U.S. Society, Culture, and Education – A Project for El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua

U.S. Society, Culture, and Education IVLP Participants in a group photo

On Wednesday, August 2 Meridian International Center welcomed 4 visitors from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for a ten day long International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Made up of cultural center representatives, the group participated in the program to learn more about managing similar institutions, forming programs through public-private partnerships, and engaging local community members. During this IVLP the participants also connected with English language instructors, gained a greater understanding of American culture and history, and witnessed U.S. multi-cultural diversity. In order to accomplish these goals, the participants first convened in Washington, DC before departing for New York, NY; Santa Fe, NM; and Montgomery, AL.

While in Washington, the participants were able to engage with a representative from the National Endowment for the Arts and discuss the U.S. government's support for culture and the arts. They were also given an overview and a tour of the Library of Congress, a briefing on the history and components of the Smithsonian Institution, and an introduction to the National Endowment for Humanities and their role in supporting culture, history, and the humanities in the U.S. After a couple of appointments at the State Department, the visitors took a bus to New York City to enjoy a weekend of cultural activities before traveling on to Santa Fe.

Our partner, the Santa Fe Council on International Relations (SFCIR), organized the local itinerary in Santa Fe. Highlights there included a meeting with residents from Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to one of 19 indigenous peoples in New Mexico; TESOL Trainers, Inc., a education consulting company that provides professional development and teacher training to education institutions; and Babel Education, a non-profit organization that supports individuals and institutions that strive to become multi-lingual and multi-cultural. Prior to their departure for Montgomery, the participants were hosted for a dinner by a local volunteer.

Global Ties Alabama received the visitors for their final city stop and scheduled their local itinerary. While there, the participants met with Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange to get an overview of economic development in Alabama and how the city supports its cultural partners. Additional appointments were scheduled with the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture; the Alabama Department of Archives and History; and the Lowndes County Interpretive Center. Before returning home and to their respective cultural centers, the visitors participated in a volunteer activity with the Salvation Army of Montgomery, Alabama.

Taos Pueblo-Access-CARSI Indigenous Virtual Conference

Taos Pueblo-Access-CARSI Indigenous Conference

Recently on October 26, 2017 the IVLP participants partnered up with SFCIR, Taos Pueblo, and several Native American schools in their respective countries to host a virtual conference. The idea for the conference came about while the visitors met with Taos, where they sought to facilitate a cultural video exchange between indigenous students in each country with Native American students in Taos.

The program was opened with remarks from the U.S. Embassy Ambassador in San Jose, Ms. Sharon Day, after which each institution thanked the Ambassador and introduced themselves. Following the introduction, the program included prepared presentations from each country, each of which represented various aspects of their respective countries including food, dance, music, folk tales, and history among others. In addition, representatives from Taos Pueblo provided a comprehensive presentation on the history of the Pueblo, its architecture, and its customs.

The Santa Fe Council on International Relations hopes to work again with the IVLP participants and host a follow up event to this conference in the future.

Read more about the conference here!


Project summary

U.S. Society, Culture, and Education – A Project for El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua | August 2017
Number of Visitors: 4
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Global Leadership
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector