Western Hemisphere Alumni Join Forces To Tackle Regional Issues

October 4, 2011
Johanna Villalobos and Sophia Stergiou Pose for a Photo With WHA IVLP Particiapants

This week, we had the privilege of engaging with 39 leaders, thinkers, and doers from almost every country in the Western Hemisphere in the first regional International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) Advisory Council Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The concept for this conference was a winning project of the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) worldwide competition. The alumni conference supported our strategic efforts to develop partnerships between the countries of the Americas and ensure that not just government officials, but civil society and everyday citizens, participate in the economic and social opportunities in the hemisphere.

Alumni of U.S. government exchange programs such as the IVLP play a crucial role in developing these partnerships by serving as a bridge of understanding between the United States and those in their networks of influence and communities of interest. At the same time, these alumni are able to connect in a thoughtful and substantive way with each other and with us in the United States about how our nations' partnerships should move forward.

In the last four days of the conference, the group of leaders exchanged experiences, analyzed key challenges affecting the region, and recommended paths and solutions to major regional issues. They plan to move forward with analysis and research that they will present to decision/policy makers, issue stakeholders, and the general public. The discussions, presentations, and future collaborations of these exchange alumni plan to focus on the themes of democracy and governance, economic opportunity and prosperity, education and empowerment, and environmental issues. Alumni contributions to this process of communication will guide our partnerships from the abstract to the concrete, and will keep our focus on assistance and cooperation that change people's lives for the better.

One of the most important outcomes of the conference was the creation of a regional advisory council named the IVLP Alumni Network of the Americas (IANA) and the launching of a digital platform to sustain communication and collaboration. IANA will work together to analyze common concerns and generate solutions, while bringing together other IVLP alumni and alumni association representatives, creating synergies with regional associations and local partners, and enlarging the think tank to include other U.S. government program alumni for the benefit of the region and the world.

This is the beginning of an exciting time for our partnership with program alumni and the region, and we are glad to have had the opportunity to be here in Buenos Aires with the group for its inception. We look forward to witnessing the important products and solutions that can contribute to our shared leadership of the hemisphere.



Sandra P.
October 5, 2011

Sandra D. in Colombia writes:

It was a great experience for all of us. An excellent opportunity to begin working together on common problems for our Region, to learn from others and to share our ideals and knowledge. Thanks for all the people who made this possible!

Carlos C.
October 5, 2011

Carlos O. in Mexico writes:

I want to congratulate Sophia and Joanna for this wonderful article, they really describe the core of the convention and the feelings shared by the participants.

I was participating in this Convention, as the delegate from Mexico, in the commite for Education and Empowerment, and I really enjoy a lot the chance to share ideas and projects with partners of all over the Hemisfere, I work in the field of English language in Mexico, and I had a great apportunity to show and learn about the efforts have been doing all around the Continent in this field.

Finally I would like to thank, the State Department, the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and the Organization Team from Buenos Aires for all your support and kindness during our visit to Bs As.

Carlos O.

Cristina B.
October 5, 2011

Cristina B. in Argentina writes:

A great opportunity to meet with colleagues from the region and think about the things that matter in education for the future. Look forward to developing the contacts established!

Ricardo V.
October 5, 2011

Ricardo V. in Argentina writes:

Thank you Johanna and Sophia for your article, your participation, and your support. This has been an extraordinary experience which inspires the whole State Alumni Community to work together.

Bernardo P.
October 6, 2011

Bernardo P. in Argentina writes:

What a great experience !! Very fruitful for all of us. Thanks to the State Department, the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and the Organization Team from Buenos Aires with Ricardo´s leadership.

October 7, 2011

Shiva in India writes:

give me a badge of yours...

October 25, 2011

Norma C. in Honduras writes:

Thank you Johanna and Sophia...you really make a good resume about Convention. It was a formidable time to anylize and share about our comun thoughs about democracy,and the other topics. I back so glad about this great experience and I am sharing to others in my country. Thank you to US goverment and the Argentina team who make a very good job. Best regards!

Ricardo V.
November 1, 2011

Ricardo V. in Argentina writes:

We kindly invite all the State Community to visit IANA's website: "www.ianamericas.org", the IVLP Alumni Network of the Americas.

Become a fan of IANA by clicking "I Like" at: "www.facebook.com/ivlpnetwork", you are really WELCOME!

Warmest regards,


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