Expand Your World Today!

February 2023

Facebook  Instagram  Linkedin

Creating international connections

Cultivating local innovation

Activating global potential


Impact Report

Become a Member


In this Issue...

  • Quote of the Month
  • Photo of the Month
  • Save the Date #IWOC Luncheon 2023
  • Dr. Amarjit Marwah's 97th Birthday Celebration
  • Dedication of Tom LaBonge Memorial Forest
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Black History Month
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen Exchange Alumni?
  • Community Events
  • International Opportunities
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Programs

Click the button below to check out our past newsletters:

Past Newsletters

Follow our link and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to ICDLA!

Quote of the Month

“I have read and heard a lot about the U.S. but living for 3 weeks in the most democratic country in the world was a completely different experience. During my visit I learned a lot about the American way of living as well as the many opportunities that the U.S. offers.”

~ A visitor from Albania in September 2022, for the project 'U.S. Approaches to Climate Challenges'

Photo of the Month

Our visitors from Morocco met a fellow Moroccan studying at UCLA while visiting for their program on 'Women in STEAM Entrepreneurship'

Save the Date #IWOC Luncheon 2023

Save the Date for ICDLA’s 2023 Perseverance Through Adversity Luncheon on March 16th. The luncheon will be in honor of the 2023 International Women of Courage Award  recipients. The annual award, given by the U.S. Secretary of State, recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage while advocating for peace, human rights, women's empowerment and more. Often at great personal risk, these amazing women have dedicated their lives to making our world a better place. The luncheon will include a panel discussion with several of the #IWOC recipients.

Details about the luncheon and the awardees will be coming soon.

Dr. Amarjit Marwah's 97th Birthday Celebration

Dr. Amarjit Marwah with ICDLA President Janet Elliott and ICDLA member SeElcy Caldwell

ICDLA President Janet Elliott and member SeElcy Caldwell joined in a celebration for Dr. Amarjit Marwah’s 97th birthday at the Hollywood Sikh Temple. Dr. Marwah was a key figure in establishing the temple in 1969, which was the first Sikh temple in the United States. Dr. Marwah serves as an ICDLA Advisory Board Member and each year he hosts our Fulbright Luncheon to honor international Fulbright students. He himself was a Fulbright student from India in 1950. He is renowned for his generosity and kindness, not only throughout Los Angeles, but in his home country of India. He has done countless projects there, which include building schools, providing scholarships and helping the needy. The well-wishers who joined his birthday celebration brought warm thoughts for an amazing individual who continues to have a huge impact in Los Angeles and the world.

Dedication of Tom LaBonge Memorial Forest

In recognition of the second anniversary of former L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge’s unexpected death on January 7, 2021 a native plant forest in Griffith Park was dedicated in his memory. Last month hikers, including former Mayor Eric Garcetti and Parks Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Ramsay, gathered at the top of Mt. Hollywood Park to dedicate the Tom LaBonge Memorial Forest. Tom, who was always eager to share his beloved Griffith Park with visitors from around the world, was an avid supporter of the Los Angeles Sister Cities as well as the work of ICDLA. For many years he organized an annual summer solstice hike from the Griffith Observatory to the top of Mt. Hollywood with members of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, Sister Cities, ICDLA and other civic leaders. The new Tom LaBonge Memorial Forest is about a one-mile hike from the Griffith Observatory with spectacular views of the city Tom loved so much. The planting of the native shrubbery and trees was a project of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation.

Sharing a Global Perspective

STEAM and Sustainability

Visitors from Morocco in front of the living wall at LACI with speakers Brenda Solorio (second from right) and Jorge R. Adame (third from right), and ICDLA Program Officer Victoria Meza (fourth from left)

“I was delighted to know that Los Angeles and the United States are addressing climate change and creating sustainable initiatives, this is not the image we often see of the U.S.,” a recent visitor from Morocco remarked during a meeting with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office. Five participants were visiting Los Angeles for a program on Women in STEAM Entrepreneurship with a focus on sustainability and the climate crisis. While here they met with many organizations in various STEAM fields, including UCLA Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, UCLA School of Law, Caltech, Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator (LACI).

On their last day in L.A. the participants met with representatives from the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, Victoria Simon and Benjamin Weinger, and Rob Fisher from the Office of Economic Policy. The group discussed Los Angeles’s Green New Deal and how their public and private partnerships have helped advance sustainability initiatives. L.A. is a leader in climate initiatives due to the strong impact of climate change in Southern California. Because we experience the damaging effects of record heat waves, destructive fires, and poor air quality, it creates a greater sense of urgency.

Despite L.A.'s rigorous climate policies and goals, our use of plastic bags came as a shock to the Moroccan participants. "Nowhere in Morocco uses plastic bags anymore; everything is reusable or paper.” The speakers conceded this is an area that is a bit embarrassing in the U.S. “We like convenience,” Victoria Simon said. It is difficult to pass policies to remove certain conveniences from the marketplace, even if they are known to be harmful to the environment. Although there is a charge for plastic bags, it hasn't made a big impact to deter their use. Policymakers actually have the added burden of finding alternative solutions that are just as convenient as the harmful options.

One of the ways L.A. tackles this hurdle, is through their public/private partnerships. Speaker Rob Fisher shared how international collaborations have helped them create the new LAX Automated People Mover train, a project funded with the help of various European investors. The train will remove the necessity for multiple buses to transport passengers to parking structures, car rental services, and public transit, and is significantly better for the environment. This was just one example of how international exchange and collaboration have been a critical part of L.A.’s sustainability initiatives and the global fight against climate change. As one visitor remarked, "it is great to see many nations working together towards a more sustainable and equitable future.”

Following the meeting the visitors expressed their gratitude for the in-depth explanation of L.A.’s initiatives which could be useful for their work in Morocco. As a parting gift, the visitors gave the speakers a door knocker which was a replica of those on government buildings in Marrakesh. “Much like a key to the city we wanted to give you this to represent our connection and future collaborations.” 

A Thousand Splendid Suns Performance


Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini

Music by Sheila Silver; Libretto by Stephen Kitsakos

Directed by Roya Sadat


Afghan Filmmaker and International Women of Courage Award Alumna, Roya Sadat, is directing a new opera, A Thousand Splendid Suns, set for a world premiere at the Seattle Opera on February 25, 2023. ICDLA had the honor of Roya’s participation as a panelist, with three of her fellow IWOC alumni, at our International Women of Courage (IWOC) Alumni Luncheon in May of 2022. Roya is one of Afghanistan’s first female film directors and she has garnered more than 20 international film awards, including the 2021 Kim Dae-jung Nobel Peace Film Award. With her most recent endeavor, Roya is bringing her internationally acclaimed directorial expertise, to the stage.

Beauty. Sacrifice. Resilience. Set against Afghanistan’s volatile history, this new opera tells the breathtaking story of Mariam and Laila, two Afghan women. Brought together under the brutal Taliban rule, the bond between Laila and Mariam leads to unthinkable sacrifices and ultimately, one family’s survival. Based on Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel, this story has captured the hearts of millions including American composer Sheila Silver and librettist Stephen Kitsakos who adapted the novel for the opera stage.


Roya shared her personal connection to the opera, “The locations in this novel are near to my heart; I grew up in Herat and live in the Kabul neighborhood where the protagonists, Mariam and Laila, lives intersect. Afghanistan’s women have shown strength and resilience in the face of war and an ever-changing political environment. There has never been a more important time for this story to be taking the stage and shared with American audiences." (Roya Sadat)


Read more about the performance and Roya’s outlook as a director HERE.

February 25 & 26, 2023

March 3, 5, 8 & 11, 2023

Get Tickets

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. This month we acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions, cultures, and lived experiences of the Black community in the United States. Global dialogue and exchange are an important part of the fight for social justice and racial equality. Critical to our global relationships are the diplomats serving as representatives for the U.S. around the globe. Check out this timeline of 100 years of Black diplomats in America.

For events and cultural activities going on throughout the month in Los Angeles, visit Discover Los Angeles.

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. ICDLA 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.

Community Events

Join Oakwood Secondary School as they bring together leading human rights activists from around the world who are working toward achieving GENDER EQUALITY.

Oakwood students and faculty have partnered to bring human rights activists from around the world together for their inaugural Gender Justice Summit. With a focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #5; to achieve Gender Equality, this landmark event features speakers working on international issues of girls’ access to education, menstrual and reproductive rights, and understanding how gender-based violence affects transgender individuals.

Breakout sessions will offer workshops on topics such as ecofeminism, the protests in Iran, self-identifying female representation in finance, STEAM, and more. Art installations and musical performances will animate the day, and the summit will culminate with a student-moderated panel, “Women in Entertainment,” that will feature barrier-breaking talents from the Oakwood community.

The Gender Justice Summit is presented in partnership with The Pad Project. For more information, please visit www.oakwoodschool.org/summit.

Purchase Tickets

Black History Month Prosperity Market @ CAAM

Saturday, February 25, 2023

11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

As Black History Month comes to a close, celebrate Black farmers, chefs, and entrepreneurs at the Prosperity Market pop-up at California African American Museum (CAAM)! Expect your favorite farmers market goodies like fresh fruits and vegetables, discover delicious, prepared foods and handcrafted artisan goods, and enjoy a jammin’ DJ, cooking demonstrations, a kid's corner, and additional wellness offerings.

Register Here

The World Trade Week committee offers scholarships to aspiring students in international trade fields. Scholarships are awarded to outstanding graduating high school seniors entering an accredited college or university with the goal of a career in international trade, as well as college students pursuing international degrees. By fostering international trade education and international business development, the committee hopes to develop a network of international trade professionals willing to provide mentoring to future students interested in international business. 2023 Scholarship applications are open!

The deadline for submission is Friday, March 3, 2023 at 5 PM PT.

High School Scholarship
College Scholarship

International Opportunities

CIEE is extending the high school summer abroad scholarship deadline to March 1, 2023. Any student who completes their application between now and the deadline will automatically get entered to win flight vouchers of up $1,000! With just five weeks until deadline, you'll have five chances at flight vouchers! The sooner students complete their applications, the better their chances at a prize.

Countdown to Summer

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

International Citizen Diplomacy of Los Angeles


February 7 - 11: Deactivating Disinformation by Strengthening

Media and Information Literacy


February 8 - 12: Growing the Film and Music Industries


February 12 - 16: Management of Marine Protected Areas


February 21- 25: Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists – U.S. Foreign Policy

Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia

ICDLA knows it is important to maintain our connections with our international visitors beyond their programs. As such, ICDLA 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 ICDLA 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 Citizen Diplomacy

of Los Angeles


[email protected]


Connect with us!

Facebook  Instagram  Linkedin

© International Citizen Diplomacy of Los Angeles. A non-profit, non-partisan organization. Partial funding provided by the United States Department of State, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Los Angeles. | Privacy Policy