World Affairs Council of St. Louis Hosts Visitors from Latin America

Focusing on combating international crime, from April 25 to 27, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted 7 visitors from several Latin American countries, including Argentina, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Peru, through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

These visitors were a diverse group of individuals whose professions were varied in relation to fighting transnational and organized crime. The group was in Saint Louis to learn more about moving toward a more safe and secure world, and their meetings ranged from a Federal Bureau of Investigation employee’s discussion about Latin American gangs to learning about a unique case pertaining to money laundering from St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Robert Patrick.

The visitors were able to discuss the improvements in communications between Latin American countries and United States agencies. The FBI employee highlighted the success stories of the Transnational Anti-Gang Task Force, which provides technical expertise, training, and specialized equipment to vetted teams in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Robert Patrick, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shared information about the money laundering investigation linked to Venezuelan nationals Hjalmar Gibelli-Gomez and Fabrizio Della Polla De-Simone.  In addition, the group spent quite a bit of time discussing in detail the confidentiality of sources and their roles.

Our visitors had the opportunity to ask questions about the case and how Saint Louis officials handled the publicity of this national story.

This group also met with Professor Leila Sadat, a human rights expert from Washington University, who teaches her students topics such as Intellectual Property & Technology Law and U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers. Nicole Dawsey, the Executive Director for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, also met with the group and spoke with them about NCADA’s impact on youth and prevention strategies for substance abuse.

Other speakers that the group had an opportunity to meet included an employee from the Bureau of Drug Enforcement and an employee from The Drug Enforcement Agency-St. Louis Division.  The group’s next stop is New York.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. The mission of the IVLP is to advance U.S. foreign policy goals by providing firsthand knowledge of the society, culture, political system, and economy of the United States while cultivating professional relationships and networks.

Program Spotlight: International Visitor Leadership program

One of WAC-STL’s most valuable programs is the International Visitor Leadership Program. This program provides the opportunity for St. Louis to host emerging leaders from over 160 countries for brief educational stays focusing on a range of topics. The goal of the program is to allow International Visitors to experience some of the wide diversity represented in the US and learn about elements of US culture, public service, and government.

In late April, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis will be hosting two international groups through the International Visitor Leadership Program.  The first consists of 9 visitors from Ethiopia coming to St. Louis to learn more about different University Journalism Programs.  This group will have the opportunity to visit the University of Missouri School of Journalism as well as a few local university journalism programs.  The visitors will be able to hear about the best practices American universities implement when teaching journalism to students.

The second group consists of 7 visitors from several different countries in Latin America coming to St. Louis to learn more about how local law enforcement work together to prevent and combat different types of transnational crime.  All the visitors are involved in either the legal/criminal justice sector in their respective countries and are interested in hearing about different strategies that have been applied in the fight against money laundering and drug trafficking.  The group will be able to meet with the St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Drug Enforcement, the St. Louis FBI, as well as other resources.

WAC-STL is excited to host these visitors and provide them with the opportunity to learn about Journalism in Missouri and different strategies that have been applied to fight against transnational crime. Learn more about our IVLP.

World Affairs Council of St. Louis Hosts Visitors from Japan

From March 7 to March 13, 2018 the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted 4 visitors from Japan, which included judges and psychologists, through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).  The group was in St. Louis to learn more about The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction as well as the psychological effect Hague cases have on children.  The visitors were able to meet with several lawyers and judges experienced in dealing with cases regarding the Convention.  They were also able to meet with child psychologists whose techniques have helped children who have been through traumatic or extremely stressful experiences.

Additionally, the visitors were able to experience an American home-cooked meal during their time in St. Louis.  Local families hosted the visitors for dinner on Saturday night and really enjoyed the experience.  These dinners with are a great way for international visitors to experience the patented “Midwest Hospitality” St. Louis provides.  Overall, the group’s visit to St. Louis was a successful one.  Not only did the visitors appreciate everything set up for them in St. Louis, they were all a pleasure to be around.  The group left St. Louis on March 13 and will finish the rest of their program in Denver, Colorado.

This visit was made possible through the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as well as Global Ties U.S.