Creating international connections.
Cultivating local innovation.
Activating global potential.
October 2020
Expand Your World Today
In This Issue...
  • Quote of the Month
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Two Minutes with... Board Member Jacki Ueng
  • Welcome IVCLA Virtual Intern
  • Help IVCLA Represent the USA at Dubai World Expo
  • IVCLA Featured on CivitasLA Podcast
  • Member Highlight: Devorah Luna Palomeque
  • Don’t Forget to VOTE on November 3rd
  • International Opportunities
  • Community Events
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Virtual Programs
Click the button below to check out our past newsletters:
Quote of the Month:

“I think there is a perception that Americans can be quite parochial, particularly post-Trump election. That has not been my experience at all. Everyone I encountered on the program seemed informed and open-minded about the world.”

~ Alexander Lewis, a visitor from Australia on a 2018 program about Integrity in Journalism: New and Traditional Media in the Digital Age
Sharing a Global Perspective
This year is IVCLA's 40th Anniversary, and it also marks the 80th Anniversary of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program's (IVLP) which is the primary program IVCLA coordinates. The theme of the IVLP Anniversary celebration is #FacesofExchange. Throughout 2020 this initiative will be recognizing 80 outstanding IVLP alumni. We are pleased to share two of IVCLA’s alumni who have been recognized for this honor.

IVCLA's 80 Faces of Exchange Alumni
Growing up in Guatemala, Magdalena Waleska Aldana Segura was often the only female in her physics class. She took her love of science and built a successful career as a university professor teaching physics and mentoring students interested in science-related careers.

Through workshops that have been attended by more than 4,000 high school students and 350 professors, she encourages women’s involvement in fields where they are underrepresented. Waleska credits the IVLP as a driving force behind her recent activism. As part of the 2017 #HiddenNoMore IVLP project, her Los Angeles program included meetings at UCLA, California Science Center, and discussion panels hosted by Expert Dojo's founder Brian Mac Mahon and 21st Century Fox Women in Tech (WIT).

The contacts through the IVLP have helped take her workshops to the next level, allowing her to organize conferences for children, and provided the opportunity to speak at a prestigious STEAM conference in Chicago. Her involvement in the Guatemalan Women in Science Association, the Association for American Advancement of Science, and her long career as a university professor ensures that Waleska is illuminating the future of STEAM education by empowering one woman at a time.

Originally from Ghana, Dr. Mamudu Bugre immigrated to Malta in 1990 where he works closely with African migrant, immigrant, and refugee communities. Mamudu is one of the government's key advisors and promotes integration into Maltese society. He has addressed a number of international conferences on issues related to migration such as social inclusion, language and literacy, employment, and community support.

In 2010, Mamudu came to Los Angeles for an IVLP focused on immigration and refugee issues in the U.S. His program included meetings with the L.A. County's Office of Protocol, LAUSD Division of Adult and Career Education, Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service, Jewish Vocational Service (now named JVS SoCal). The exchange inspired him to establish two NGOs, the Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants and the Third Country National Support Network Malta (TSN Malta).

As the first network of its kind in Malta, TSN Malta has made amazing strides with a membership of 15 migrant and immigrant organizations that bring together African, Arab, Eastern European, Chinese and Filipino communities. Providing direct support to the communities, as well as training and capacity building to its member organizations, it remains a model of best practices for other European Union Members States. In fact TSN Malta was selected as a Best Practice in a European Community co-funded project and in 2012, the President of Malta awarded Mamudu with the highest honor for service to the Republic of Malta.
Although we are not able to welcome our international visitors to the L.A. area at this time, IVCLA is pleased to announce we will be providing our first virtual IVLP programming for participants from Trinidad & Tobago and Kenya this month! We are excited to be entering this new virtual programming space as we get back to connecting international influencers and change-makers to their LA counterparts. We look forward to host more virtual IVLPs until it is safe to resume in-person programs.

October Virtual IVLP Program

October 22:

The Trinidad & Tobago participants are key individuals working to develop rehabilitation and reintegration plans for both adult and youth foreign fighters who are returning home. They are a diverse group, some working with religious and community based organizations, while others are with the government of Trinidad & Tobago. Their virtual time in Los Angeles will focus on the rehabilitation and reintegration of former gang members here, which is analogous to the challenges of their work with returning ISIS terrorist fighters.

October 28:

The goal for the Kenyan participants’ program is to share best practices for crafting national security policy that is rules based, transparent, and inclusive. Their program will highlight the importance of promoting democratic values for Kenya and the broader East African region, so they may return with a better understanding about developing a national security policy that includes voices from all segments of Kenyan society.
Two Minutes with... Board Member Jacki Ueng
We are pleased to provide the sixth 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 one of IVCLA's newest Board Members Jacki Ueng,Vice President of Business Development at Ticor Title and creator of the travel blog Bohemian Vagabond.
IVCLA: What do you find most compelling about IVCLA’s mission and work?

JU: I love the baseline of being a “Welcoming Committee” to those visiting Los Angeles. I love the interconnectedness to countries across the world, the alliances formed, the cultural exchanges, the various relevant topics being discussed at events and meetings. I like that it also collaborates with the Mayor’s office and with embassies. The diversity in ethnicity, cultural backgrounds and careers of the IVCLA Board members is also very appealing.

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? 

JU: Everything you mentioned above, in addition to global education and literacy access to every child in the world to at least high school graduation. Also empowering women in leadership, alleviating chronic poverty & hunger and eliminating human trafficking.

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

JU: I would drive them around the various ethnic districts and take them for a few meals. It really shows the beauty and diversity of LA: Thai Town, Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Filipino Town, Little Tokyo and Japan Town all the way to San Gabriel Valley where large Taiwanese and Chinese communities reside.

IVCLA: Describe one of your most interesting/rewarding experiences while traveling in another country.

JU: Meeting people of completely different backgrounds yet connecting one on one. Seeing the human element – that we are all born the same way and are fed and nurtured by our parents until we are grown, all humans wish for happiness in their lives as well as to find purpose and meaning to their lives. We all enjoy eating, and most love to eat with others. When we see these basic human elements, all the physical identity and labels disappear; borders and religious differences don’t seem as heavy anymore.
IVCLA: What is one (or more) of your most treasured objects that you acquired while visiting another country?

JU: I have many small souvenirs I purchased throughout my travels. But the most recent ones are some dolls I bought in Iran. They are just so adorable and remind me of my two weeks there in July 2019.

IVCLA: What country/culture would you like to explore one day, and why is it on your “bucket list”?

JU: I have been to almost 60 countries but have yet to visit Japan. I had a trip planned in May 2020 but canceled because of this pandemic. I will go there as soon as they accept American visitors. I also want to visit Russia, Mongolia, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, all the “–stan” countries…well really every country in the world!

IVCLA: Where are you planning to travel internationally next and what do you hope to discover/experience?

JU: I have a one month trip booked to Lebanon. This will be my third time in four years. I love the countries of the Mediterranean and Middle-East: They are just so different than the US. The food is amazing as well as the emphasis on family values and community. I’m very drawn to the sea and weather there, and just generally feel happier when I’m in that part of the world.

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?

JU: That only 27% of the American population voted for Trump in 2016. And that not all Americans represent the current administration, nor the hatred that comes with it. I think that most people of other nations know that, but it needs to be reinforced. I have had so many conversations while traveling abroad on this topic.
The U.S has its flaws, but there are still beautiful elements here. I believe the American dream is still alive. As a Taiwanese-Chinese-American daughter of immigrant parents who relocated here in 1980, I have been blessed to be educated in the U.S. I have had the opportunity to build a lucrative, creative career in real estate as well as to start a travel blog. I’m not sure there are many countries in the world where I could have expanded the way I have.

In most major U.S. cities, diversity is celebrated. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done, but we cannot discredit the progress we have made: three steps forward, one step back.

IVCLA: What gives you the greatest reward when having informal dinner discussions with IVCLA international participants? 

JU: Meeting like-minded, globally-minded individuals.

IVCLA: What role would you like to see IVCLA play in helping the world heal following the COVID-19 pandemic? 

JU: To give accurate up to speed information on how to prevent spread of COVID-19 and to host seminars with experts.
Welcome New IVCLA Virtual Intern

IVCLA is thrilled to introduce our new virtual Intern, Emma Polidori. Emma is currently a junior at Pepperdine University studying International Business through the school’s Global Fellows Program. She spent last year studying abroad in Shanghai, China advancing her Chinese language skills and interning for a nonprofit organization that supports women who have been victims of the trafficking industry. Emma has a passion for service work and she finds studying new languages and cultures inspiring. In her free time Emma enjoys traveling, reading and hanging out with close friends and family.

When asked why she was interested in interning with IVCLA, Emma said, "[I have a] love for diplomacy and cultivating cross-cultural relationships that emphasize the importance of international trust, understanding and cooperation."
Help IVCLA Represent the USA at Dubai World Expo
The 2020 World Expo scheduled to be held in Dubai has been postponed until 2021 and we are thrilled the U.S. will be one of the 192 countries hosting a pavilion at the Expo.


Sharing ideas and building understanding between nations and peoples is an important component of World Expos. IVCLA is honored, as part of the Global Ties U.S. network, to be participating in the preparations for the U.S. Pavilion - Faces of America. IVCLA will assist in recruiting a diverse group of Angelenos between the ages of 18 & 29 (Youth Ambassadors may be no older than 29 as of August 1st 2021) to serve as Youth Ambassadors. We will also nominate Cultural Performers, who will perform and interact with visitors at the Pavilion.

The theme for the Dubai Expo is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. The Youth Ambassadors and Cultural Performers will play a major role in providing the human connections to build a better understanding about the United States. A total of 75 Youth Ambassadors and 390 Cultural Performers, who may be individuals or groups, will be selected from across the U.S.

(The Expo was originally scheduled to begin October 2020 but due to the pandemic was rescheduled for October 2021 through March 2022. Although rescheduled to begin next year, the Expo officially retains the name Expo 2020 Dubai.) 

The selection process for Youth Ambassadors will take place between now and February 26, 2021, with final selections made in May 2021. Youth Ambassadors, who will serve as guides and cultural ambassadors at the U.S. Pavilion, must be U.S. citizens ages 18-29. They will provide a human connection to the United States and its territories, reflecting our geographic and cultural diversity. Youth Ambassadors must be energetic, friendly, and people-oriented, as they will serve as the face of America to millions of Expo visitors. Although not required, the ideal Youth Ambassador would be multilingual in English and another language. The following languages may be particularly useful: Arabic, Mandarin, Farsi, Hindi, Russian, Urdu, Bengali, French, or Spanish. All applications will be reviewed, regardless of language skills.

Serving as a Youth Ambassador is a volunteer opportunity, there is no paid salary. However airfare, housing, and a $300 weekly per diem will be provided. Those selected will be assigned to one of three timelines:

Full Term: September 16, 2021 - April 2, 2022
Fall Term: September 16, 2021 - January 16, 2022
Spring Term: January 8, 2022 - April 2, 2022
(Exact dates may be subject to change)

Applications will need to include:
  • contact information of 4 references (2 professional, 2 character)
  • a resume or CV
  • an unofficial transcript of your current or most recently completed degree
  • a "one way interview" video submission of yourself (max. 15 minutes)

If you are interested in submitting an application to serve as a Youth Ambassador contact Janet Elliott at for more details. IVCLA will not make the final selections but will recommend Youth Ambassador candidates to Global Ties U.S.
IVCLA Featured on CivitasLA Podcast
Former Chair of the IVCLA Board, Dwayne Gathers, recently launched a new project from Gathers Strategies, Inc., the CivitasLA podcast. The goal of CivitasLA, is to identify diverse and emerging leaders throughout the greater Los Angeles region who are making a difference in the lives of their communities and to broaden the number of voices in the region’s civic conversation. Dwayne explains, “CivitasLA is about celebrating the good news of our region and those who are showing up and doing the work; and hopefully inspires others to participate in and support that work; or, perhaps others may seek to replicate what they learn and expand on it in their own all, building a stronger, more resilient, and connected and engaged group of citizens.”

IVCLA’s CEO Janet Elliott was a recent guest on the podcast. Check out Episode #13: Building Global Community through Citizen Diplomacy. You can listen to our episode and others on their website, or stream on iTunes, Spotify, Google and Stitcher.
Member Highlight: Devorah Luna Palomeque
During this time of uncertainty supporting local businesses have become more important than ever. IVCLA Member Devorah Luna Palomeque has gone one step further. Devorah, a Business Consultant and Sales Strategist with experience in domestic and international endeavors, helped local Los Angeles restaurant Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant to rebrand and revamp their business.

Devorah shared, “I spearheaded this effort after realizing how many small businesses are barely staying afloat and don't have the money, the energy, or the time to seek the assistance needed to survive. Small businesses are important to communities as they are local and offer the sense of a neighborhood to residents. I knew my business expertise could help.” Devorah, with the help of Marketing Consultant and Social Media Strategist Jascha Jade and Fashion photographer and Social Media Consultant John Raedeke, provided services (free of charge!) to assist the restaurant. This included: reviewing and streamlining the present business operation to increase profitability, upgrading social media, revising their website, and updating any necessary print materials. Thanks to the efforts of Devorah and her team, Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant has already experienced an increase in sales!

If you’d like to place an order, you may use Grubhub, Doordash, Seamless, Ubereats or Postmates, or order online through their website.
Don't Forget to VOTE on November 3rd!
“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day 2020. Make sure that you are registered to vote here, or register here by October 19th. This year's election will decide, among other things, our 46th President. California will be mailing ballots to registered voters this year beginning on October 5th, so please check your mailbox. If you have moved since the last election or to verify your voter status please check the California Secretary of State website here.

It’s important for all Americans to use our voices to advocate for a more equal and just society where all residents can thrive. In this upcoming election, every vote counts! Collectively, voters have the ability to impact the system in a way that advocates for equality and champions for systemic change.

Important links:

Find your local voting centers HERE

Learn how to vote by mail HERE

Learn how to return your vote-by-mail ballot HERE
International Opportunities
Celebrate IVLP's 80th anniversary! Join the U.S. Department of State as they host an interactive, virtual session about the role of exchange programs in global power dynamics and diplomacy. The session will include two networking opportunities with breakout rooms where you can meet with representatives from a variety of organizations.  Read more here.

When: Thursday, October 29, 2020; 8:30AM Pacific Time/11:30AM Eastern Time
Community Events
Join the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) on October 15th for a discussion on how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)'s can take advantage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA officially replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on July 1, 2020.

The USMCA includes a new chapter on SMEs to support and enhance SME participation in North American Trade. The USMCA also includes a state-of-the-art Intellectual Property chapter that provides stronger IPR protection for U.S. companies. The speakers will address the differences and key changes from NAFTA, explain key SME and IP provisions, and how California SMEs can use these provisions to expand their business with Mexico and Canada.

When: Thursday, October 15, 2020; 9:00 - 10:00AM Pacific Time
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. If you have made connections with IVCLA International Visitors over the years, now is a good time to reach out to see how they are doing. 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
Upcoming International Virtual Programs
The following virtual programs have been arranged by the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles in partnership with the U.S. Department of State

Oct 22 - Nov 12: Returnee Rehabilitation and Reintegration
Trinidad and Tobago
Oct 28: U.S. Foreign Policy
In-person IVLP has been postponed until April 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