Creating international connections
Cultivating local innovation
Activating global potential
May 2022
Expand Your World Today
In This Issue...
  • Quote of the Month
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Save the Date #IWOC Alumnae Luncheon
  • IVCLA World Partners
  • Global LA Hires First CEO
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen Exchange Alumni?
  • Summit of the Americas in L.A. June 6 - 9
  • Community Events
  • International Opportunities
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Programs
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Quote of the Month:

"I was surprised to learn how diverse the American population is. People of many different backgrounds with a pride in representing their community. There is a cultural richness without equal."

~ A Visitor from Senegal visiting in April 2022, for a project on the Film & Television Industry in the U.S.
Sharing a Global Perspective
Inspiring Creativity in STEAM Education
Pictured: Visitors from Israel with Two Bit Circus Foundation CEO, Dr. Leah Hanes (far left)
In 2011, a nine-year-old boy living in East Los Angeles created an arcade of cardboard. Spending the summer staying with his father at his auto parts shop, Caine Monroy used his boredom to create a fully functional arcade that he ran inside the shop. He didn’t get any customers at his arcade until documentary filmmaker, Nirvan Mullick, came into the shop to purchase a new car-door handle. Shocked and awed by the level of commitment Monroy had put into the arcade, Mullick created the viral short film, Caine's Arcade, and marketed on social media to bring in customers. Today, Caine Monroy is a junior advisory board member of the Two Bit Circus Foundation in Los Angeles.
To encourage this kind of dedication and excitement for creation, five visitors from Israel working to improve STEAM education for women and girls, visited the Two Bit Circus Foundation in Los Angeles to learn how they are making STEAM education more engaging and kid-friendly. Dr. Leah Hanes, CEO of the Two Bit Circus Foundation, builds programming for students that gets them excited about STEAM subjects by showing them all they can create. Inspired by the intersection of technology and amusement, Two Bit Circus uses interactive technology-infused games to encourage intellectual advancement, team building and creativity. Giving students the tools to engineer their own games and products, they are able to experience for themselves the successes and failures that come along with invention. In this way, “they can see how things operate, and they learn all the ways that things can go wrong along the way,” Leah said, thus they learn the importance of having multiple perspectives to solve difficult problems.
A combination of four non-profits, Two Bit Circus Foundation not only encourages interest in STEAM for students but provides educators with the tools to guide them. Before joining Two Bit Circus, Leah founded the non-profit Trash for Teaching, which provided teachers with recycled goods and manufacture rejects for use in the classroom. Now, Trash for Teaching is a program within the Two Bit Circus Foundation that encourages teachers to incorporate environmental principles in their STEAM curriculum. There are still many difficulties that educators face with student engagement, especially in STEAM courses. Visitor, Ms. Michal Ivgi, founder of the non-profit Baba-Da, said, "Baba-Da’s goal is to get that spark in the eye [of the students],” and foster that interest. The visitors agreed that STEAM educators and facilitators should meet students where they are - use their interests - as opportunities to educate.

The visitors from Israel were the first group since 2020 to enjoy a Home Hospitality dinner with one of our members. On Sunday May 1, the visitors joined IVCLA Board Member Yael Swerdlow for a kosher dinner and discussed the empowerment of women in STEAM fields. The visitors loved the food and the company and hope to stay in touch following the program!
Citizen Engagement Sparks Global Social Change
Citizen-led movements are a catalyst for global policy reform. Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May of 2020, national outrage and grassroots efforts sparked nation-wide - and international - protests against police brutality. Citizen action prompted international discussions about police reform and accountability, and initiated investigations into the root-causes of police mistrust. On April 8, IVCLA, along with our U.S colleagues Global Ties San Francisco and WorldChicago, facilitated a panel discussion for participants from South and Central America to examine how local organizations are advocating for human rights and police transparency. In their virtual program the participants learned from local experts in each city about their efforts to improve citizen-police relations in their communities.

The discussion explored how global inequalities give rise to tensions between government, police and the public, which leads many communities to seek alternatives to police intervention. Tina Watkins-Quaye, General Manager of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), gave participants an overview of the South Los Angeles community and its history of contentious relationships with police, as well as the economic and social concerns that shape the region. In 1965, a routine traffic stop, in the predominantly black neighborhood of Watts, led to the arrests of two young black men when the driver failed a sobriety test and became frightened and resistant to the officer. Police backup was brought onto the scene on the belief that the gathering crowd would incite violence. Citizens of Watts perceived the police reaction to the crowd as an excessive use of police force and began to protest. What followed was six days of rebellion known as the Watts Riots. According to Tina, police biases against the residents of South L.A. that paint them in a violent light, continue to cause conflict between the citizens and police to this day.

In recent years, South Los Angeles has seen the rise of gang violence and high poverty rates, which contribute to a larger police presence in the neighborhood. Tina shared that WLCAC strives to connect Watts’s citizens with people and organizations who can assist in rebuilding community trust and improve the economic and social conditions of the area. One way they do this is by building a positive and transparent relationship with police that advocates for citizen’s rights while upholding the law. The Watts Gang Task Force is one such initiative. A community-based group working to reduce gang related crime in Watts, the Watts Gang Task Force is spearheaded by local community members operating in tandem with local elected officials and the LAPD. Utilizing community resources and increasing communication between the public and police, helps reduce crime while enforcing police accountability. Tina’s presentation gave participants a thorough understanding of the grassroots organizations and initiatives in South L.A. that showcase the effectiveness of citizen engagement as an impetus for social and political change.
People-to-People Connections in Action
People-to-people connections are at the heart of all IVCLA programs as we arrange for participants from across the globe to meet with Angelenos professionally in their offices and culturally around their dining room tables. A recent USC Center on Public Diplomacy Blog showcased the important impact people-to-people connections can have in a time of crisis. With millions of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border into Poland to flee the violence of Russia’s invasion, the Polish government has been unable to fund housing for them all. In turn, many Poles are taking it upon themselves to open their homes to the Ukrainian people and assist with other necessary services. As stated in the blog, “as many as 61 percent of all Poles reported getting personally involved in helping refugees - including 63 percent of Law and Justice Party supporters. Increased migration and the opportunities it provides for Poles and Ukrainians to interact on a daily basis have clearly solidified the perception of shared values and aspirations among the two nations. The story of people-to-people ties between Ukrainians and Poles is a powerful reminder of how such linkages are a force multiplier for any bilateral alliance or partnership.”
In September IVCLA looks forward to welcoming an Open World Program from Poland on the topic of Social Inclusion. This people-to-people exchange takes on a special meaning, since for the Open World program, IVCLA members welcome the participants into their homes during their week stay in Greater L.A. It will be especially meaningful to welcome our Polish participants in the wake of everything Polish citizens are doing to assist and house Ukrainian refugees.
If you are interested in hosting a home stay for the Polish Open World participants in September, please email [email protected].
Save the Date #IWOC Alumnae Luncheon
Join us on May 24th at the Omni Hotel in Downtown L.A. for a luncheon with four International Women of Courage Alumnae. The U.S. Secretary of State's annual International Women of Courage Award (#IWOC) 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.

#IWOC Alumnae Arbana Xharra from Kosovo, May Sabe Phyu from Burma, Fadia Najib Thabet from Yemen and Roya Sadat from Afghanistan, will take part in a panel discussion about their work and the impact of the IWOC Award. This event is taking place at the Omni Hotel in Downtown LA. Look out for the event invitation coming to your inbox soon!
IVCLA World Partners
As a facilitator of people-to-people connections, IVCLA’s relationships with program participants don't end when they return home. Through the IVCLA World Partners Program, our goal is to maintain strong ties with our alumni after they return to their home countries and to assist IVCLA members and professional resources in continuing the dialogue with the visitors they met.

IVCLA CEO Janet Elliott recently had the opportunity to meet with an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) alumni from Romania. Gruia Bumbu and his family were on a trip to Los Angeles to celebrate their son’s 14th birthday.

In 2007 Gruia came to the U.S. on the IVLP program Managing Diversity in a Multiethnic Society. Gruia is an exceptional alumnus. After returning to Romania following his program, he established the IVLP Alumni Association of Romania and was nominated as Romania’s Secretary of State and President of the National Agency for the Roma people. Over the years he has been a frequent guest at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting in Washington D.C.

Regarding his 2007 program he shared, “My IVLP experience inspired me and convinced me to fight for the Romanian democratic process in order to empower minority communities and protect their rights.” He and Janet discussed how his work to improve the lives of the Roma minority in Romania has now expanded to helping Ukrainian refugees. He is currently proposing a program in Romania called United for Ukraine and establishing the Tranzit Center for Refugees. Gruia has exciting possibilities to collaborate with Angelenos who would be interested in assisting with the Tranzit Center for Refugees, as well as business opportunities in environmental energy programs. It was a special opportunity to reconnect with Gruia, meet his family and learn about his current work. 
Global LA Hires First CEO
IVCLA is a partner with Global LA a public-private partnership and membership-driven initiative, led by dedicated civic thinkers and doers in partnership with LA28. IVCLA shares great synergy with Global LA as they strive to tell L.A.’s story to the world and build an inclusive L.A. economy for all. They recently announced the exciting news that Debbie Adler has been selected as Global LA’s first President & CEO. Previously Debbie led the UK Department of International Trade’s Creative, Media and Sports Economy team for North America at the UK Consulate in 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. 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 Seminar:

  • This month, the first in-person regional Career Connections Seminar will be taking place in Albuquerque, NM from May 13 - 15. 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.
Summit of the Americas in L.A. June 6 - 9
Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Friday, April 10, 2015.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
On January 19, the White House announced the United States has been selected to host the Ninth Summit of the Americas, with Los Angeles serving as the host city.

The Summit will take place June 6th - 9th and is the only hemispheric meeting of leaders from the countries of the Americas, The Summit, which will focus on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future” for our hemisphere, serves as the most important forum to address our region’s shared challenges and opportunities.
Los Angeles will welcome world leaders from throughout the Americas to promote regional cooperation and address the region’s most pressing issues, including increasing economic competitiveness, improving pandemic response and resilience, promoting a green and equitable recovery, building strong and inclusive democracies, and addressing the root causes of irregular migration. 
Community Events
World Trade Week Southern California is hosting the annual Kickoff Conference on May 5, 2022, from 8 A.M. to 12 P.M. at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.

For over 95 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 annual Kickoff Conference convenes prominent business leaders, diplomats, government and civic officials as we discuss the crucial role of international trade in sustaining our global economy and launch more than 30 events held throughout the month of May by organizations throughout Southern California.
International Opportunities
The American Council on Germany (ACG) is currently seeking applications for its McCloy Fellowship on Global Trends. Through the fellowships, the Council is tackling overarching issues that affect communities around the world – but especially in Germany and the United States – in areas such as equity and social justice, urbanization, climate change and sustainability, digitalization, public health as well as financial concerns such as inflation, trade, and global supply chains.

The fellowships allow American and German experts from journalism, the public sector, think tanks, nonprofits, law, and cultural organizations to research and assess the most pressing topics on the transatlantic agenda while engaging with their counterparts overseas. Fellows receive a $7,000 stipend, which covers transatlantic airfare and domestic travel, as well as room and board, for a minimum of 21 days. 
Candidates for the McCloy Fellowship on Global Trends must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen residing in the United States or a German citizen residing in Germany;
  • Be 40 years of age or younger at the time of the application deadline;
  • Have a minimum of five to eight years of relevant, full-time work experience;
  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent);
  • Demonstrate a track record of outstanding professional performance; and
  • Have a sincere commitment to furthering the transatlantic relationship.

The application deadline is Friday, May 20, 2022
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

MAY 2022
May 7 - 10: Addressing the Needs
of Underserved and At-Risk Youth
Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equitorial Guinea, Honduras, Spain, Venezuela
May 7 - 14: Smart Ports
Argentina, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Israel, Jamaica, Peru, Seychelles, South Africa
May 14 - 18: Dialogue with Mosques
May 24 - 28: Preserving Cultural Heritage
Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia
May 24 - 28: 21st Century Changemakers: Storytelling and Documentary Filmmaking
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
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]!
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