Following an orientation in Washington D.C., five Russian journalists traveled to St. Louis on March 22-30 to get a glimpse of the city’s journalistic tendencies and women’s rights. Their activities ranged from subjects such as ethical transparency in journalism, protection of women’s rights, and journalism and the #MeToo Movement. By meeting with local news outlets and officials, the group was able to engage with various parts of the journalistic process.
These international guests visited St. Louis through Open World, an exchange program that aims to provide options for depolarization between world leaders. More than 27,000 leaders have visited from post-Soviet era countries because of this program, leading to further cross-cultural understanding between countries with previously tense relations.
The delegation of five included Ms. Anna Sakharova (freelance journalist, Takie Dela (Such Things)), Ms. Darya Serenko (department head, Peresvetov Lane Gallery), Ms. Elina Ibragimova (Freelance Journalist), Ms. Galina Mosalova (creative producer, Takie Dela (Such Things)), and Ms. Sofya Shimanskaya (self-employed blogger). The group is accompanied by Ms. Polina Nozdrina-Plotnitskaya a bicultural facilitator, and Mrs. Irina Bronstein LaRose, a bilingual translator.
In St. Louis, delegates discussed best practices for transparency in journalism, protection of women’s rights, coverage of the #MeToo Movement, and the HIV crisis in Russia. Delegates planned to meet with staff of Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri, and local leaders in the St. Louis area. Additional activities include KWMU-St. Louis Public Radio, Washington University, St. Louis American newspaper, and other prominent organizations. The delegation stayed in the homes of local WAC members serving as hospitality hosts.
From March 13 to March 19, security professionals from various countries including Canada, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, and the Netherlands visited St. Louis to learn about policy safety measures for public events.
This three-day program, hosted by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, was highlighted by the visitors joining staff in the St. Louis Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center, during the downtown St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The visit, arranged by WAC-STL, featured the following legal and law enforcement professionals:
- Jimmy Edwards, Director of St. Louis Public Safety
- St. Louis Police Chief John W. Hayden, Jr.
- Security Director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Phil Melcher
- From the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board, Nicolle Barton
- Officer Greg Mueller and Officer Amber Gottschall, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
- From Saint Louis University Law School, they met Dr. Monica Eppinger, a former Foreign Service Officer
- Mr. Gary Christman from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
Among the noteworthy comments from the presenters, Dr. Eppinger prefaced her presentation with the observation, “the softest target for terrorism in the United States is the Constitution.”
The visit is part of the International Visitors Leadership Program, overseen by the U.S. State Department. In 2018, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted more the 150 visitors and provided an economic impact to the region of $453,719.
Have a specialty American dish you would love to showcase to those from foreign nations? Want to hear about life in Europe? Do you have a strong interest in media and journalism?
Ten media professionals from Europe are traveling to St. Louis to exchange with their American counterparts ways to foster a discerning audience of media consumers. The IVLP is requesting that this group be hosted by an American person, group or family for a home-made American dinner.
Busy schedule? We understand. Here is a choice of dates: Friday, October 19, Saturday, October 20 or Sunday, October 21.
The evening would entail picking up the visitors from The Moonrise Hotel in the the Delmar Loop, taking them to your home, providing dinner and then returning them to the hotel at the end of the evening, filled with joy from a lovely evening full of laughs and conversation.
Please fill out the form below if you are interested in this unique experience of hosting 2-3 of our English speaking visitors.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
Armenia –Mr. Daniel IOANNISYAN –Co-Founder and Programs Director, Union of Informed Citizens
Bulgaria- Mr. Lyubomir LYUBOMIROV- Reporter, Bulgarian News Agency
Hungary- Dr. Gabor POLYAK-Chairman, Mertek Media Monitor
Ireland- Ms. Stephanie COMEY- Senior Manager, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
Italy- Mr. Antonio FRASCHILLA –Editor, La Repubblica, Palermo Edition
Latvia- Ms. Renate LAZDINA- Director, Latgale Regional Studio, Latvian National Radio
Poland- Mr. Michal GIERSZ- Reporter, Polsat News TV
Slovenia- Ms. Barbara STRUKELJ- Editor‑in‑Chief, Slovenian Press Agency
United Kingdom- Mr. Adam DONALD- Broadcast Journalist, BBC News
UNESCO- Ms. Saorla MCCABE- Program Specialist, Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO
In 2016, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis was pleased to host the director of the Savannah Project in Zambia, Nkole Mwamba, through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Prior to Mwamba’s visit to St. Louis, his work with the Savannah Project was primarily focused on the addressing issues such as civil rights, environmental conservation, and education. With the use of his degree in Project Management and Business Management, Mwamba has collaborated alongside the U.S. Embassy to provide training in the financial literacy and entrepreneurship departments.
While in St. Louis with other IVLP participants, Mwamba met local experts in non-governmental organizations (NGO) and civic activism, including a meeting on fundraising with author Carol Weisman, a professional meeting with UM-St. Louis’ academic coordination and community engagement manager, Daniel Sise, and various cultural activities.
After his visit in St. Louis through the IVLP, Mwamba continued his work with the Savannah Project, developing a new initiative called “Communities of Influence.” This initiative integrates knowledge of many topics including healthcare and environment to solve issues in Zambia.
In an article posted on Global Ties website months after his visit to St. Louis, Mwamba writes, “many communities will benefit and many lives will be touched in Zambia through the Savannah Project’s Communities of Influence just as I have been influenced by the IVLP and my American counterparts.”
Just as Mwamba’s experience changed many lives in Zambia, Mwamba exchanged his expertise with those individuals he met in St. Louis.
Individuals specializing in archaeology and culture from Nepal met with cultural preservation specialists and visited some of the St. Louis area’s preserved historic sites in the past week. While participating in this program the visitors had the opportunity to meet with:
- Dan Krasnoff- Director of the Cultural Resources Office of St. Louis city
- Bill Iseminger- Assistant Site Manager at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
- Riley Price- Administrator for the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation
- Susie Cobbledick- Book Conservator at Missouri
Botanical Garden Library
While in St. Louis,the group visited the Cahokia Mounds, the Old Courthouse, and Missouri Botanical Garden for various meetings. They also experienced home hospitality in various homes in the St. Louis area as well as a trip to the Gateway Arch.
About the International Visitors Leadership Program
The U.S. State Department annually brings about 4,000 “high-potential” middle managers from around the world for a three week program to the United States. They are selected by U.S. Embassies abroad and represent all disciplines, i.e., business entrepreneurs, academics, journalism, law enforcement, medicine, engineering, agriculture and government. During their first week they are introduced to the workings of Washington, D.C.; then they exchange ideas, practices and challenges with their selected professional U.S. counterparts in two or three locations across the States for 2-3 days each.
The World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosts about 250 of these foreign citizen ambassadors in groups of one to 15 per year. Among IVLP’s alumni are 192 current and former heads of state including former Prime Minister Tony Blair of England, former President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, and the late President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.
The IVLP allows the visitors to see grassroots America at work, in schools and in the community. The American host has an unequaled opportunity to enrich his/her knowledge of the visitor’s homeland, form a new friendship and to continue exchanging ideas even after the visit is concluded.
Social media journalists from the United Kingdom learn about aspects of the America Experience in a visit to St. Louis in early August. Part of a program with the U.S. Embassy in London,the nine visitors met with:
- Lt. Col. Gerald Leyshock, South Patrol – Deputy Chief in the St. Louis Police Department
- Faizan Syed, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islam Relations-Missouri (CAIR)
- Aaron Holdmeyer, Videographer, Midwest Center for Media Literacy
Other destinations for the group in the U.S. included Washington, DC and San Diego. More than 170 international visitors attend programs arranged each year by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.
Seeking to learn more about the topic of GMOs and Humanitarian Aid, a delegation of high level health, agriculture and policy experts from Sudan visited the World Affairs Council of St. Louis July 12-14. During their visit, the delegation met with experts on the topic from the US Agency for International Development, Monsanto, Kansas State University’s Department of Agriculture and the National Corn Growers Association.
Mr. Ismail Ahmed Elkamesh Ismail, Director, Environmental Health and Food Control Administration
Mr. Asim Fadl Abu Sarra Ahmed, Executive Director, National Biosafety Council
Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Adammahmoud,Commissioner, Humanitarian Aid Commission
Mr. Awad Mohamed Ahmed Sokrab, Director General, Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organization
Ms. Tahani Yousif Elagib Omar, Director, Biotechnology and Biosafety Research Center
The visit was part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. The U.S. State Department annually brings about 4,000 “high-potential” middle managers from around the world for a three week program to the United States.
They are selected by U.S. Embassies abroad and represent all disciplines, i.e., business entrepreneurs, academics, journalism, law enforcement, medicine, engineering, agriculture and government. During their first week they are introduced to the workings of Washington, D.C.; then they exchange ideas, practices and challenges with their selected professional U.S. counterparts in two or three locations across the States for 2-3 days each.
The World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosts about 250 of these foreign citizen ambassadors in groups of one to fifteen per year. Among IVLP’s alumni are 192 current and former heads of state including former Prime Minister Tony Blair of England, former President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, and the late President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.
The IVLP allows the visitors to see grassroots America at work, in schools and in the community. The American host has an unequaled opportunity to enrich his/her knowledge of the visitor’s homeland, form a new friendship and to continue exchanging ideas even after the visit is concluded
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.
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.