June 2018 IVLP Update

This month your WAC-STL has hosted three IVLP groups learning about a wide variety of topics. In the first week of June, we had two groups, one from Russia and one from the Lake Chad Basin in Africa. This week, a group from Tajikistan and a group from China finished up their visit in St. Louis.

The group from Russia was focused on Preventing Trafficking in Persons: Partnerships, Sustainability, and Advocacy. Highlights of their visit included a conversation with Whitney Howland from the International Institute of St. Louis on engaging foreign-born communities in anti-trafficking efforts, visiting the Arch, and home hospitality visits with two community members.

Our visitors from the Lake Chad Basin in Africa met with organizations and departments in St. Louis to discuss the role of Community Relations in the Fight Against Terrorism. The visitors said they especially enjoyed the meetings with Dr. John Doggette and Karen Kalish. The group was able to visit the Arch, which they really enjoyed.

The visitors from Tajikistan were focused on Media Management in a Digital Era. They toured St. Louis Public Radio and learned about Journalism Education at Mizzou. Cultural highlights included an excellent home hospitality visit.

The group from China also learned about Media management, with a focus on New and Traditional American Media in the Digital Age. The group listened to Robert Patrick from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, had a great conversation with the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, and talked with professors and faculty at Mizzou’s School of Journalism. The group was excited to attend a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium! This exchange also touched some of the presenters from St. Louis, check out a blog post about presenting to the visitors here!

Novus Corporate Breakfast: Facts on Food

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Over 30 community members attended the Corporate Breakfast hosted by WACSTL and Novus this morning. The breakfast of bagels and coffee was followed by an engaging presentation by the President and CEO of Novus, François Fraudeau.  Visitors were able to ask questions after the presentation, leading to more specific answers on topics like food dye, food packaging and health concerns related to food sources.

Novus focuses on the triple S Bottom Line, which stands for Solutions, Service, and Sustainability. Novus works on finding solutions to existing industry issues, providing excellent customer service, and working towards the ultimate goal of providing the world with affordable and wholesome food.

Attendees had the opportunity to tour the facility, everyone was impressed by the modern designs. The office space was a great example of innovation, with clear examples of work towards creating an efficient and welcoming environment for employees.

Preventing Trafficking in Persons: Advocacy, Partnerships, and Sustainability

This past week, WAC-STL hosted seven visitors from Russia and two interpreters through the International Visitors Leadership Program. The visitors were from all over Russia, and most of their work deals with the prevention of trafficking in persons. While in St. Louis, they met with Washington University’s Human Trafficking Collaborative Network, the St. Louis County Police Special Investigations Unit, the Child Protection Department of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, a representative from the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes Jewish College, The Covering House, Healing Action Network, Gateway Human Trafficking, and a representative of the St. Louis Rescue and Restore Coalition from the International Institute of St. Louis.

The first meeting was with a wide variety of St. Louis focused resources that work to prevent human trafficking and really offered a wider picture of human trafficking in St. Louis. During their meeting with Healing Action Network, the group discussed the merits of peer to peer work with victims of human trafficking and the importance of collaboration with law enforcement. The meeting with the St. Louis Rescue and Restore Coalition highlighted the importance of building trust in foreign-born communities as the first step to preventing human trafficking in those communities. The meetings all concluded with engaging questions and dialogue.

The visit was made possible through the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Meridian International. WACSTL hosts more than 150 visitors a year through IVLP, offering a wide range of local and global exchange on a diverse range of issues. If you are interested in supporting WACSTL’s work with IVLP as a volunteer or in other capacities, consider becoming a member!

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.

Great Decisions Sparks Further Thought and Conversation

Dr. Ellen Carnaghan discussing her findings while studying the Russian election.

The Great Decisions Lecture Series of 2018 is meant to further conversations on important topics related to global issues. In the recent lecture by Dr. Ellen Carnaghan of Saint Louis University, St. Louis community members participated in critical thinking about not only Russia’s Foreign Policy but also the involvement of the United States in that foreign policy.

In the Webster-Kirkwood Times, the relevance of this topic on a local scale is discussed by Don Corrigan. His article on the American’s waning wariness of Russia brings a globally focused topic back to St. Louis in a way that encourages community members to think about their actions, involvement, and attitudes towards both Russia and their local politics.

As the goal of Great Decisions Lecture Series is “inspiring learning about the world”, the local engagement of citizens in global issues as a result of conversations about Great Decisions topics is the epitome of inspired learning.

UMSL Professor: Despite South Africa’s challenges, reasons for optimism

Despite the challenges South Africa now faces, “I would much rather the country be where it is now than where it was 20 years ago said,” Jean-Germain Gros, professor at UM-St. Louis.

Speaking at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’ Great Decision Series on April 19, Professor Gros noted the challenges facing that country:

  • Corruption to the point where the country is in peril of “state capture,” where elites essentially are in charge.
  • Economic inequality, not along racial lines but to the extent that a middle class, considered by most to be necessary for democracy, no longer exists.
  • Political challenges: “The ANC was defined by its opposition to white rule, and had to operate in secrecy,” Professor Gros said.  “That was fine when it was a revolutionary party.  Unfortunately, it continues to govern like a revolutionary party; people are chosen not through primaries but by what the  high political officials have decided.”  He noted “what you have in the ANC is loyalty and zeal, but not competence or clean dealing. The ANC continues to function as a clandestine party.”
  • Urban/Rural divisions, where the ANC is losing support in urban areas but strong in rural areas. “South Africa may be about to be split between the two,” he noted.

Despite the challenges, Professor Gros said he is “fairly optimistic in spite of these challenges that South Africa is not about to backslide.”  He credits a free and vibrant press, energetic debates in Parliament and a fiercely independent judiciary.”

As a global stage, Professor Gros noted South Africa, and all of Africa, are seeing a huge influx of Chinese capital and labor, with the U.S. barely being present.  “The U.S. will provide assistance, but with many strings attached.”  Meanwhile, Chinese workers and investors are very visible and engaged.

The next presentation in WAC-STL’s Great Decisions Lecture Series is focused on Global Health: Progress and Challenges presented by Dr. Matthew Gabel of Washington University in St. Louis. The final Great Decisions Lecture is on Wednesday, April 25th.  Mark your calendars!

Great Decisions: Global Health Progress and Challenges

The final event of this 8 part series sponsored by UM-St. Louis is on Wednesday, April 25th at the Ethical Society of St. Louis.  The topic is: Global Health: Progress and Challenges

The schedule for this event is:

12:00 Noon to 12:15 PM: Introduction of moderator and showing of portions of the FPA Video for the topic being discussed.
12:15 PM to 12:45 PM: Remarks by the moderator
12:45 PM to 1:15 PM: Q&A followed by a brief summation

Light refreshments, consisting of coffee and cookies, will be available to all participants in the meeting room at no charge.

Parking is free and convenient, located in the rear of the building on the north side. The parking lot is accessible from Clayton Road.

 

Great Decisions: South Africa’s Fragile Democracy

The seventh event for this 8 part series sponsored by the University of Missouri at St. Louis at the Ethical Society is on Thursday, April 19th.  The topic is: South Africa’s Fragile Democracy

The schedule for this event is:

12:00 Noon to 12:15 PM: Introduction of moderator and showing of portions of the FPA Video for the topic being discussed.
12:15 PM to 12:45 PM: Remarks by the moderator
12:45 PM to 1:15 PM: Q&A followed by a brief summation

Light refreshments, consisting of coffee and cookies, will be available to all participants in the meeting room at no charge.

Parking is free and convenient, located in the rear of the building on the north side. The parking lot is accessible from Clayton Road.

Great Decisions: U.S. Global Engagement and the Military

The sixth event for this 8 part series sponsored by UM-St. Louis is on Thursday, April 12th at the Ethical Society.  The topic is: U.S. Global Engagement and the Military

The schedule for this event is:

12:00 Noon to 12:15 PM: Introduction of moderator and showing of portions of the FPA Video for the topic being discussed.
12:15 PM to 12:45 PM: Remarks by the moderator
12:45 PM to 1:15 PM: Q&A followed by a brief summation

Light refreshments, consisting of coffee and cookies, will be available to all participants in the meeting room at no charge.

Parking is free and convenient, located in the rear of the building on the north side. The parking lot is accessible from Clayton Road.

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.