Expand Your World Today!

May 2023


Impact Report

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Creating international connections

Cultivating local innovation

Activating global potential

In this Issue...

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

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Quote of the Month

“What I will remember most about Los Angeles is how courteous the people were, the streets were magnificent, the food service was first-rate, the many attractive businesses and the home hospitality."

~ A visitor from Guinea in July 2022 for the project 'Combating Infectious Diseases'

Photo of the Month

Visitors viewing the clean room for NASA JPL's Europa Clipper for their program Engaging the Rising Generation of Space Nations

Sharing a Global Perspective

Engaging the Rising Generation of Space Nations

ICDLA's space diplomacy group with one of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's planetary robots

Although space exploration began as an intense competition between nations, over the years political and financial realities have shifted the focus to international cooperation, with the International Space Station and its 15 partner nations providing an excellent example.


The potential for new scientific discovery in space and aeronautics has motivated countries to work together for their mutual benefit, both to promote economic development and to improve our understanding of the universe. The private sector is also participating, such as SpaceX, which was founded to explore Mars and ultimately develop a colony there. Now, both governmental and private industry leaders in many countries are readying for a future of accessible space exploration and travel.

Last month ICDLA arranged an exciting program for IVLP participants from 14 different countries to discuss Engaging the Rising Generation of Space Nations. They hailed from various technology, space and aeronautics sectors in countries relatively new to the field of international space exploration. Their program provided a better understanding of how the U.S. approaches this endeavor.

For a look at how non-government research institutions are advancing the field of space science, the visitors enjoyed a tour of The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a vanguard in the private space exploration industry. They are the first private company to launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft; to achieve vertical propulsive landing of an orbital rocket booster and reuse the booster; and to send astronauts to the International Space Station. Their meeting was a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of a privately funded space company. While at SpaceX, our visitors saw the SpaceX production floor, which houses rocket ships and engines currently under construction, and got firsthand views of rocket parts that have been and will be going into space. This experience revealed how institutions like SpaceX are opening the doors for private space exploration and tourism, making space travel more accessible to the public, while furthering technological and engineering advancements in the industry.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is a research facility owned and operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the federal agency which administers the U.S. national space program. JPL is managed by the California Institute of Technology, a private, internationally renowned university that serves as a premiere research and education institution for scientists and engineers. The Laboratory's primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, although it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. JPL’s aim lies in scientific study to better understand our universe and its origins. As part of their research, they conduct global surveys of the Earth, examining the effects of climate change and what can be done to counteract it. The group was given an extensive tour of the campus, including the press room, the museum, and mission control. They even had the opportunity to view the clean room for the soon-to-launch Europa Clipper (view video) to see the cutting-edge technology for themselves and witness the laboratory operations. This program was an important example of how scientific discovery and exploration can provide the motivation for increasing international understanding and cooperation.

The visitors' time in L.A. coincided with April 22nd, World Earth Day, so ICDLA arranged for them to celebrate the day by participating in a TreePeople volunteer activity in the Los Angeles National Forest. The activity was a timely reminder that we must continue to care for our own planet, even as space exploration seeks potential life on other planets. That evening they also had the opportunity to enjoy a different kind of Clipper at a Los Angeles Clippers game! Although we know the L.A. Clippers sadly didn’t win, we will have to wait a bit longer to know the outcome of the JPL Clipper’s mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa to determine its potential to support life.

A Community Response to Natural Disaster

Visitors from Peru with EMD representative Crisanta Gonzalez (far left), LAFD Captain Rico Gross (fourth from left), LAPD Sargent Michael Boyle (fourth from right) and LAPD Lieutenant Hayley Smith (second from right)

Along with warm temperatures and Pacific Ocean beaches, the country of Peru and Greater Los Angeles also share the risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, flooding and mudslides. ICDLA was pleased to welcome an IVLP group of emergency management officials from Peru to discuss our area’s best practices in emergency preparedness between federal, state and local government as well as NGOs and the private sector.

Their program on Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Management covered a wide variety of emergency response systems and the collaboration that is essential in times of crisis. In the City of Los Angeles, the Emergency Management Department (EMD) is responsible for the coordination of emergency planning, training, response and recovery efforts in the midst of a major disaster, with EMD’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) as the focal point for the coordination. At their meeting with EMD they discussed how L.A.’s disaster preparedness and response are distributed across departments with each having their own role in the case of a disaster. The Peruvians found this decentralized model of disaster management interesting and said their emergency response system in Peru follows a more hierarchical system of management.  

To showcase L.A.’s model of disaster response, the visitors were given an extensive tour of the EMD building, which included a visit to the EOC. The EOC features a pod-like layout of Law Enforcement, Fire Service, Transportation, Utilities, Public Works, Mass Care, Damage Assessment, Emergency Management, Port, and Airport emergency responders. As speaker Sargent Michael Boyle of the LAPD put it, “We all work together as a city, up the chain to the county. When there’s an emergency, we make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Following the tour, the visitors attended a panel discussion with Sargent Boyle, Crisanta Gonzalez from the EMD, Captain Rico Gross with the LAFD, and Jeanne O’Donnell from The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The OEM is the operational area coordination for the entire county of L.A. They frequently work with EMD as well as similar response departments in the other cities within L.A. County.

The meeting with EMD and OEM offered the visitors a look at how Los Angeles’ many different departments work together in times of disaster. One visitor remarked he was surprised by how small the emergency response departments are in L.A. He shared that while in Florida they saw a much larger and more heavily funded emergency response department. He was curious how a city of L.A.’s size manages its crisis response with such a small department. Crisanta explained L.A.’s resources are smaller because we haven’t yet had a large enough disaster that would compel local officials to increase the budget. She said the budget may not be increased until after we have a huge disaster and there is the realization, we didn’t have enough personnel to prepare as well as we should have. However, she shared that in the meantime volunteer assistance is a huge boost for our emergency response system. Our robust public volunteer program plays an important role.

The Los Angeles Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a community driven volunteer team who work with emergency responders during disaster and crisis situations. Captain Gross explained, “Currently we have about 300-400 volunteers that I could call to one location at a time, and about 1000 disaster service worker volunteers.” The CERT teams work closely within their neighborhoods to assist the public in times of crisis. Captain Gross said they teach all their volunteers that at the time of a disaster, “First ensure you and your family’s safety, survey your home, survey your neighborhood, then we can respond to the needs of the community.”

The visitors saw the benefits of training citizens to prepare for disaster and recovery when emergency services departments have limited resources. Several visitors shared their intent to introduce this type of system in their own emergency response protocols. 

International cooperation is critical for sharing best practices during a global crisis. We saw the value of collaboration during the Covid-19 pandemic, which demanded countries work together to tackle a global health crisis. Now as climate change promises more and more extreme situations, disaster preparedness will again require international collaboration to ensure we and our international colleagues have the best resources possible for disaster preparedness and recovery. 

Ukrainian Documentarians Driving Social Change

In March ICDLA welcomed a group of Ukrainian documentary filmmakers to Los Angeles who we highlighted in last month’s newsletter. Over the next couple of months, we will be sharing some of their film projects that seek to combat disinformation and shine a light on what is happening in Ukraine. 

Pictured from left: Leonid Yezhurov, Andrii Lytvynenko, Yuliia Hontaruk, Simon Mozgovyi, Mykola Dondyuk,

Olena Makarenko and Ella Shtyka

Andrii Lytvynenko has made several short films and has directed and participated in the creation of several anothologies. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he is working as an independent producer and director of documentary cinema. Andrii’s current work, Above All, tells the story of Mykola Mykytenko, a veteran of the war in Ukraine’s Donbas region, which began in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. On October 14th, 2020, Mykola walked to Independence Square in central Kyiv intent on protesting the Ukrainian government’s then conscilliatory stance towards Russia’s advances in the East. As a sign of his disgust for the policy, Mykytenko set himself on fire in full view of the government and civilian population. Filming on this project began on the day of Mykola’s funeral in Independence Square, and follows Yuliia, his daughter, as she carries on his legacy during her process of grievance, loss, and acceptance of her father’s choice.

Film Trailer


Simon Mozgovyi is a director and scriptwriter of documentary films. As a freelance filmmaker he is now working on his directorial feature fiction debut Chrysanthemum Day and a documentary trilogy, The Days I Would Like To Forget. The trilogy consists of the following parts: Humans and War (70 min), Death and Life (70 min), and Space and Time (70 min). The trilogy observes how war changes humans, space, and affects the world. Through these parts, viewers proceed from the human experience of war to the processes of how the war in Ukraine influences the entire world.


Ella Shtyka is an educator, cultural manager and documentary producer. Ella is a strong advocate of developing and preserving culture in her communities and strongly believes in the introduction of new cultural practices as a means of creating social change. Ella is currently working on a film, Keepers of the Ruins. After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the city of Kharkiv found itself reembracing its intial historical purpose – to act as a fortress. This film captures life in this residential fortress as humanitarian aid vehicles navigate the city, volunteers respond to the needs of people living in basements, and doctors and local residents dedicate themselves to protecting their city. Through this film, we see the unbearable reality of war. The documentary is an attempt to understand how this city has become the “city-that-survived”, and what local culture has to do with it. Film Trailer

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.

  • Career Connections Seminar: June 23, 2023, Washington, DC

Save the date for Career Connections Washington, DC. Career Connections brings together U.S. Exchange Alumni and leaders in business, government, civil society, and other diverse fields to leverage their skills and networks. Join us for this in-person event featuring professional development workshops and networking opportunities for U.S. Exchange Alumni. More information HERE.

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. If you are a past participant in a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program contact Eleanor Alberg, [email protected]. 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

🚀 Summer of Science Exploration 🚀 


Get messy with chemistry, dig deep into Earth science, shoot for the stars with space science, and much more! Hands-On Science Camp offers an unparalleled summer science experience for students in grades Pre-K through eighth with Educators from a variety of backgrounds, opportunities to explore the Science Center's interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and cutting-edge spaces for experimentation—like our 32,000 sq. ft. Big Lab! With over 25 unique classes, there's an exciting course for everyone!

  • Weeklong courses June 12 - August 11, 2023
  • Morning, afternoon, and full-day classes. Extended Day option available.
  • Scholarships available for students and families with demonstrated financial need.

Registration is now open!

Learn More

Join the San Diego Diplomacy Council's private delegation October 10 - 20, 2023, for a journey through Morocco's rich cultural heritage, complicated history, and present-day realities. This carefully curated cultural exchange program will go beyond tourist corridors by engaging local scholars, public officials, entrepreneurs, musicians and artists offering in-depth commentary on the Moroccan way of life, political system, art history, architecture, and religion. You do not want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join an exclusive educational journey through the heart of Morocco to see first-hand what makes this country so complex and nothing less than magical.

This program will require high intensity walking on uneven and sometimes hilly cobblestone streets and stairs where an elevator is not always available. Participants must be able to walk unassisted.

Learn More/Register

Stay Informed on COVID-19

The United States coronavirus public health emergency is set to expire on May 11, 2023. As we move on to a new, less dire phase in this pandemic, the information below remains valuable for tracking global problem areas. 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 and other diplomatic organizations whose professional appointments in Los Angeles will be arranged by

International Citizen Diplomacy of Los Angeles

MAY 2023

May 10 - 14: Designing and Implementing Professional Development Programs for K-12 Teachers


May 10 - 16: Environmental Awareness Post-COP27


May 10 - 16: Countering Violent Extremism: Community Strategies

African Union, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates

May 17 - 20: Law Enforcement and Security Exchange Program: Internal Affairs Study Tour


May 20 - 24: Smart and Integrated Ports


May 20 - 25: Youth Mental Health Providers

Palestinian Territories

May 24 - 27: Responding to Domestic Violence Crimes: Prevention, Treatment and Advocacy

People's Republic of China

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].

International Citizen Diplomacy of Los Angeles depends on its members and friends to help support its programs. If you are not an ICDLA Citizen Diplomat, please review our membership benefits here and consider joining. We need your support now more than ever! Please make a contribution today.


Editor: Eleanor Alberg

Communications & Events Coordinator

Share your comments with me at [email protected]!

International Citizen Diplomacy

of Los Angeles


[email protected]


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