Creating international connections
Cultivating local innovation
Activating global potential
May 2021
Expand Your World Today
In This Issue...
  • Quote of the Month
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Two Minutes with... Board Member Wafa J. Hoballah
  • International Women of Courage
  • Voices of Exchange Podcast
  • Video Game Diplomacy
  • International Opportunities
  • Community Events
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Virtual Programs
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Quote of the Month:

“I’ve learned that Muslim-Americans are also challenged living here, but they are still living peacefully with others. I also learned that everyone is welcome to visit the U.S. so long as you have good intentions. I thought I was going to be discriminated against, but I was wrong. [My visit to the United States] changed my perspective in a positive way.”

~ Khaled Magumpara, a visitor from the Philippines on a 2017 program about Best Practices on Interventions
Sharing a Global Perspective
Although we aren’t yet able to welcome international visitors to Greater L.A., we are creating virtual programming for our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants. While it’s not the same as meeting in person, we are pleased we can continue to build dialogue and communication channels with our remarkable visitors from around the world. We look forward to welcoming them in person just as soon as it is safe. 
Last month, IVCLA hosted an IVLP on the topic of Countering Holocaust Distortion and Denial for a group of international professionals from Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, and Romania. The group, officials from archives and museums related to Jewish studies and Holocaust history, met with Dr. Kori Street, Senior Director of Programs & Operations at the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.

Dr. Street discussed the work of the Shoah Foundation on the preservation and educational use of Holocaust survivor testimonies. Their work focuses on memory - how to capture memories, how to work with memories in multiple realities (artificial/virtual), how to explore physical sites of memory, and its role in generational interplay. The Shoah Foundation has a collection of 55,000 testimonies from people not only of Jewish decent but of other racial groups who were victims of ethnic genocide (i.e. Armenia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Rohingya, Uyghur). These testimonies are available to view through the Visual History Archive.

The participants also learned about the ways the Shoah Foundation take testimony by using new technology. The Dimensions in Testimony, which was highlighted on 60 Minutes, enables people to have a "virtual conversation" with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses to genocide. The participants had a chance to interact with Pinchas Gutter's hologram and ask questions such as: "What is your story?", "Do you forgive?", and "Can you sing us a song?".

Other types of virtual education, such as the IWitness program, utilize virtual reality to retell stories and testimonies for students of all ages. They also have put testimonies on-location through augmented reality with the IWalk app (available for download in the app store) where you can explore 2D and 360 degree testimonies. Dr. Street explained that the goal of these testimonies is to develop empathy, understanding, and respect for others and help us learn how to appreciate people's differences.
Two Minutes with... Board Member Wafa J. Hoballah
We are pleased to provide the eleventh 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 Business and Immigration Attorney, Wafa J. Hoballah.
IVCLA: What do you find most compelling about IVCLA’s mission and work?

WJH: IVCLA plays an important role in opening channels of communication among people across the world, especially as it relates to subjects restricted for political reasons. I strongly believe that IVCLA’s work fills the gaps which can prevent people from different nations, including the U.S., from being able to talk candidly with each other. Politics and global issues can sometimes cause restrictions when governments are trying to communicate officially with each other, but citizen diplomacy bridges those gaps and allows for meaningful and lasting person-to-person dialogue that builds better global understanding. IVCLA’s work facilitates Citizens Diplomacy to prevail when government policies fail.

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?

WJH: Those are all important issues to me. However, as an Arab American who was born in Senegal, grew up in Lebanon, attended French and American schools, then pursued graduate international legal studies in Salzburg, Austria, London, U.K, and Sacramento, California, I have witnessed many situations dealing with the above noted issues, and I am well situated to show people from around the world, a better image of the American people. During their IVCLA programs it is important our participants experience a different image of the U.S. They will encounter the kindness of the people and come to understand we are not all about arms, power and money.

IVCLA: If you were hosting an international visitor for a day in Los Angeles, what would you want them to see and do?

WJH: There is so much to see about Los Angeles which is not possible to cover in a day trip. However, I try to cover general highlights of LA such as Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Museum Row or Griffith Park while pointing out famous sites or buildings that they can relate to such as the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, and my favorite on the itinerary would be a stop at L.A.’s beautiful City Hall with a visit to the top for a spectacular view of the city. I would like to show them the many diverse communities that live together in L.A., from the Pueblo Street at Olvera Street to Little Tokyo, Little Ethiopia and many others. Additionally if I know more of their interests and background, I would tailor some time to accommodate their wishes for particular sightseeing.
IVCLA: Describe one of your most interesting experiences while traveling in another country.

WJH: One of my most amazing experiences was during my trip to Vietnam when we drove up the mountain in the Old Kingdom to a Buddhist Temple (pictured right). I had assisted a Buddhist Priest with some legal issues while he was in the U.S., and he surprised me with an invitation to meet the Headmaster of the largest Buddhist temple in the area and arranged for me to experience the monks’ morning chant at the temple. It was the most peaceful and inspiring occasion I have ever witnessed.

Another unique experience was visiting the Hanging Coffins from the cliffs of Sagada in the Philippines. I had totally forgotten of their existence, until it hit me that I learned about them in one of my high school history classes. That was an unforgettable scenic drive going up the mountains, where we witnessed the greenest of greens in the lush surroundings, along with the Rice Terraces of the Philippines Cordillas.
IVCLA: Where are you planning to travel internationally next and what do you hope to discover/experience?

WJH: I have traveled extensively through the world, and now I feel I should go more often back to Lebanon as my base despite all the problems the country is facing today. There is so much culture and history to reacquaint myself with.

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?

WJH: We continue doing what is needed to improve – we never give up. People need this attitude now more than ever!
2021 International Women of Courage
Each year since 2007 the U.S. Secretary of State has presented the International Women of Courage IWOC Award to extraordinary women around the globe. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in improving the lives of others, from families to communities to countries. In a virtual ceremony on March 8th Secretary Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden presented the 2021 IWOC Award to 21 courageous women, including seven Afghan women who were recognized posthumously. The seven women were assassinated in separate incidents for their dedication to improving the lives of Afghans.

In previous years, following their ceremony in D.C., the IWOC honorees traveled to communities around the country as participants of the International Visitor Leadership Program. IVCLA has welcomed many IWOC women to Los Angeles over the years and we have celebrated their amazing work at special luncheons (pictured above). Since the women were not able to be here in person this year, they were honored on April 29th with a virtual celebration by the American Women of International Understanding (AWIU), an organization IVCLA collaborates with each year when welcoming the women to Los Angeles. IVCLA and AWIU look forward to welcoming courageous women to Los Angeles once again next year!
New Voices of Exchange Podcast
Voices of Exchange is a new podcast featuring the voices of alumni of U.S. government exchange programs, cultural and sports envoys, exchange visitors, and U.S. Speakers. The podcast launched on March 31, 2021 by the Office of Alumni Affairs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. You can listen to Voices of Exchange on iTunes and wherever else you get your podcasts or on their website! New episodes are released every two weeks.
U.S. State Department Video Game Diplomacy Project
In the latest round of Stevens Initiative grants, the U.S. Department of State and the nonprofit Games for Change have announced a new “video game diplomacy” project. The project, titled Game Exchange, seeks to engage 2,700 students in the U.S., Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in a virtual student exchange program centered on the development and creation of social impact video games. The initial round of the Game Exchange program will feature “underrepresented or underserved students” from schools in New York City, Atlanta and Detroit. Those students will be paired with students in one of the three participating Middle East countries.
International Opportunities
One of IVCLA's partner organizations, Cultural Vistas, has announced an opportunity for an interesting and unique virtual exchange program!

The program is titled “Building a Diverse and Inclusive Culture of Remembrance” (stylized DAICOR) and will take place over several weeks this summer starting on June 16 and ending on August 4. This program will convene eight Germans and eight Americans to explore how diversity, equity and inclusion is being incorporated into contemporary spaces of cultural remembrance – such as public parks, museums, and historical sites.

By the end of the program, participants will be expected to devise a practical approach, campaign, or action plan that further contributes to an inclusive and tolerant culture of remembrance.

Who can apply?

  • Individuals with a proven professional interest in the promotion of an inclusive and progressive culture of remembrance in public spaces in Germany and the United States (historians, curators, artists, political advisors, academic researchers, etc.)
  • Staff of organizations that focus on progressive approaches to remembrance culture in public spaces (e.g. civil society organizations, grassroots movements, universities, etc.)
  • Practitioners and artists with demonstrated experience in implementing projects that further inclusive practices in public spaces

Applications are due by Sunday, May 16 2021. Please share this within your communities, network, or organization to those who might be interested.

For more information – and to apply – please visit the program page.

Additionally, this program will take place in person (both in the United States and Germany) in 2022. Individuals who take part in the virtual program in 2021 will be allowed to nominate for consideration a colleague to participate in the in-person component in 2022.

If you have any further questions, please contact
Patricia Pahlke, Assistant Program Officer
Community Events
For over 94 years, World Trade Week Southern California has been the most extensive program of its kind in the nation, actively promoting global trade, which has supported our region in crisis and will be one of the most important drivers of economic recovery in the coming years.

The topic of this year's conference is addressing supply chain infrastructure, transportation challenges, and innovative, sustainable solutions to increase the region's global competitiveness as we recover from the pandemic.

Featured speakers and panelists include:

Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines
David Ono, News Anchor, ABC7
Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles

Christina Murata, Ph.D., Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Jannie Davel, Managing Director – Commercial, Delta Air Lines
Michelle Kinman, Director of Transportation, Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator
Commissioner Jaime L. Lee, President, Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners

May 6, 2021
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
You can also participate in the World Trade Week silent auction and bid on amazing items and packages such as travel packages, fine wines, sports memorabilia, watches and more! Here's how to bid:
Visit and click Register to participate.

Place your bids via computer, smartphone, and/or text!
*To place bids and purchase items via text, text WTW21 to 76278

The Chamber will email winners to arrange pickup of physical items, or the
Chamber can help facilitate shipping.
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. 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

Find Available Vaccination Registration Sites HERE
Upcoming International Virtual Programs
The following are international guests of the U.S. government whose
professional appointments in Los Angeles will be virtually arranged by the
International Visitors Council of Los Angeles

MAY 2021
May 11-12: Intellectual Property Rights Regulation Formation
Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
May 24: Community Focused Women Entrepreneurs in Sister Cities Alumni Program
Russia (St. Petersburg)
In-person IVLP has been postponed until October 2021, 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
The International Visitors Council of Los Angeles depends on its members and friends to help support its programs. If you are not an IVCLA Citizen Diplomat, please review our membership benefits here and consider joining — or make a tax-deductible donation here. We need your support now more than ever! Please make a contribution today.