that hosting events such as the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament requires the entire city’s cooperation.
The following day was spent entirely at the University of Louisville to meet with the Department of Health and Sports Sciences and participate in a sports psychology workshop with 2nd Wind Motivation by Cheryl Hart. The last day of programming, the group visited Churchill Park School which serves students age 5 to 21 who have moderate to severe disabilities and need a specialized program. They were able to view the school’s adaptive recreation and sports, including an adaptive playground, adaptive swimming pool, bowling alley, and gym.
As their final meeting, the group spent an afternoon with BJ Levins and Metro Parks staff at the Louisville Metro Parks Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation (AIR) program at Berrytown Recreation Center. The group learned about the history of the park’s involvement in adaptive recreation, the plethora of programs and sports available to the community, and the administration of such programs. Then comes the fun — archery class!
If you want to view the group’s Facebook album for more pictures, follow this link!
From March 21-25, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana hosted 10 international teachers. The visitors, from Turkey, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, were all English as a Second Language educators studying ESL teacher training programs. Our visitors traveled across the state, first meeting with professors from the Masters in Teaching ESL program at the University of Kentucky. Next, they traveled to Frankfort to tour the state capitol and meet with officials from the Department of Education to discuss Kentucky’s foreign language standards.
Finally, on Friday, the group saw these training programs put into action through a visit to ESL Newcomer Academy at Shawnee High School, a middle and high school that works with students beginning their first year of school in the United States. These students are typically at beginning levels of English proficiency, so instructors help students develop their English skills and provide emotional support during their transition to American life. The visitors sat in on English classes at Newcomer before meeting with officials from the Jefferson County Public Schools system to discuss the hiring of ESL teachers and curriculum development.
Our international visitors’ trip to Louisville concluded with a fun cultural day on Saturday. The group visited the Muhammad Ali Center and Kentucky Derby Museum before finishing the day with a dinner cruise on the Ohio River. From Louisville, the visitors went to Chicago, IL to participate in the TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo. Our visitors enjoyed their visit to Kentucky and will take many valuable skills back to the training centers and universities in their home countries!
Regardless of our experience in the field, there is always so much we can learn from one another. ‘Professional learning’ is endless! | – Bahar, Turkey
My strong belief is that people like us, teachers and educators, make the differences and build understanding between countries and nations. We shape and influence young generation’s minds and future and it was great to meet professionals from Kentucky to learn from them! | – Svetlana, Uzbekistan
Visit the group’s Facebook Album!
Real power is locked within us and we are unaware of it. Visiting the Muhammad Ali Center helped me to unleash my vital energy! | – Michel, Gabon
This program was funded and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Office of English Language Programs and implemented locally by FHI 360 & World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
In Summer 2017, World Affairs Council hosted ten English Access Microscholarship Program (ACCESS) educators from across the globe. While in Louisville, the group met with Dr. Renee Campbell, President and CEO of Wesley House, to learn about the organization’s work to empower families, individuals, and communities toward self-sufficiency. An educator from Brazil, Cícero Ferreira, walked away with a profound idea. When back in Brazil, Cícero wanted to work with his ACCESS students on a project to tackle racism. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaching, Cícero invited Dr. Renee Campbell into his classroom via Skype, to share her experience surviving racism and to talk with students about how complex it could be dealing with this issue. Through her accomplishments, she inspired students to fight for a better world free from racism. Afterwards, students engaged in a project named ERACISM, where they debated ways racism is shown in the Brazilian society and came up with ideas on how to “erase racism” out.
Cícero shared reflections about the virtual exchange below!
It was a different Monday for our Access students during their intensive course in January. While in America people were celebrating Martin Luther King Junior’s Day, our students at ICBEU Manaus – a binational center in the Amazon city – were also getting a taste of how important this date is for our reflection: racism is a fact; it’s there and we have to stand against it. Thanks to Dr. Renee Campbel, this urgent message was even more underscored.
Thinking of that, we at ICBEU Manaus, through our Pedagogical Supervisor Cicero Ferreira, have invited Dr. Renee Campbell to address a wonderful online speech to our students due to her fruitful endeavor to assist the women and kids who are victims of racism. Cicero met her during his visit to the Wesley House as part of a program from the American Embassy in partnership with World Affairs Council of Kentucky & S. Indiana. As he observed her willingness to contribute to a fairer society as well as the results of her work, he decided to keep in touch with her through social media and had suggested that one day she would be invited to address to the Access Microscholarship Program in his city Manaus, Brazil. The suggestion was promptly regarded as an invitation.
As the day of Marthin Luther King Junior approached, they had agreed she would deliver a speech on racism, showing where it is present in the American society, how she has contributed to assisting victims of racism(she was one herself) and how our young students could make a difference in Brazil, their country.
Speaking of the students, they were very touched by Renee’s story and felt very encouraged to become voices standing against all the evil racism does, just like she is a voice herself. The first step inside the classroom was a project named ERACISM, which served as a follow-up activity based on the issues caused by racism in Brazil, where it is present and how it can be fought. Aligned with Dr. Renee’s brilliant insights, students also came up with ways they can contribute to erase racism in their communities, schools and, considering a wide range, the Brazilian society.
Every day is the right day to discuss racism in our classrooms. More than ever, schools are key partners of institutions like the Wesley House, which – through inspiring people like Dr. Renee Campbell – instill the need for a better society tackling on such important social issues as racism. In a few minutes, Dr. Renee was able to convincingly instigate our students to stand against this evil practice and to make a difference in others’ lives. Like Martin Luther King, these students also say: “I have a dream!”
Dr. Renee Campbell, upon reading Cícero’s reflection had a few words of her own to share!
I sincerely appreciate and hold dear the opportunity that I had to provide an online speech to the students and teachers who are a part of ICBEU. It was indeed and honor and a pleasure to be making such a presentation a monumental and significant day as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was remarkable to connect via SKYPE to students and teachers who were as far away as the Amazon Rainforest. I felt very blessed to be able to discuss racism and to provide strategies on how to erase it.
I also learned a great deal from the students. It was wonderful to get to know them and hear about their struggles of racism and colorism. I discovered that there is parity in the struggles that happen in Brazil, and the United States. Many youth face the same obstacles youth of color face in the United States. The students that I presented to that day are brilliant and resilient at the same time. I believe that they represent the tools and vision for our World’s great future, without racism.
I must say that my dream is to one day visit and meet these students and teachers in person.
-Dr. Renee Campbell
President/CEO of Wesley House
About the English Access Microscholarship Program
The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13–20-year-olds from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions. Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 95,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the Access Program. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs.
This project was locally implemented by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana in partnership with FHI 360.
by Karina Cabral
Original article printed in Portuguese at O Livre.
Photo Credits: O Livre.
An example in her community, Mato Grosso student wins exchange in the United States
Fifty students from Brazilian public schools were chosen by the US embassy in Brazil, among 23,000 applicants, to gain an exchange in the United States. Among them is Vitoria Lissa de Oliveira Marques, 18, a Mato Grossan from São José do Rio Claro (296 km from Cuiabá), an example in her community for her leadership and volunteerism.
The program that Vitória is participating in is called Young Ambassadors and was created in 2002. A success since 2010, it has been reproduced in all the countries of the Americas. Since the program began, 522 Brazilians have participated.
Vitoria always volunteered—at school, in the church, teaching English to children in a public school—but it was in 2016 that she signed up for the program for the first time.
“My mother had a fundamental role, because she was the one who made my pre-registration, without even telling me. I remember that, as the stages went by, I became more and more surprised and I reached the final, but I was not selected,” said the young woman.
In the first attempt, as a finalist she was given the opportunity to participate in another embassy program, the EIP (English Immersion USA Program), which takes the finalists of the Young Ambassadors to a week in Brasília, where they undergo a total immersion in American culture.
“We participate in lectures and classes on culture / history and other things in the United States, in partnership with Thomas Jefferson House. This gave me an incredible view of the United States and of Brazil itself, because it contains people from all over the country,” said Victoria.
Last year, Vitória tried again and went through the entire selection process, which includes a pre-registration, sending documents to prove the written application, and a written and an oral test.
The entire process is done by a partner institution, which in Mato Grosso is the State Secretary of Education (Seduc). In the end, four finalists per state are selected—and one of them gets the chance to go to the Young Ambassadors and the other three go to the EIP.
The program is for students aged 15 to 18, who are in high school, have a good command of the Portuguese language, do some kind of volunteer work and have never been to the United States. That is, this was the last year for Victoria, who is 18 and finished high school in 2017.
Fluent English is not a requirement, but it is necessary to be at a good level of the language in order to communicate in that country. Victoria never took lessons, she learned English alone.
She is currently awaiting the outcome of the Enem, as she intends to attend medicine. In the meantime, she will spend three weeks in the United States with the Young Ambassadors, attending leadership workshops, volunteer projects, meeting government officials and US community leaders and giving presentations on Brazil.
“I’m going to stay in Washington for a few days, and then I’ll be staying at an American family’s home in Louisville, Kentucky,” she said.
With the trip coming—she goes on Friday—the young woman said that her anxiety was “at a thousand”, especially regarding meeting the family that will host her. She believes that this experience will transform her future, giving her the opportunity to broaden her worldview and improve her English.
“It’s the realization of a dream, a result of commitment. I just have to be thankful,” she said.
Listen to the WFPL radio spot.
Thirteen exchange students from Iraq are in Louisville this week. The teenagers are part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. While they’re here, the students visit education institutions and attend workshops on youth activism.
They’ll go back to Iraq and work on a community project around an issue they’re passionate about.
I caught up with the students on their break at the Big Four Bridge. I talked to them about their projects, what they do for fun at home, and about misconceptions some may have about their country. Listen to what they had to say in the player above.
“My project is about designing a dialogue group to inspire others about being more open-minded and celebrate the diversity. Because Iraq is so diverse. We have people from different backgrounds, different languages, different religions.” —Ali Al-Behadili, 16.
“Just to be honest I want to be a pilot. But my mother said no so I have to be a doctor. I don’t have an opinion about my life. It’s all about your parents, the community. And I will work on that, actually. Like, through doing some dialogue groups.” —Zainab Al-Hilfi, 16.
“Here’s the thing: not all Iraqis are Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslims. And not all Muslims are terrorists.” —Awab Abdulhadi Majid, 15.
This article, written by Roxanne Scott, was reposted from WFPL News.
November 15 – 23, 2019
OPEN WORLD DELEGATION
Project: Investigative Journalism
No. of Visitors: 5
Details coming soon…
March 22 – 30, 2019
OPEN WORLD DELEGATION
Project: Monitoring Human Rights Court Cases
No. of Visitors: 5
World Affairs Council will be hosting five Russian journalists who monitor human rights in Russia. The delegation will be in Louisville from March 22 – 30th to meet with their counterparts in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to explore human rights cases, practices used by journalists to cover human rights court cases, and transparency in government – particularly the judicial branch. WAC is currently seeking host families for this delegation of young professionals. Please contact [email protected] to inquire about hosting the group in your home or meeting with them on a professional level.
March 21 – 26, 2019
Countries: Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Iraq, Israel, Macedonia, Poland, & Tunisia
Project: Rule of Law and Judicial Reform
No. of Visitors: 8
Details coming soon…
March 20 – 26, 2019
Countries: Armenia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lebanon, South Africa, and Sudan
Project: Youth and Civic Engagement
No. of Visitors: 6
|Themes in Louisville:|
WAC is seeking volunteers to host these visitors in their home over a meal! Dates could be: March 21, 22 or 25th. Please contact [email protected] for details!
This delegation will be in Louisville under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
March 9 – 13, 2019
Country: Iraq (Kurdish)
Project: Religious and Public Curriculum Development
No. of Visitors: 10
WAC is hosting a delegation of 10 Kurdish education officials, journalists, and educators from Iraq on a “Religious and Public Curriculum Development” project under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and in partnership with Cultural Vistas. Delegates will meet with their peers in the Kentuckiana region to discuss curriculum development, explore and tour educational institutions of various local religious (Catholic, Islamic, and Jewish), and meet with Kentucky education officials to understand how the state ensures that private/religious institutions adhere to Kentucky laws and standards of education.
Still seeking home hospitality dinner hosts! Learn more!
2500 Montgomery St., Suite 6
Louisville, KY 40212
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