Fiji Journalists discuss press freedoms with St. Louis experts

Robert Patrick, reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, meets with journalists from Fiji at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis office Dec. 14, 2018.

Media professionals from Fiji were in St. Louis in mid-December to learn about the rights and responsibilities of a free press, part of a program developed by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

The visitors include the Deputy Managing Editor of the Fiji Sun; a  journalist/news presenter for Communications Fiji Limited; a teaching assistant from the Journalism School at the Universityof the South Pacific; the Desk Editor for the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation; a senior journalist for The Fiji Times; and multimedia journalist for Fiji TV.

During the three-day program organized by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, the group met with legal experts, journalists and educators:     

  • Mark Sableman, a partner at Thompson Coburnwho helps news media clients gather and publish news, and business clientsbuild their brands, and fight infringement and false advertising.
  • From the St. Louis American Newspaper, they met with Editorial Director Chris King
  • From St. Louis University, they met Dr. Dan Kozlowski, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator for St. Louis University’s Department of Communications. 
  • From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the group met with reporter Robert Patrick and photojournalist David Carson, who discussed the responsibilities of journalists and their experience covering major news events in St. Louis.
  • From Webster University, they met Larry Baden, Associate Professor and Program Facilitator – Media Law and Ethics

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.

Professionals from Nepal discover new techniques in cultural heritage preservation

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

    Visitors from Nepal gather at one of Missouri’s well-preserved historical sites, the Old Courthouse, on September 7th.

    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.

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!

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!

Home Hospitality Request!

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the International Visitor Leadership Program are looking for a host for a home hospitality dinner.

Hosting a home hospitality dinner entails picking up the visitors from their hotel, taking them to your home, serving them dinner, and then returning them to the hotel at the end of the evening.

In the upcoming weeks, IVLP has requested home hospitality visits for two groups.

The first group is from the Lake Chad Basin and is focusing on Community Relations and the Fight Against Terrorism in the US. Their home hospitality visit will be on May 31st, June 1st, or June 2nd.  The visitors are observing Ramadan, which means the host must be open to a later dinner time and the meal served must be halal. This group is made up of three interpreters and nine visitors. We are looking for three hosts available to host four visitors (1 interpreter and 3 International Visitors) on any of the previously mentioned nights. Please contact Elizabeth Hatfield if you are interested in hosting a home hospitality visit for this group.




The visitors:

Mr. Adam Adam Tchari – Director of Kadaye FM Radio

Mr. Hissein Dudoua Hamit – Chief Comander of the Mobile Intervention Police Group of the Ministry of National Security

Mr. Moussa Aniguey Khassim – Head of Civil Military Unit of the Chadian Army’s AntiTerrorism Group

Mr. Abdoul Aziz Abdoulaye Moussa – Police Inspector of the Niamey District V Police Station

Mr. Aboubakar Francois Bernazou – Police Commissioner of Niamey District V Police Station

Mr. Moctar Kio Abdou – Police Officer at the Niamey District V Police Station

Ms. Esther Abimiku Ibanga – Executive Director of Women without Walls Initiative

Mr. Wilson Iyamu – Deputy Superintendent of the Nigeria Police

Mr. Saleh Ibrahim Saad – Assistant Commissioner of Nigeria Police

Mr. Philippe Chamy – Simultaneous Interpreter

Mr. Zac Heyman – Simultaneous Interpreter

Ms. Christiane Metral – Administrative Interpreter


The second group is a group of seven visitors from Russia. This group is focused on Preventing Trafficking in Persons: Advocacy and Partnerships. Their home hospitality visit will be on June 4th or June 5th. We are looking for one host to host 4 visitors (1 interpreter and 3 international visitors) and a second host for 5 visitors (1 interpreter and 4 international visitors) on either of the previously listed nights. Please contact Elizabeth Hatfield if you are interested in hosting a home hospitality visit on the dates above.

The visitors:

Ms. Veronica Antimonik – Project Coordinator of Safehouse Foundation in Lyubertsy

Ms. Vladlena Avdeeva – Project Manager of Stellit in St. Petersburg

Ms. Svetlana Bazhenova – Founder and Director of Far-Eastern Center for Civil Initiatives and Social Partnerships in Vladivostok

Ms. Nurzida Bensgier – Chief Executive of Non-Commercial Partnership International Information Center Association in Yekaterinburg

Mrs. Elena Boliubakh – Chief Executive of Institute of Non-Discriminatory Gender Relations, Women’s Crisis Center in St. Petersburg

Mr. Oluremi Kekhinde – Head of Help Services for Nigerians in Russia in Moscow

Ms. Nadezhda Zamotaeva – Chief Executive of Sisters Charity Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Moscow

Ms. Mila Bonnichsen – Russian Language Interpreter

Mr. Raymond Krischchyunas – Russian Language Interpreter

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.


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.

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.