IVLP Visitors: Protecting Against Terror Attacks

Meeting with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John. W. Hayden, Jr. (center in uniform) and Director of Public Safety Hon. Jimmie Edwards (at right)

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.”

St. Louis Cardinals Director of Security Phil Melcher (top center), meets with the group at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis office.

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.

IVLP Home Hospitality Request!

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?

If you said YES to any of those questions you need to host home hospitality! 

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.


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


IVLP Alumni in the Spotlight

Nkole Mwamba with his IVLP colleagues while visiting The Gateway Arch in March 2016.

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.

WAC-STL hosts international group focused on Combating Gender-Based Violence

To aid in the international campaign against Gender-Based Violence, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted seven visitors from the country of Georgia May 6-9. The delegation included two language interpreters and five individuals with careers in national and local law enforcement and NGOs, all concentrating their time in the U.S. upon Combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The group arrived in Saint Louis looking to learn more about:

  • the impact of legislation on Domestic Violence,
  • Specialized Police and Courts roles in these topics and
  • NGO activity in the legal sphere of GBV.

During their time here, they met with various governmental department heads and leaders of organizations.  On Monday, May 7, the group’s meetings focused on law enforcement and legal rulings pertaining to domestic violence cases. They observed Judges presiding over their domestic abuse court cases in St. Louis County.

After meeting with several circuit judges, they finished the day meeting with a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Detective from the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART).

On May 8, the meetings focused more on policy and service aspects of domestic violence. The group met with an attorney from the Legal Advocates for Abused Women (LAAW), the only domestic violence program partnering with law enforcement and criminal court systems.

Next, they met with the Public Policy Director of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) who discussed efforts and challenges in lobbying for legislation related to victims of abuse. They concluded the day by meeting with a manager from Provident, INC. an organization providing therapy services to families and individuals suffering from abuse, as well as those who have, themselves, committed domestic violence.

The group on May 9 continued their trip to Boston, Massachusetts, where they spent two more days meeting with leaders of current local efforts to combating GBV and exploring various prevention and education programs within the city.

This visit was made possible through the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as well as Global Ties U.S.    The World Affairs Council of St. Louis annually hosts more than 150 visitors through the program, providing an important link between local experts on important global issues and countries where deeper knowledge on those issues is important.


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.