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Join us for a special Cocktails and Conversation

“North Carolina’s Diversity: One Person’s Experience as a Second Generation Immigrant”
Sunday, February 28 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm

Jay ChaudhuriInternational Focus invites our members to enjoy an evening that promises rousing conversation with old friends, connections with new friends, and an opportunity to avail themselves to a new way of looking at diversity and the American experience.

On Sunday, February 28th, IF Members Tilak and Aruna Shah are hosting a cocktail party and discussion on the theme “North Carolina’s Diversity: One Person’s Experience as a Second Generation Immigrant”. After the social hour, special guest, Mr. Jay Chaudhuri will speak briefly on his experiences with Mr. Todd Culpepper moderating. A short Q&A will follow.

Jay Chaudhuri was a 2003 German Marshall Fellow, serves on the advisory board of Elon Law, and is a current candidate for state Senate. He has served as a Special Counselor to the Attorney General and later as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor to the Treasurer for the State of North Carolina. He has also taught as adjunct law professor for North Carolina Central University and is on the Harvard Institutional Investor Advisory Board. Most recently he has served as Chair of the Council of Institutional Investors, an association of pension funds with combined assets of more than $3 trillion that serves as the leading voice for effective corporate governance and strong shareholder rights.

For more information about this event, please contact Sam Lasris, and a formal invitation with address, driving directions and special details will be sent to you.

Not an International Focus Member? For more details on the benefits of membership in International Focus and how to become a member, contact Sam Lasris or see our Become A Member page. As a member of International Focus, you will not only enjoy complementary access to events like these but discounted entry to other special events we host and chances to engage with emerging leaders, entrepreneurs, and dignitaries from North Carolina and across the globe.

Thai Group Explores American Style Elections

ThaivisitorsA young and dynamic delegation representing four political parties in Thailand came to Raleigh to discuss elections and ethical practices. Though only here for a short trip, they were warmly welcomed with a day of home hospitality. Their program consisted of an array of meetings covering political party management, social media and outreach, and emerging leaders in North Carolina outreach. They also discussed ethical elections with the State Board of Elections.

Program of the Month: November

Multi-Regional Group Explores Prosperity through Entrepreneurship

IVLP LogoState DeptAmUnderground

This November, International Focus was fortunate to host an IVLP Multi-regional Group whose focus was “Entrepreneurship as the Engine for Stability and Prosperity”. With these five visitors from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, and Tajikistan IF also welcomed back one of its cherished liaisons, Marcelo Gandaria. The group spent a day in Raleigh, Durham, and Pittsboro. The group's visit also overlapped with IF's first Conversation and Coffee Hour which allowed the group to learn of Raleigh's rich diversity. The group described their visit to North Carolina as refreshing; noting their day in Durham with Scott Kelly, a new IF contact and Co-Founder of Durham's Start-Up High, as the best of their program yet. We would like to extend a thank you to all IF Members and professionals who made this program such a success.

International Focus Fostering International Leaders

A Look at our Program Alumni

We often look back at our accomplishments at years end and at International Focus we are no exception. Due to the work of our members, staff, and volunteers over the past decades, we have made an impact not only on lives here in North Carolina but on people world over. The men and women you graciously host in your businesses and homes and whom your efforts have brought to the US are the next generation of national and world leaders. Many of the visitors you have met during your time as members of International Focus (and previously as the International Affairs Council) may surprise you with the heights they have reached.


  • Dr. Okengó Matiangi of Kenya: Politics and Parties, 2004 – Cabinet Secretary of Information, Communication and Technology
  • Mr. Saliou Toure of Cote d’Ivoire: Education, 1998 – University President

Central and Southeast Asia:

  • Mr. Muktar Kul-Mukhammed of Kazakhstan: Print Journalism, 1996 – Secretary of State
  • Mr. Ananth Kumar of India: Politics and Parties, 1997 – Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers

East Asia and Oceania:

  • Hon. Samuel Basil of Papua New Guinea: Federalism and US Government, 2009 – Cabinet Minister
  • Ms. Sarina Sasingian of Papua New Guinea: Advancing Human Rights, 2011 – Legal Officer and Executive Director
  • Mr. Randolf David of the Phillipines: Political Science, 1998 – Professor of Sociology


  • Mr. Eugen Carpov of Moldova: Foreign Policy, 2000 – Deputy Prime Minister
  • Mr. Nezdet Mustafa of Macedonia: Public Administration, 2003 – Cabinet Minister
  • Ms. Angelika Niebler of Germany: Trade, 2000 – Member of European Parliament
  • Mr. Marcel Ruducan of Moldova: Federalism and US Government, 1999 – Minister of Construction and Territorial Development

Latin America:

  • Mr. Guillermo Perez of Honduras: Judicial System, 1999 – Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Justice of Supreme Court

Program of the Month: October

IVLP -Young Leaders from the East Asia and Pacific Region

NC General AssemblyThe Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal that encompasses much of the Asian-Pacific Region as well as the United States to work to bring down the trading barriers that exist amongst these countries. Late September brought in a diverse group of professionals that all specialized in this particular trade agreement. With the deal having such an impact on various industries, the North Carolina leg of the IVLP visit was as diverse as the participants.


Their first meeting was with a representative of the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association to discuss the impacts of treaties on this North Carolina industry. 

The delegation continued with the theme of agriculture when they arrived at the North Carolina Farm Bureau and met with IF Board member Debbie Hamrick whom was instrumental in bringing together several great minds to discuss the impacts on the industry as a whole. The group finished their afternoon at North Carolina State University in a roundtable discussion with Dr. Mark Nance and Dr. William Boettcher of the School of Public and International Affairs. This lively discussion was educational for both sides of the table.

The Asian-Pacific group began their next day with a meeting at the News & Observer where several of the journalists amongst the group enjoyed a discussion with the Business Editor. From there, the North Carolina House of Representatives warmly welcomed the visitors with a standing ovation during Session following a meeting with Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Stam and John Loyack of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

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