Creating international connections
Cultivating local innovation
Activating global potential
November 2021
Expand Your World Today
In This Issue...
  • Quote of the Month
  • 31st Annual Fulbright Luncheon
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Citizen Diplomacy in Action
  • Celebrating Board Member Rima Nashashibi
  • Community Events
  • International Opportunities
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Programs
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Quote of the Month:

“We have to decide whether we’re prepared as societies, as a global community to cooperate and in new ways to solve challenges, like climate and like COVID, that are right on our doorstep — or whether we don’t,”

~From remarks by United Foundations President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens, at the United Nations General Assembly preview event, "Covid, Climate & Cooperation: What Will it Take to Fix Our Fractured World?"
31st Annual Fulbright Luncheon
IVCLA would like to thank all the International Fulbright students, visiting scholars, IVCLA members and the IVCLA Board for joining us at the 31st Annual Fulbright Luncheon! It was wonderful to organize an in-person event once again. Everyone was welcomed to the home of IVCLA Advisory Board Member, Dr. Amarjit Marwah on Saturday, October 16th. A former Fulbright student himself, Dr. Marwah hosts the Annual Fulbright Luncheon to give students and scholars an opportunity to form connections that will last them long into the future.
We were thrilled to help organize such an important event where students from around the globe can meet and share their cultures and customs with one another and our IVCLA members. We were happy to see IVCLA Board Members Wafa Hoballah, Jerry Silva and Lene Martin with us at the event connecting with the international students.
Pictured: Board Member Wafa Hoballah, Dr. Marwah
and Board Member Jerry Silva
Fostering community and connection with like-minded individuals is an important part of this annual luncheon. We were lucky enough to be joined by Youth Ambassador for the World Expo in Dubai, Crystal Rabizadeh. Crystal shared her hopes and goals for her work and the Expo. IVCLA strives to foster meaningful connections between the international community and Angelenos, it is wonderful to see Crystal's passionate dedication to global understanding and connection. We look forward to seeing all that she accomplishes in the future.
Crystal with Mayor Paul Grisanti
Mayor of Malibu, Paul Grisanti, and First Lady, Sara Grisanti, were also in attendance and spoke at length with Crystal about her studies. We were honored to have Honorary Consul of Senegal, Ms. Mame Mbaye, and Turkish Consulate Education Attaché, Mr. Ilhan Coban, in attendance, representing some of the International Fulbright students home countries. The Fulbright Luncheon is just one of the ways IVCLA aims to connect Angelenos to a global community.
Pictured: Turkish Attaché Ilhan Coba, Dr. Marwah
and Honorary Consul Mame Mbaye
Sharing a Global Perspective
Next year IVCLA looks forward to once again welcoming our international participants to Greater Los Angeles. In the meantime, we are continuing to create virtual programming for our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants. While it’s not the same as meeting in person, we are pleased to be able to build dialogue and communication channels with our remarkable visitors from around the world in creative ways. 
LGBTQIA+ Representation in Media
Director of Programs, Spanish-Language and Latinx Media at GLAAD, Monica Trasandes, spoke with participants from Mexico for a regional project on LGBTI Advocacy and Cross-Sectoral Alliances. Monica shared GLAAD's national and global efforts to ensure accurate representation in media and entertainment. As part of her role, Monica provides media training and coaching to community members and leaders to increase representation and awareness in media. 

Monica spoke with the participants about the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in media and entertainment. Ensuring this representation is accessible to media consumers, is crucial for those within the LGBTQIA+ community, especially young people. As a representative for the Latinx and Spanish Language programming at GLAAD, Monica has dedicated much of her time and effort to Latinx LGBTQIA+ issues. As a spokesperson, she has done more than 40 interviews on local, national and international news programs including CNN en Español, Telemundo, Univision and for many radio and print outlets. Monica also worked on a 2010 study that found growing support among Latinx people or LGBTQIA+ issues. 

Monica and the visitors spoke in detail about the realities of LGBTQIA+ issues in media and the Latinx perspective. As a native-speaker of Spanish from Uruguay, Monica was able to converse easily and openly with the participants and explore the ways they can implement LGBTQIA+ perspectives in their work through their common lens. This program and the relationship between Monica and many of the visitors cultivated during the meeting offered an excellent example of the many benefits of the IVLP program. 

As members of the Latinx community both the visitors and Monica were able to foster a unique relationship, they were all thrilled to stay in touch after the program. For a program on representation in media, it was meaningful that the visitors felt represented in the conversation and that it was approached in such a way that understanding and relationships could flourish beyond the program. 
Citizen Diplomacy in Action
Our IVCLA Citizen Diplomats members are amazing people who practice Citizen Diplomacy in many ways. When IVCLA member Judy Smith met an interesting visitor from Uganda at a Rotary Luncheon she decided to create an opportunity to introduce him to her friends. In the process, everyone learned more about each other and the Angelenos gained a better understanding of the plight of homeless youth in Uganda. That’s Citizen Diplomacy in Action! 
An Evening to Remember...
By Judy Smith
Hello, my name is Judy Smith. I am a former Program Officer with IVCLA and also a proud Commissioner with the City of Burbank. Although I am happily retired, I currently serve as the Home Hospitality Volunteer for IVCLA. As a result of arranging countless programs for distinguished international visitors over the years, my worldview has grown and developed tremendously.
Having traveled to the Continent of Africa for both leisure and humanitarian endeavors, I have developed a strong connection with this fascinating part of the world. When an opportunity arises to interact with people from Africa, I feel delighted to do so. Recently I had such an opportunity while attending a Burbank Rotary Club luncheon meeting. To my surprise, a special guest from the Republic of Uganda was also there as a visiting Rotarian. Given the fact I have had the privilege of traveling to both Kenyan and Tanzania with the world-renowned Leakey Foundation, I could tell right away this man was from East Africa. Indeed, his mannerism, his distinct way of expressing himself and his elegance, validated my initial intuition.
As our luncheon concluded, many of us felt deeply compelled to introduce ourselves to this unique guest. I was impressed with the outpouring of kindness, hospitality and generosity that was graciously given to him and I personally enjoyed listening to those gathered around him as they zealously shared their experiences traveling to Africa. I patiently waited for the crowd to thin out in order to talk about my rich and diverse travel experiences throughout Africa.  His name is Noel Thomas Kalunda and he is a passionate marathon runner. His main reason for traveling to the United States was to compete in the 2021 Catalina Island Marathon. Before I knew it, Noel and I were engaged in wonderful conversations centering around my love for Africa. We discussed my trip to Tunisia as the guest of the Minister of Cultural Affairs, my visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo hosted by their Minister of Transportation and Communications, and my most recent humanitarian mission to Senegal.
However, the most important and deeply-moving information I learned was that Noel is the founder of Schools NOT Streets Global, a non-profit educational institution in Uganda dedicated to providing food, shelter, school supplies and quality education to street children and special needs youth.
Listening to Noel brought back so many poignant memories of the children at an orphanage I visited in Dakar, Senegal. Noel strongly believes children from all walks of life have the fundamental rights to quality education, decent housing and a bright future. At that moment, I realized my values were very much aligned with his admirable calling. To me, Noel is a true trailblazer. He is willing to unselfishly take risks in order to blaze a trail and leave a path for others. Noel shared his vision, “I envision a society where all children have sustainable access to social, emotional, and cognitive development in a safe and welcoming environment.” At this point, I just knew I had to arrange a gathering for him to meet some of my dear friends living here in Los Angeles, and in particular my lifelong friend from Tanzania.
The next Saturday evening I arranged a get-together at my home so Noel could meet my guests, Janet Elliott, President of IVCLA, Sunny Singer from the Burbank Rotary, my dear friends Marilyn Jensen-Johnson and Linda Sevilla, and last but not least, my friend from Tanzania, Khalipha Abubakar, blessed us with his presence.
The purpose of the evening was to honor Noel by giving him a platform to present the remarkable work he is doing on behalf of Schools NOT Streets Global. We all viewed with awe a video Noel shared about his program and its ongoing efforts to build a much-needed dormitory for the children. As I watched him interact with my friends and guests, I could not help but feel extremely humbled and greatly inspired to take action. My sentiments were felt by everyone. Khalipha expressed that rather than offering “thoughts and prayers”, he would much rather extend his generosity by committing to purchase desks for Noel’s school. Needless to say, Noel was at a loss for words, and all of us were profoundly touched.
Our gathering was filled with compassion, generosity, love and togetherness. Everyone greatly benefited from each other’s participation and left with a sense of purpose. As Noel was getting ready to return home, he warmly expressed to me his appreciation and gratitude for our wonderful hospitality. Noel also conveyed that he could not wait to get back to Uganda to, not only share but most importantly, help implement some of the great lessons he learned while spending time with us in Los Angeles. His renewed sense of purpose and expanded outlook toward his vision became a unique source of inspiration and reinvigorated fellowship.
This magnificent “evening to remember” was a beautiful reflection of what I hold so dear to my heart. It has strongly reinforced my continued involvement with the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, and why I am so dedicated to the importance of people-to-people diplomacy. In a nutshell, our evening truly embodied the ultimate mission of IVCLA, which promotes international understanding and cooperation between the Los Angeles region and the rest of the world.

Celebrating Board Member Rima Nashashibi
Congratulations to Rima Nashashibi, IVCLA Board Member and Founder & President of Global Hope 365!

Rima was recognized as an Inspirational and Impactful Leader by two wonderful organizations! On October 26th The Los Angeles Times B2B publishing recognized her efforts with their Inspirational Woman Award of 2021 in the non-profit executive category.

Rima also received recognition at the UN Day 2021 on October 23rd by the United Nations Association, OC Chapter as an Impactful Partner in implementing SDG5. Just another step to make a difference to End Child Marriage and Human Trafficking. 
Community Events
International Education Week (IEW), November 15-19, 2021, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) was created in 2000 and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is part of an effort to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences. 

The DOS encourages the participation of all individuals and institutions interested in international education and exchange activities, including schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, associations, and community organizations. Individuals and institutions tend to hold IEW events as it is convenient for them in their local communities. The DOS and The DOE want you to celebrate as much and as often as you like.
Dear IVCLA Friends,
CivitasLA is pleased to share the work of creating and building community and fostering greater civic knowledge and engagement is also a global consideration.  They are grateful that the work of CivitasLA is now reaching listeners in 34 countries beyond the U.S.  
The latest listenership, based on downloads, in order, are: 

United States; India; Canada; Bangladesh; Germany; Korea, Republic of; Belgium; United Kingdom; Indonesia; South Africa; Netherlands; United Arab Emirates; Russian Federation; Australia; Brazil; Greece; Singapore; Chile; Pakistan; Mexico; France; Serbia; Nigeria; Zambia; Japan; Sweden; Nepal; Peru; China; Maldives; Taiwan; Italy; Poland; New Caledonia; Jamaica
IVCLA’s CEO Janet Elliott was honored to have been included as a guest on the podcast. You can check out IVCLA’s Episode #13: Building Global Community through Citizen Diplomacy.

You can listen to episodes on their website,
or stream it on iTunesSpotifyGoogle and Stitcher.
International Opportunities
Get Your Students To Connect With Our Global Staff!

This year, we’re celebrating International Education Week with our first CIEE Global Navigator Virtual Fair. This event offers your students a chance to connect with our staff around the world and hear directly from CIEE alumni!

Whether your students have already applied for next summer or they are simply curious about a country we operate in, this virtual fair is a unique opportunity for an authentic connection with someone local!

Pass the word to your students! All events are free but require pre-registration. The full schedule and details can be found here.
Stay Informed on COVID-19
The COVID-19 vaccines are allowing many countries to begin their path to more normal lifestyles. However, that is not the case for all countries - as the infographic global report in the link below illustrates. IVCLA’s staff and board send good thoughts to all our colleagues and international alumni around the globe. We can all do our part to lend support to others, not only in Los Angeles, but all over the world. This unprecedented global crisis will 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

Free COVID-19 Testing Available for Angelenos HERE

Now Free COVID-19 Vaccination Without Appointment 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

Nov 3-4: A Global Moment in Time:
Peace and Justice
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Georgia, Jordan, Mali, Mexico, New Zealand, Palestinian Territories, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Somalia
Nov 8: 100,000 Strong in the Americas: Expanding Sustainable Education Partnerships
Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates
Nov 12: Film & Television Industry in the U.S: Secrets of American Success
Nov 23: Community, Library, and Youth Engagement Centers and Programs
Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Peru
IVCLA's in-person programming will partially resume in January 2022.
IVCLA’s other exchange programs will resume later this year. 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 works together to put an end to the pandemic, IVCLA continues to reach out and stay in contact with our international alumni. If you are an IVLP Alumni who would like to share your thoughts about your L.A. IVLP 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].
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.
Editor: Eleanor Alberg
Communications & Events Coordinator
Share your comments with me at [email protected]!