Creating international connections.
Cultivating local innovation.
Activating global potential.
July 2020
Expand Your World Today
In This Issue...
  • Quote of the Month
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Two Minutes with... Board Member Jonathan Kaji
  • Fond Memories of Home Hospitality
  • Virtual Programming is on the Horizon
  • J-1 Exchange Visa Advocacy
  • Completing the Census Makes a Difference!
  • Stay Informed on Citizen Diplomacy
  • AmazonSmile - A Donation with Every Purchase
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Stay Tuned for Upcoming Visitors
 When you shop on AmazonSmile, use the link below and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to IVCLA!
Quote of the Month:

“The views of the American federal government do not always represent the views of an individual or group. America is a home to all races, tribes and religions.”

~ Eric John, a visitor from Nigeria on a 2019 program about Countering Violent Extremism
Sharing a Global Perspective
This year is IVCLA's 40th Anniversary, and it also marks the 80 th Anniversary of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program's (IVLP) which is the primary program IVCLA coordinates. The theme of the IVLP Anniversary celebration is #FacesofExchange. Throughout 2020 this initiative will be recognizing 80 outstanding IVLP alumni. We are pleased to share two of IVCLA’s alumni who have been recognized for this honor.
Sahan Basnayake , a Sri Lankan news reporter, came to Los Angeles in May 2016 for an IVLP focused on “ Media Literacy: Promoting Civil Society through New Media ”, where he had meetings with the Center for Media Literacy and Mira Costa High School ’s Media Arts program for Broadcast Journalism.

Shortly after his IVLP, Sahan became the first Sinhala/English bilingual provincial reporter for DERANA television station in Sri Lanka. Sahan is using new media skills he learned during his IVLP to become a voice for the voiceless in Sri Lanka. He says, “I think my IVLP really helped me to empower the civil society around me” and he is continually attempting to find solutions to key issues that face society. Thanks to his IVLP, he connected with 18 fellow participants who shared the same experiences and he plans to collaborate with them in the future.
Giovanni Falcone was one of Italy’s most well-known prosecutors. His visit to L.A. in 1986 as part of the IVLP compelled him to make significant changes to Italy's judicial system. In 1991, he established the witness protection program. The program served as a turning point in combating the Italian Mafia and still functions in Italy today. During his time in Palermo, he played a fundamental role in Palermo’s Maxi Trial, a significant criminal trial in Sicily that ran from 1986 to 1987, and that resulted in hundreds of convictions for Mafia-related crimes. Giovanni immersed himself in the world of anti-Mafia law and accepted a position in the Ministry of Justice in Rome in 1991. In 1992, after several previous attempts, Giovanni, his wife, and three bodyguards were assassinated by the Mafia while driving from the Palermo airport into the city.

He was posthumously recognized as an extraordinary hero of conscience for his lifelong work fighting the Mafia in Italy. Giovanni Falcone was a tenacious fighter for justice and he personally credited the International Visitor Leadership Program as an important component for some of his key accomplishments.
Although we are not able to welcome our international visitors to the L.A. area during this unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic, we are looking forward to welcoming more remarkable visitors from around the world as soon as it is safe. In the meantime, IVCLA has reached out to our international alumni to share their stories and insights with you.
Maria Isabelle Climaco came to L.A. this past January on an IVLP program for mayors from the Philippines, called Strong Cities, Strong Partnerships. Maria is the mayor of Zamboanga City, which has a population of 900,000 people. Shortly after her return home she was forced to address the COVID-19 pandemic. She began by establishing the COVID-19 Battle Plan - keeping citizens at home, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. In a recent update she shared:
“The global pandemic is a test to humanity, as IVLP alumni we are responsible to act and meet the challenges of our cities. In Zamboanga we have 190 cases of COVID-19 and with God’s grace 150 recoveries. We are strengthening our borders and learning from Davao City management interventions to contain new strains of COVID-19 in our cities. Our biggest hurdle was our extremely overcrowded jail. We provided individual tents for isolation and medical supplies and now see recoveries. The US FORCES 511.2 JSOTFP also contributed 90 million pesos worth of medical supplies to the Philippines. We continue to face challenges as we need more testing capacities. But we continue to build mutual peace and greater collaboration and are thankful for shared support of the U.S. government. Our prayers for the U.S. and the world to win our battle against COVID-19.”

Above, Maria is standing with U.S. troops who donated medical supplies to support her city and the Philippines. To the right, she is wearing a face mask with the Filipino and American flags crossed in union, and showcasing the delicious oatmeal cookies given to her by the U.S. troops!
Two Minutes with... Board Member Jonathan Kaji
We are pleased to provide the third in our series of interviews with the IVCLA Board of Directors. In the coming months we look forward to providing candid conversations with each Director. This month we talk with Jonathan Kaji, President of Kaji & Associates, a real estate development and brokerage firm located in Torrance, California .
IVCLA: What do you find most compelling about IVCLA’s mission and work?

JK: Having been born and raised in Los Angeles, I was always aware of the diversity surrounding my home and community. I was born in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. I spent weekends and holidays at my grandparents’ home and ran around the area with my Mexican friends...which is why my favorite food is pan dulce !

IVCLA celebrates the diversity of Los Angeles and serves as a portal to foreign visitors to experience our brand of coexistence and cooperation. 
IVCLA: Our programs directly address some of the world’s most pressing issues: countering government disinformation, creating sustainable communities, promoting tolerance through the arts, empowering women in leadership, controlling infectious diseases, eliminating human trafficking, and alleviating chronic poverty and hunger, to name just a few.

What global issue is most important to you for IVCLA to develop deeper ties between L.A. and the rest of the world?

JK: Growing up as a Japanese American, I was always aware of my family's 100-year history in America, the struggles of every immigrant upon arriving in America. We've experienced racism and injustice and responded in our own unique way, achieving an apology and redress from the Federal government for the wartime incarceration of the Japanese American community . I believe that in spite of our imperfect world, we can learn from the experience of others to create better global citizens.
IVCLA: If you were hosting an international visitor for a day in Los Angeles, what would you want them to see and do?
JK: First stop, Little Tokyo and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) . The Museum was founded by my father. After a short tour of Little Tokyo, we'd walk into the Arts District . Next, we'd go one stop to Union Station and visit Olvera Street and have a Mexican lunch (of course!)

After lunch, we would take the METRO to Hollywood and Highland for the typical tour of the Boulevard. I'd end the day with an evening concert at the Hollywood Bowl!

IVCLA: Describe one of your most interesting/rewarding experiences while traveling in another country.
JK: As a child, my parents sent me to spend a summer with our Japanese Mexican friends in Sinaloa and Jalisco . It was the late 1960's and I remember taking the train into Mexico, taking in the expansiveness of Western Mexico, the Gulf of California and the many small villages along the way. I was unaware that Japanese had immigrated to Mexico and I found a small, integrated successful community. Also tasted Japanese Mexican fusion cuisine for the first time!

IVCLA: What is one of your most treasured objects/memories that you acquired while visiting another country?
JK: In 2018, I took my family to Paris for the first time. Being a fan of the Netflix program, "Chef's Table", I made reservations at L’Arpège . Unfortunately, my kids "didn't get the memo" and ate a pizza just before our dinner!

Chef Passard probably wondered who could not finish their meal...

IVCLA: What country/culture would you like to explore one day, and why is it on your “bucket list”?

JK: Israel is #1 since I had a Christian upbringing and have been fascinated by the convergence of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

IVCLA: Where are you planning to travel internationally next and what do you hope to discover/experience?

JK: All travel plans have been sidelined for obvious reasons but I'm hoping to visit Scotland and Ireland...I'm a hopeless golfer!

IVCLA: If there was only one thing you’d like residents of other countries to know about Americans and the U.S., what would it be?

JK: America is as diverse as the rest of the world and represents just about every nationality and ethnicity. The American Dream continues!
Fond Memories of Home Hospitality: A Look Back with Member Jacqueline Alikhaani
Back in June 2019, IVCLA member Jacqueline Alikhaani and her family hosted international visitors Mohammad Al Mal from Qatar, and Bander Alelyani from Saudi Arabia, for home hospitality.

Jacqueline was joined by her husband Sadegh, her son Bizhan and his friend Tiago for the home hospitality. Jacqueline recalls how they enjoyed the summer evening together strolling through 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and dining at the Italian restaurant Trastevere. She reminisced on their wonderful time, and how much the visitors hit it off with her son and his friend, as they were close in age. They are still in touch today over social media, and hope to reconnect in person one day, as the visitors had invited them all to visit them in the Middle East.

Mohammad and Bander were part of a larger group of international visitors, who were participating in an IVLP program on Combating Trafficking in Persons. They met with several of IVCLA's valued resources on the topic, such as the Thai Community Development Center and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.
Virtual Programming is on the Horizon
For the past 80 years, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has connected current and emerging leaders from around the world to the United States through short-term exchanges. The 80 th anniversary brings forth unexpected innovation - virtual programming is on the horizon.

As you may know, IVCLA's IVLP and other professional exchange programs have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until October. As we wait for this day to come, IVCLA has been working closely with the State Department on how to move into the virtual programming space and how to prepare for the resumption of in-person programming.

While virtual programs do not replace the experience of in-person exchanges, they help keep up the excitement level and give participants and hosts the opportunity to connect in meaningful ways and expand their networks.

IVLP Virtual allows us to provide engagement with contacts our embassies have deemed important to the State Department’s foreign policy goals until we are able to resume in-person programming. We are excited to implement programs that will allow us to continue to facilitate engagements that introduce International Visitors to their professional counterparts in the public and private sectors and to offer a way to engage with American society, history, and culture. Virtual programs will allow us to offer a peek into what is best about America and where there is room to grow, while building a foundation for a longer-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

It’s our hope to resume in-person programming as soon as conditions allow because nothing can replace in-person experiences. We will continue to monitor the feasibility of in-person programs for October and beyond; but in the meantime, we will build our virtual programming capacity and find creative ways to keep the IVLP the strong program that it has been for 80 years!
J-1 Exchange Visa Advocacy
The White House has issued a proclamation suspending some nonimmigrant visas through 2020 which includes certain categories of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). While federally-funded exchange programs, like the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) that IVCLA implements, were not included in this specific proclamation, this is worst-case scenario for our colleagues who implement cultural exchanges with the private sector and affects the entire international exchange field. We have been working with the Alliance for International Exchange in the build-up to this proclamation and to help respond to it.
Please consider amplifying the Alliance’s messages through this social media toolkit.

We implore you to reach out to your elected officials now, to help make the case for a robust FY21 federal budget for Educational and Cultural Exchange, emphasizing that exchange programs do not displace American workers but contribute more than $1.2 billion to the American economy.
Completing the Census Makes a Difference!
The U.S. Constitution requires a census be taken every 10 years to count all people living in the U.S. and its five territories, whether they are U.S. citizens or not. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the end date for the census has been pushed from July 31  st  to August 14  th  . But don’t delay! It only takes a few minutes and it has never been easier to complete the Census. You can fill it out online, over the phone or by mail. It is important for us all. A complete and accurate count is critical for your family and our community! The results of the 2020 Census will affect how our communities are funded, our number of congressional representation, and more. By filling out the census you are helping determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year!
Stay Informed on Citizen Diplomacy

USGLC partners with organizations like IVCLA to educate and inspire support for the importance of America’s civilian-led tools of development and diplomacy, and to advocate for a strong and effective International Affairs Budget. USGLC is working to make the smart power tools of development and diplomacy a keystone of America’s engagement with the world. Join their Town Hall for an interesting discussion.

As Secretary Bob Gates launches his new book – Exercise of Power – we invite you to join an  exclusive conversation with the USGLC community and the former Secretary of Defense.

The details:
  • The interactive online town hall will dive in the Secretary’s new book and his views on how to lead America forward, including the importance of our civilian tools of global engagement.
  • RSVP is required for the Zoom event link and there will be time for audience Q&A with the Secretary, a member of USGLC's National Advisory Council.
  • Signed and discounted copies of the book will be available for purchase for registered participants prior to the event.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
4:00-5:00pm EDT / 1:00-2:00pm PDT
AmazonSmile - A Donation with Every Purchase

Now more than ever people are shopping online to buy their essentials. AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support IVCLA every time you shop.
When you shop on AmazonSmile, use the link (picture) above and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to IVCLA! Always check for the “AmazonSmile” logo to ensure you’re activated for AmazonSmile.
Happy Shopping and Thank You for Your Donation!
Stay Informed on COVID-19
The IVCLA staff and board send good thoughts to all our members and friends. Although our work creating people-to-people connections isn’t possible right now, we look forward to hosting more international visitors as soon as it’s safe. We can all do our part to lend moral support to others, not only in Los Angeles, but around the world. If you have made connections with IVCLA International Visitors over the years, now is a good time to reach out to see how they are doing. This unprecedented global crisis can only be solved by coming together to share all of our knowledge, expertise, and goodwill. We are stronger together!         
An informative, infographic global report of the COVID-19 data is HERE

Check out the volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles HERE
Free COVID-19 Testing Available for Eligible Angelenos HERE
Free Testing Now Open to Critical Workers HERE
Stay Tuned for Upcoming International Visitors
The IVLP has been postponed until October 1 st and our other exchange programs have been postponed until further notice. We look forward to welcoming more remarkable visitors from around the world as soon as it is safe. In the meantime, as the entire world struggles through this crisis together, IVCLA is reaching out to international alumni and we welcome suggestions to highlight in our newsletter. If you would like to recommend a visitor you have stayed in touch with, please contact Janet Elliott at .