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.