Career Foreign Service Officer reflects on work in Africa, Caribbean

As a career foreign service officer, Regina Dennis-Nana was often the person on duty at the embassy when Americans traveled to the Caribbean and Africa.

Her perspective on the importance of the State Department and diplomacy was practical and impassioned, especially when describing the role of the U.S. embassy when earthquakes struck Haiti in 2010.  By having built relationships over time in the country, she was able to find and work effectively with a wide range of colleagues in a chaotic, frantic time.

The presentation also included “The State of the State Department”, a video produced by the Foreign Policy Association.  The message: During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?

Great Decisions is presented every Thursday at the St. Louis Ethical Society and on April 4 at Venture Cafe.  It is made possible through UMSL’s International Studies program.

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!