International Focus had the privilege of coordinating a special program for a group of 13 high school students from Iraq and their English Professor as they visited Raleigh through World Learning’s Young Leaders Exchange Program. The topics of the concentration were Rule of Law and Social Justice. Several meetings were arranged in the Triangle to give the students a clear understanding of the issues facing both Iraq and the US with respect to social inequality. During their stay, the students had the opportunity to perform volunteer service and directly address low income and homeless recovery at the Interfaith Food Shuttle and the Green Chair Project. The students took part in discussions on human rights, education issues, and cultural considerations associated with social justice. To put into practice what they learned, students participated in Capital Teen Court, and cast ethical judgement with American peers toward juvenile misdemeanor offenders. To relax and enjoy themselves a bit, the students ended the program with a visit to Wrightsville Beach and a night at a Durham Bulls baseball game. The students were happy to have met several American peers and hope to keep in touch with their new friends and host families.
Last month, International Focus hosted visitors from Kyrgyzstan studying Good Governance and Anti-Corruption via the IVLP program. While in the Raleigh area, the group looked at strategies to hold government officials and institutions accountable, discussed the rule of law principles that emphasize integrity in the judicial system, and examined the diverse institutions and strategies to enhance transparency and encourage accountability. A highlight of their stay in the area, the group’s meeting with the Raleigh Police Department included trying on police gear and meeting Raleigh’s police horses.
By Lauren Speranza
As a Program Associate at the International Affairs Council (IAC), which merged with International Focus (IF), I gained a range of practical skills that have launched me into my career path. Organizing logistics and itineraries for diplomats through the IVLP Program, I learned to design and implement cultural-exchange projects under strict deadlines. Liaising with a variety of stakeholders and working as part of a dynamic international team, I improved my communication skills, cultural understanding, and adaptability. Preparing me to work in a fast-paced, high-profile environment, my experience led me to intern at the US Consulate General in Milan, Italy. There, I employed my skills to help organize several large-scale diplomatic events, including the flagship Independence Day Celebration and 2015 EXPO Milano Groundbreaking Ceremony. I continue to draw on my experience as an intern and am sincerely grateful for my time there.
This past month, International Focus hosted a pilot program in conjunction with Global Ties called Mexico Meet America. The program brought over twenty students and faculty from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico.
International Focus in partnership with US Circuit Judge Allyson Duncan had the honor of hosting a delegation of Judges, Law professors, and a Legal Researcher to Raleigh for the last week of July for a seminar on the Rule of Law.
The group also visited Wilmington NC to tour a US Courthouse and Wrightsville Beach. Participants in the group gained extensive knowledge of the state and federal court system and how they operate through each of their meetings.
The group came to the United States as participants in the Open World Leadership program. The program works with Eurasian countries to develop a professional network of leaders who gain significant first-hand experience with US democratic and accountable government system. During their visit delegates were able to interface directly with Magistrates, State Supreme Court Judge Paul Newby, US District Judge James Dever, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Congressman George Holding, and US Circuit Judge Allyson Duncan.
International Focus thanks Hon. Allyson K. Duncan for hosting the Mongolian Delegation and Open World Executive Director John O'Keefe for joining International Focus in our Rule of Law program. We also thank all IF members who have opened their homes to homestays for the visitors.