#FacesOfExchange: IVLP 80th Anniversary

In 2020 we celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) with the testimonies of the #FacesOfExchange that participated in it. This initiative aims to enhance mutual understanding through communication, interaction, and the exchange of ideals and information at a personal and professional level. Fully funded by the U.S. State Department, the program takes participants from across the world to the U.S. to meet and interact with their American partners.

In January, we highlighted the #ExchangeAlumni Gonçalo Azevedo Silva, founder of Gap Year Portugal. In 2016, he was invited by the US State Department to participate in the IVLP program, which had the theme “NGOs and Civic Activism”. Here he had the opportunity to contact twenty other leaders, open up his horizons and deepen his vision of how to have a concrete impact on his community.

February: Paulo Vieira is an education consultant at the Aga Khan Portugal Foundation. Of his experience, Paul said: “In 2017, I successfully submitted a project to the “Alumni Small Grants Program”, with the theme of interculturality. The proposed project was a contribution to social inclusion, through the application of arts through dance workshops and traditional African music, including non only the children who participated in this as well as their parents, teachers and the general public. During the IVLP program, I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC, New York, Pensacola (Florida), Louisville (Kentucky) and Seattle (Washington), benefiting from direct contact with politicians, researchers, social activists and a wide range of professionals and local communities through voluntary activities. I was inspired by the scholarship and the mentor project, with the youth activities provided, civic training and volunteering. I continue to keep in touch with 14 of my colleagues, from various European countries, who are leading social impact activities. We are a kind of community, connected by a social network. ”

Photo credits: © João Pedro Correia – Photographer – Lisbon, Portugal

March: Catarina Rodrigues, RTP journalist, is another one of the #FacesOfExchange! She participated in the Promoting Discerning Consumers of Media program in 2018, which she says gave her “a broader perspective on the power of journalism” and made her “more aware of the power of communication, which gave me the strength to continue pursuing my goals. “. She has a strong interest in human rights, and is also a co-founder of the “Chicas Poderosas” project.

Apolónia Rodrigues from Reserva DARK SKY Alqueva is one of the faces of #FacesofExchange, highlighted in April. In the words of Apolónia “Participating in the #IVLP program helped me to shape and implement Dark Sky® Patrol to protect the night sky.” She was recently awarded the “The Bizz Award” and the “The Peak of Success” by WORLDCOB, both for the excellence of her professional and personal performance and for her innovative leadership. Congratulations!

In May, we announced another #FacesofExchange. Isabel Capeloa Gil is the current Rector of the Portuguese Catholic University, and President of the International Federation of Catholic universities, a position that was first occupied by a woman. She is also the first non-American woman to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Boston College, USA.

In June, the month that marks LGBTI Pride, we presented another face of #FacesofExchange. Nuno Pinto is a human rights activist, in particular in promoting equality and rights in the LGBTI community. In 2015, Nuno participated in the IVLP program together with 20 more LGBTI activists from around the world.

The U.S. Department of State celebrates # Pride2020 and the many contributions from #LGBTI citizens. Coming from many communities, we are one people. Coming from many communities, we are one – the U.S. Department of State is committed to protecting human rights!

Filipe Rocha, one of the founders of the Azores Wine Company, is one of the #FacesofExchange that we highlighted in July. Before starting this exchange program, Filipe was Director of the São Miguel Island Hotel School. Two years after returning from this trip to New York, Washington DC, North Carolina and California visiting several hospitality NGOs and professional institutes, Filipe has been working exclusively on expanding his business and contributing to the economy of Pico island.

Maria Miguel Ferreira, Advisor to the Minister of Culture, was the #FacesofExchange of August. As a former Director of StartUpPortugal, she participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on “Design, Entrepreneurship and Innovation” in the USA, which provided her with an opportunity to visit and interact with a diverse group of organizations and leaders, to have a better understanding of various collaboration mechanisms defined by various innovation centers in the United States.

In September we highlighted Maria João Amorim. Participant in the Hidden No More initiative, which in 2018 brought 49 women together with a role in #STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) from all over the world, Maria João recalls how in this initiative everyone understood that “a society inclusive of women and others minorities, with true diversity, is the one that is best equipped to face the challenges of humanity. ”

In October we recalled the participation of the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres. Working on behalf of sustainable development and environmental protection for future generations, he participated in this program highlighting American hospitality and spirit, and is another one of our #FacesOfExchange!

In November, we marked the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) by highlighting João Lázaro, president of APAV – Portuguese Association for Victim Support, as well as Victim Support Europe. The possibility of traveling to the USA brought him the opportunity to share with people from different backgrounds, cementing friendships for life while promoting the growth of the organizations he represents.

December: Sumeya Osman was the last of the #FacesOfExchange highlighted during the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Her participation in the program in 2015 allowed her to look at the world in a different way and paved the way for launching the CookingPeace project, which aims to promote intercultural dialogue.