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August 2022


Expand Your World Today

In This Issue...

  • Quote of the Month
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen Exchange Alumni?
  • Community Events
  • International Opportunities
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Programs
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Past Newsletters

Quote of the Month:

"Through this program and the visit to Los Angeles, I discovered the kindness of the American people, the openness of mind and the ability to listen to others. This experience was very important to me both professionally and personally."

~ A Visitor from Morocco in May 2022, for the project 'Preserving Cultural Heritage'.

Sharing a Global Perspective

Defending Democracies

Calling the defense of democracy “the defining challenge of our time,” President Biden convened world leaders in the first-ever Summit for Democracy. The Summit last December kicked off a Year of Action plan to make democracies more responsive and resilient, and to build a broader community of partners committed to global democratic renewal. 

In partnership with USAID, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs implemented a special IVLP initiative to build on the December 2021 Summit for Democracy to engage global leaders on the three pillars of the Summit: 1) strengthening democracy; 2) advancing respect for human rights around the world; and 3) fighting global corruption. Leading up to the December 2022 in-person Summit, the IVLP participants will form professional relationships with their American counterparts and create action plans to bring about democratic reform in their home countries.

Last month, IVCLA welcomed eight of these municipal leaders from countries around the globe to Los Angeles. During their time here, the participants had the opportunity to meet with local leaders and organizations from Culver City, Pasadena and Los Angeles to learn about the steps they are taking to improve citizen engagement in, and knowledge of, government and the functions of democracy. Culver City Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee shared how Culver City is responding to concerns facing our democracy and how they are collaborating with other local governments and their global Sister Cities to better engage local communities in issues that affect us globally. During a luncheon with members of the Pasadena City Council, the group was able to hear from another local government about how they are working to improve community and constituent involvement. By increasing civic knowledge and engagement - especially in local elections, the democratic system is more likely to be successful, as elected leaders will better represent the diversity and ideologies of their communities. 

City-to-city relationships are a vital resource for democratic nations, as evidenced by the effects of city-lead initiatives in times of global crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Learning from the experiences of other city governments allows local governments in LA to set standards for our response to major global issues. During a meeting with the visitors, Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor of International Affairs, shared how Los Angeles is encouraging foreign investment and expanding global connections. These economic ties foster relationships between people and businesses that encourage our citizens to learn from and familiarize themselves with a global community. The group gained new methods for encouraging citizen diplomats to strengthen our international ties and our democracies.

The visitors LA program also included meetings with Community Partners, the LA County Women and Girls Initiative (WGI) and The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. These meetings gave them new connections to local governments and institutions that have dedicated themselves to promoting a more equal and just world. The dialogue created between visitors and speakers alike gave way to future working relationships and new strategies for strengthening our democracies. 

Dwayne Gathers, President of Gathers Strategies and former IVCLA Board Chair, recently celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of his podcast CivitasLA. He began the podcast in an effort to build civic participation by highlighting the work of civic leaders throughout Greater Los Angeles. IVCLA was honored to have CivitasLA kick-off their 3rd year with a global perspective on civic engagement featuring two of IVCLA’s Summit for Democracy participants, Mr. Chirstian Hueble from Mannheim, Germany and Mayor Josefina Belmonte from Quezon City, Philippines.

Listen to podcast Ep #72 here: Global Community | A Conversation with Mr. Christian Huebel (City of Mannheim, Germany) & Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte (Quezon City, Philippines) – CivitasLA

Listen to podcast Ep #13 here: Building Global Community through Citizen Diplomacy | Janet Elliott, President & CEO, International Visitors Council of Los Angeles – CivitasLA

The Passing of Pasadena Councilman John J. Kennedy

It is with great sorrow that we share the news of the sudden passing of City of Pasadena District 3 Councilmember John J. Kennedy on July 21, 2022.

Councilman Kennedy was a longtime friend of IVCLA and an outstanding Citizen Diplomat who embodied IVCLA's vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world through citizen diplomacy.

Our condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. Read the City of Pasadena's statement on his passing here

Protecting Students from Infectious Diseases

Pictured: Dr. Smita Malhotra (front right) and Sosse Bedrossian (front, second from left) with visitors from Africa after their meeting to discuss Combating Infectious Disease in schools

IVCLA’s newest intern, Taline Nahapetian, joined a recent meeting between International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants from Africa and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). As a high school student, the meeting offered Taline a unique opportunity to interact with the visitors from Africa and to learn about the intricacies of school administration and how they work to contain infectious diseases. Read Taline’s article on the meeting below.


By Taline Nahapetian


IVCLA arranged an informative, innovative, and enlightening meeting with the Los Angeles Unified School District concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and how to combat infectious diseases in the public school system. This particular group, from different regions across the African continent, was allowed to understand, question, and further develop ways to combat diseases in their respective countries. The African group was given important information on implementing policies to contain infectious diseases in schools and increase vaccination education and distribution for all students. 


Dr. Smita Malhotra, one of the panelists for the meeting and a parent of a LAUSD student, is a licensed pediatrician recruited mid-pandemic to work as the Medical Director of the LAUSD. She provided a didactic presentation with empirical information, highlighting the district’s most effective measures to fight the pandemic and protect students. Similarly, Sosse Bedrossian, the Director of District Nursing Services, provided quantitative evidence for vaccine efficacy and outlined other effective methods to guarantee students' health within the LAUSD system like quarantining when necessary, food regulation, and education. Throughout the meeting, both parties offered enlightening information that benefited the visitors and the populations they serve. 


The panelists at this meeting shared their methods for combating the Covid-19 pandemic and other communicable diseases and gave insight into their personal experiences. IVCLA created an environment where the visitors could ask questions and receive responses, allowing both parties to learn from one another. As reflected by the goals of IVCLA, fostering an environment in which individuals across the globe can develop positive relationships and communicate, is the path to worldwide success. 

Host an Emerging Leader from Poland for an Overnight Homestay!

Help us welcome our first ever Polish Open World group to Los Angeles! These six participants of the Congressionally sponsored Open World Program will have the unique opportunity of staying in an American home during their week in L.A., and you will have the chance to show them a glimpse of life as an Angeleno while you learn about Polish culture! 

The visitors are available for overnight homestays the week of September 16 - 23. Each weekday they will be picked up for their professional meetings and return in the evening to enjoy time with their hosts. You may host for the entire week, just a weekend, or a few nights. Please contact Eleanor Alberg at [email protected] or 213-388-1428 x 26 if you are interested in hosting or learning more. This is a fantastic opportunity to get to know someone from another part of the world and build a lasting friendship!

Are you a U.S. Citizen Exchange Alumni?

Did You Participate in a U.S. Government-sponsored Exchange Program?


The Office of Alumni Affairs at the U.S. Department of State is developing new opportunities for U.S. citizens who participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. IVCLA is assisting by reaching out to our Greater Los Angeles alumni. If you are a past participant in a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program contact Ellie Alberg, [email protected].

The exchange programs include, but are not limited to, these offered by the ECA Bureau. Returned Peace Corps volunteers and Boren Fellows are also qualified alumni. Whether you participated long ago or you recently completed your exchange program, we will keep you informed of opportunities such as events, programs and grants.

Career Connections Seminars:

Global Ties, U.S. and the U.S. Department of State are thrilled to announce that in-person Career Connections events for U.S. citizen exchange alumni are returning this summer. Save these dates and join them for events with Global Ties Albuquerque and WorldBoston.

  • A Career Connections Seminar will take place September 16-18 in Albuquerque, NM. The event is designed to provide U.S. citizen Exchange Alumni with skills, resources, and ideas to grow professionally through interactive workshops on team building, mentorship, and persuasive communications, to panels on inclusive programming, international business, and more. If you or someone you know would like to attend, click to learn more.

  • The third and final in-person event of 2022 will take place in Boston, MA from October 15-16. Registration for this event is not yet open.
Community Events

The series 55 Voices for Democracy is inspired by the 55 BBC radio addresses Thomas Mann delivered from his home in California to thousands of listeners in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and the occupied Netherlands and Czechoslovakia between October 1940 and November 1945. In his monthly addresses, Mann spoke out strongly against fascism, becoming the most significant German defender of democracy in exile. Building on that legacy, the series brings together internationally esteemed intellectuals, scientists, and artists to present ideas for the renewal of democracy in our own troubled times.

Watch Series Here

The 28th Sarajevo Film Festival will offer an exciting lineup of new films in August, including the Ukrainian powerhouse Klondike, directed by Maryna Er Gorbach, which SEEfest premiered in Los Angeles in May following its world premiere at Sundance in January, where it won the directing award. Among other festival highlights are two Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Awards to be presented to Sergei Loznitsa (Ukraine), and Paul Joseph Shrader (U.S.). 

The festival takes place from August 12 - 19, 2022

Learn More

Please join the Asia Society of Southern California on Thursday, August 11 for a conversation on community-building toward overcoming the U.S. divide with Consul General Akira Muto, President and CEO of the Urban League Michael Lawson, and the CEO of Global LA Debbie Adler as the panel explores how community-building can lead to a more prosperous and inclusive society.

Learn More

Racial Equity Alliance (REA) Ideas Competition


The Racial Equity Alliance (REA) at the XPRIZE Foundation is a coalition aimed at creating more equitable solutions to dismantle institutional and systemic structures of racial inequities with an intentional focus on the Black community. Using the power of collaboration and radical optimism, the REA incentivizes solutions in the form of impactful projects, initiatives, and competitions to positively impact individuals, communities, and society.


The XPRIZE Foundation officially launched the Racial Equity Alliance (REA) during the spring of 2022. This launch gives the REA a public facing platform to engage with diverse communities and stakeholders from around the United States who are actively seeking to create a more equitable society. For more information, please see the following videos:




REA is currently holding a $50,000 Ideas Competition presented by Intel focused on education. They are seeking new ideas from communities around the United States to reimagine what a more equitable education system could like. 


REA would like to know what works currently and what barriers exist which prevent us from having a more equitable education system. The top 10 ideas will win $5,000 each. Individuals over 18 can apply and all are welcome to share their ideas.  

The deadline to submit ideas is August 5, 2022

Here is the link to submit ideas: Apply Here

Stay Informed on COVID-19
As the world moves towards less stringent pandemic restrictions and more normal lifestyles, the information below remains valuable for tracking global problem areas. Being prudent and remembering COVID is still with us continues to be crucial in helping to prevent new variants from emerging. It is important to continue sharing knowledge, expertise, and goodwill throughout the world. We are stronger together!      
An informative, infographic global report of the COVID-19 data is HERE
Upcoming International Programs

The following are international guests of the U.S. government whose

professional appointments in Los Angeles will be arranged by the

International Visitors Council of Los Angeles


August 2 - 6: Women Entrepreneurship


Albania, Angola, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine

August 13 - 17: Transparency and Accountability in Government 


Egypt, Finland, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Republic of Kosovo, Lebanon, Moldova, Nigeria, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe

August 13 - 17: Anti-TIP Systems in the U.S.



August 18 - 23: Entrepreneurship as the Engine of Prosperity and Stability - Small Business Development


Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates

August 23 - 27: Role and Structure of Local Police and Community Policing in Criminal Justice Systems



August 30 - Sep 3: Lessons Learned from Base-Hosting Communities in the U.S.



IVCLA knows it is important to maintain our connections with our international visitors beyond their programs. As such, IVCLA continues to reach out to our international alumni. If you are an Alumni who would like to share your thoughts about your L.A. experience, or if you are an IVCLA member or resource who has stayed in touch with alumni and would like to share your experience, please contact Eleanor Alberg at [email protected].
Editor: Eleanor Alberg
Communications & Events Coordinator
Share your comments with me at [email protected]!
International Visitors Council of L.A.
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