Creating international connections
Cultivating local innovation
Activating global potential
September 2021
Expand Your World Today
In This Issue...
  • Quote of the Month
  • Sharing a Global Perspective
  • Information on Afghanistan
  • 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • Community Events
  • Stay Informed on COVID-19
  • Upcoming International Programs
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Quote of the Month:

“I personally learned a lot of impressive things about the American culture, but the most important one is that Americans have a great ability to adapt to different cultures. They share everything they know with others and they are always here to help.”

-- Mouaad Boulakhbar, a visitor from Morocco on the Startups and the U.S. Entrepreneurship Ecosystem program, Jan 15-17th, 2020
Sharing a Global Perspective
In the coming months IVCLA looks forward to once again welcoming our international participants to Greater Los Angeles on a limited basis. 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. 
Combatting Trafficking in Persons
a Conversation with the Thai CDC
By Emilia Miller
IVCLA Branding & Communications Intern
In a recent IVLP program on "Strengthening Saudi Arabian Institutions to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Domestic Violence", participants attended a poignant virtual meeting with the Thai Community Development Center arranged by IVCLA. Speakers from the Thai CDC included founder and director Chancee Martorell, Panida Rzonca, and Phatchara Udomsin. During the meeting, attendees gained great insight into the technical aspects of tackling human trafficking within the United States.
Pictured Above: Thai El Monte Garment Workers
The Thai Community Development Center (CDC) was founded in 1994 at a time when there was an urgent need for culturally and linguistically appropriate social and human services. Today, the Thai CDC continues to provide Los Angeles’ Thai community with social services, education and advocacy, and economic development strategies. The August 12th IVLP meeting specifically highlighted the Thai CDC's role in the 1995 El Monte case and commitment to combatting human trafficking. The El Monte case represented 72 Thai immigrants who were found trapped in an illegal garment sweatshop, having been held there for seven years. Photos of overcrowded bedrooms, barbed-wire-lined fences, and censored letters evidenced the devastating conditions the smuggled workers faced. The Thai CDC participated in liberating all of them. After the workers attained freedom, the Thai CDC continued to fight for housing, education, legal, and immigration services. The CDC's unwavering efforts to assure the freed workers had access to necessary resources, helped them on the path to success. Those at Thai CDC said they are proud of all the survivors have achieved today. At the end of the presentation, IVLP participants engaged in a thoughtful discussion on topics such as finding legal representation and encouraging cross-boundary government cooperation on issues of human trafficking.

The Thai CDC’s presentation was impactful, reminding IVLP participants of the dangers of human trafficking which continues to grow, largely unabated. As this fight continues, attendees will have a new appreciation for the value of community-based organizations, not only in liberation and prosecution, but also in providing resources for a sense of safety in a new community.

Maritime Governance in Los Angeles and Indonesia
A Conversation with Sgt. Kamal Ahmad of the LACSD
In regions with large expanses of open coastlines, such as Los Angeles, governing these waterways requires a great deal of collaboration and cooperation. As a means of expanding the network of collaboration, IVCLA hosted 11 IVLP participants from Indonesia for a program on "Enhancing Maritime Governance". The program exposed personnel from Indonesian maritime agencies to best U.S. practices for maritime governance, including but not limited to interagency coordination for responses to maritime emergencies.
The participant's first meeting for the Los Angeles portion of the program was with Sgt. Kamal Ahmad of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Sgt. Ahmad leads the Maritime Unit Task Force for the Sheriff’s Department. According to Sgt. Ahmad, the task forces’ main concerns are terrorist and cartel trafficking activity. He said there is a big problem with cartels transporting people into the U.S. and then forcing them into slave labor on illegal Marijuana farms to pay off the debt. The Maritime Task Force works to gather intelligence and intercept these cartels along the coast.

Sgt. Ahmad also shared that drug trafficking is another big issue for them. Fentanyl has recently become a major concern, as it is easily airborne and poses a great risk to the health and wellbeing of their officers. The Indonesian visitors shared their common concerns in regards to drug trafficking and the dangers it poses to maritime security and safety.

The participants from Indonesia were unfamiliar with the role of the Sheriff’s Department in relation to the police. As such, the conversation diverged to a discussion about the differences between the Sheriff's Department and the Police Departments. Sgt. Ahmad explained that the sheriff is an elected official in charge of the county as a whole, with unelected sheriffs deputies and personnel, whereas police have jurisdiction by city and are not run by an elected official.

IVCLA also had the pleasure of arranging a virtual home hospitality for a few of the Indonesian participants with IVCLA members Karim Gowani and Andrea D’Orazio. The participants and our home hosts enjoyed a friendly discussion about some of their favorite foods, activities, and interests. One visitor recommended a specialty coffee from Indonesia, Gayo, known for its low acidity and sweet flavor.
Information on Afghanistan
The situation for the Afghan people is tragic. Over the years many Afghans have been participants in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). We know some of you have stayed in touch with your IVCLA Afghani home hospitality guests, and in some cases, they have recently reached out to you for assistance in leaving Afghanistan. The Department of State is continuing its work assisting former Afghan IVLP and other U.S. exchange program participants who are still trying to leave the country. We want to do all we can for our Afghan colleagues and will continue to provide our members with updates via our newsletter and social media on additional ways to assist as the situation unfolds.

There are many Los Angeles organizations that work to set-up housing and funding for refugees fleeing to the U.S. and they will be working to assist the Afghan refugees who come to Greater Los Angeles. The International Rescue Committee has provided a bulleted list of ways to assist with the Afghan refugee crisis including donating money and supplies, opening your home to refugees, or property rentals for landlords, as well as other volunteer opportunities to assist with Afghan resettlement in Los Angeles here
The Tiyya Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to supporting the families of displaced individuals and helping refugees, immigrants and displaced indigenous peoples resettle in the U.S. The Tiyya Foundation has put together an informational presentation on ways to help refugees in your community.
Angelenos at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics came to a close last month with Team USA gathering a total of 113 medals: 39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze. Over 100 representatives from Southern California participated in the Olympics representing numerous countries and secured 55 medal wins. See the breakdown of SoCal Olympic contenders here.

A large percentage of SoCal contenders hailed from the USC and UCLA schools. From USC, there were 65 Olympic contenders and50 from UCLA 50, including coaches and staff. USC Trojans past and present won a total of 11 gold medals, 5 silver, and 5 bronze. The UCLA Bruins won a total of 7 gold medals, 7 silver, and 2 bronze!

Enjoy this last week of the Tokyo Paralympics!

Learn more about USC at the Olympics HERE!

Learn more about UCLA at the Olympics HERE!
Community Events
The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is hosting a virtual program with the nation's number-two diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. Wendy Sherman has circumnavigated the globe twice since being sworn in this April. In July, she was the first senior Biden-Harris administration official to visit the People's Republic of China for wide-ranging diplomatic talks.

Deputy Secretary Sherman will reflect on her travels and share insights into the Biden-Harris administration's Indo-Pacific strategy. Following her remarks, the Deputy Secretary will be joined in conversation by Willow Bay, Dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

This program will take place online
Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

RSVP Below!
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

Sept 2: 21st Century ChangeMakers: Education Leaders Advance Civic Engagement Among High School Youth
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Tajikistan, Ukraine
Sept 9: Promoting Cybersecurity
Algeria, Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Togo, Zimbabwe
In-person programming for IVLP participants will fully 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 Victoria Meza 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.