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July 2022


Expand Your World Today

In This Issue...

  • Quote of the Month
  • Experiencing World Expos
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Welcome Our New Communications Intern
  • IVCLA Board Member News
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen Exchange Alumni?
  • Community Events
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Programs
Click the button below to check out our past newsletters:
Past Newsletters

Quote of the Month:

“During my time here, I learned that there is a great intersection of many cultures, a great respect for rules, and I learned about tipping.”

~ A Visitor from Argentina in May 2022, for a project on 'Smart Ports'.

Experiencing World Expos

One of the most common responses we get from our international visitors is their surprise at how welcoming, diverse and open-minded the people they meet here are. Hollywood films and news headlines often shape certain stereotypes of America that do not showcase the diversity of our country. IVCLA’s exchange programs are an example of citizen diplomacy that provides Angelenos and participants from around the world the opportunity for new connections and meaningful conversations. World Expos represent another way for people-to-people connections to drive global change.

On June 15th IVCLA hosted a reception and community conversation, Experiencing World Expos: Past, Present & Future to explore the important role World Expos play in promoting citizen diplomacy globally. The event was held at the beautiful Western Justice Center in Pasadena. IVCLA members and friends enjoyed international wines and Lebanese hors d’oeuvres as presentations to explore the history, current status and future plans of World Expos were made by experts on the topic. World Expos are the world’s oldest and largest mega event, and they play a critical role in international relations and foreign policy. It is more important than ever to improve U.S. citizen engagement in World Expos to show the diversity, kindness, innovations and curiosity of the American people. 

César CoronaUSC Center on Public Diplomacy Assistant Director of Engagement and CEO of, highlighted the importance of World Expos as opportunities for countries around the world to showcase their cultures and celebrate their achievements with an international audience. It is through World Expo’s that we share, learn from, and build collaboration for the betterment of humanity.

Maggie Lemere, co-author of Experiencing Expos: An Oral History of U.S. Citizens’ Engagement with World’s Fairs, shared their studies’ findings on the impact of Expos on U.S. citizens who participate in them. Youth Ambassadors who have been selected to welcome guests to U.S. Pavilions over the years were a key component of their oral history research. On the importance of World’s Fairs in promoting a more globally minded world, their report stated, “there was almost unanimous consensus that these events matter—and that they may matter even more going forward. Expos can help identify how different countries/communities are attempting to address difficult issues and may lead to brainstorming and participation in international collaboration to address universal issues, such as climate change.”

Underscoring the importance of citizen engagement at World Expos, speaker Kara Snesko, Senior Coordinator in the International Expositions Unit at the U.S. Department of State and Project Manager for the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, shared their excitement and plans that are underway for obtaining funding for the USA Pavilion at the upcoming 2025 World Expo in Osaka, Japan. Kara also announced Minnesota’s bid to host an Expo in 2027 with the theme Healthy People, Healthy Planet. If selected, it will be the first Expo on U.S. soil in over 43 years. She stressed that encouraging citizen participation is crucial to the success and impact of our USA Pavilions going forward.

Pictured: Crystal Rabizadeh (left) with Speaker

Maggie Lemere (center) and Alban Martinez (right)

We were thrilled to have three Los Angeles-Area Youth Ambassador share their experiences from the Dubai World Expo. The 75 Youth Ambassadors selected to represent the U.S., hailing from 37 states and 78 colleges and universities, brought a diverse and nuanced perspective for visitors to the USA Pavilion. Youth Ambassador Crystal Rabizadeh said that some of the international visitors she met were wary of the USA Pavilion, given certain stereotypes that Americans are not welcoming or friendly. “Often guests were surprised that we were smiling and encouraging them to visit us,” she said. Crystal knew her role at the Expo was important to counteract these negative sentiments. Of her time as one of the Faces of America she joked, “it was bit like Disneyland except instead of playing a character, our role was ‘an American’.”

Pictured: Jesús Fernández (right) talking to speaker César Corona (left)

The diversity of cultures, languages and background represented among the Youth Ambassadors amazed many visitors to the Pavilion. Jesús Fernández and fellow ambassador Alban Martinez, who are both Mexican-American, said they would often surprise people by speaking in Spanish. As an Iranian-American and fluent speaker of Farsi, Crystal shared similar sentiments and was glad when visitors to the Pavilion walked away with a better understanding of American people.

The stories shared at the reception gave attendees a wonderful view of the importance of citizen diplomacy, the value of people-to-people connections, the influence of World Expos and the power of our continued involvement in these public diplomacy platforms.

Pictured: Jesús Fernández (left) with IVCLA Board Member

Michelle Kezirian (second from right) and friends

Sharing a Global Perspective

Equine Therapy for Youth with Disabilities

Pictured: Visitors from Africa for a project on 

Disability Rights - Equal Access for All at AHEAD With Horses

Horses have been revered for their therapeutic nature since the time of Hippocrates. Horses’ keen ability to sense and mirror a person's emotions, mental state and movements, make them perfect for behavioral and physical therapy. Horses can teach people responsibility; give them a nonverbal way to process their emotions and be a gentle companion when handling difficult emotions.

IVCLA International Visitor Leadership participants from Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, and Republic of the Congo, visiting for a project on Disability Rights – Equal Access for All, had the opportunity to experience the benefits firsthand when they met with AHEAD With Horses, Inc. (AWH), a non-profit and charitable organization. AWH has an over 50-year history of equine therapy programming, specifically vaulting – gymnastics on horses – for disabled, disadvantaged, at-risk, and special needs children. Their programs have been shown to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional needs of their clients. Though performing gymnastics high up on a horse may seem frightening, it actually offers a perfect opportunity for their clients to improve on their self-confidence and trust. They have to trust the horse, the horse must trust them, and as they go through the movements, they become more secure in their physical and mental abilities.

Longtime client of AWH, Ryan, gave the group a demonstration of a typical vaulting lesson. The visitors were able to see the physical and mental demands of complex muscle movements while horse riding. While Ryan demonstrated, his mother and AWH Board Member Julie Casey explained the different aspects of vaulting and how each movement or interaction is of benefit to the rider. For non-speaking/non-verbal clients, the social interaction with AWH staff and horses motivates verbalization of thoughts or feelings while they practice. Those with physical disabilities are given extensive therapeutic training in motor control, muscle development and balance through the exercises. The meeting exemplified the value of diverse programming for people with disabilities and highlighted the importance of exchange in building a better, more accessible world for all.

AHEAD With Horses shared an article in their recent newsletter about IVCLA programming and their meeting with the IVLP participants.


IVLP alumni and our U.S. network can be a powerful voice to help #EndHumanTrafficking. On July 19, 2022 Secretary of State Antony Blinken will release the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.  Check out the report for updated information and use this hashtag to let us know what you will do to help #EndHumanTrafficking 

The event with Secretary Blinken will be livestreamed on on July 19, 2022 at 12:00 NOON EDT

Also, join us at 3:00 PM EDT on July 19, 2022 for a special panel with the 2022 TIP Report Heroes who are currently on an IVLP.  Join the livestream at

Welcome Our New Communications Intern

Hello IVCLA friends!

My name is Taline Lori Nahapetian, I am an incoming junior at Holy Martyrs High School in Encino, and I am the new communications intern at IVCLA!

I am interested in applying psychological assessments in RealPolitik; I find it fascinating how this political phenomenon affects minority populations in developing countries. I am also interested in the current socio-political effects in regions with imperial and colonial history. My interest in socio-political dilemmas stems from a desire to build my exposure on such topics. I would like to eventually pursue a career in the Foreign Service or the United Nations; and I believe with my internship at IVCLA I will be able to gain the experience that will further help me achieve my goals. 


After my initial meeting with the team at IVCLA, I grew ecstatic about the work to be accomplished here. Learning about the different experiences of citizen diplomats in Los Angeles is a unique experience, and I am grateful to be a part of such a sophisticated and forward program. Most of all, I look forward to observing the cross-cultural exchanges IVCLA nurtures and inspires amongst residents and visitors!

IVCLA Board Member News

Congratulations IVCLA Board Member Jonathan Kaji

IVCLA does many programs for our international visitors about civic engagement and local elections, so we are pleased to congratulate IVCLA Board Member Jonathan Kaji on his recent election to the Torrance City Council. Jonathan will be representing District 1 for the City of Torrance.

Jonathan is an active member of the community, in addition to serving on the IVCLA Board he is a member of the Little Tokyo Community Council and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California. He also served as a Commissioner for the State of California Commission on Economic Development and as a Director on the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation Board.

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 Exchange AlumniGlobal Ties Albuquerque and WorldBoston.

  • This Friday is the last day to RSVP to the July 29 Career Connections event in Washington D.C. This event will focus on Careers in Federal Government. Programming for the hybrid event is designed to provide U.S. Exchange Alumni with skills, resources, and ideas to grow professionally, and includes interactive workshops, panels, and networking opportunities. 
  • Note: This is a hybrid event; in addition to the in-person event on July 29, adjacent virtual programming will take place on July 21 and August 4. Register for this seminar here.

  • The second 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

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

JULY 2022

July 9 - 12: Think Tanks and Foreign Policy



July 14 - 20: Combatting Infectious Diseases


Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda

July 17 - 21: Summit for Democracy


Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Republic of Kosovo, Mozambique, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa

July 22 - 28: Crisis and Disaster Management



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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