Exchanges Broaden Everyone’s Understanding

From the Executive Director

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Thousands of exchange students cross borders each year to live with host families, attend schools and engage with citizens of other countries.  Here in Northern Nevada, dozens of high school and hundreds of community college and university students call Reno home for a formative period of their life. The students pictured with Mayor Schieve are attending McQueen and Wooster high school this school year and living with host families.

The exchange is of course not just beneficial for the students themselves, but for the members of our community, including students, educators, host families and friends who become more aware of the lives of others, their unique cultural traits and above, all how similar we are.

This summer, NNIC will be hosting three groups of youth leaders for short-term exchanges.  The first group will consist of 15 Mexican youth and they’ll learn about how we combat bullying and violence in our society and schools.  The second grip consist of 18 Algerian youth leaders; they’ll study environmental issues in the Reno and Tahoe areas.  The third group is made up of 15 Iraqi youth leaders and their program is related to social justice.  We are looking for host families for all three groups.

 Pictured here with Mayor Hilary Schieve (right to left) are Cloe Iyongo (Rotary Student from Switzerland), Yana Kuzytska (FLEX student from Ukraine); Mayor Hilary Schieve; Sophyia Vasilyeva (FLEX student from Ukraine), Nilyufar Umarova (FLEX student from Tajikistan).

AYLP Documentary Viewing

University of Nevada, Reno– Students, UNR faculty and members of the Northern Nevada community gathered at the Reynolds School of Journalism Thursday, April 16, 2015 to watch the first public screening of 2014 Algerian Youth Leadership Program documentary. This year will be the seventh and final year of AYLP.

AYLP is a Northern Nevada International Center (NNIC) program funded by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Citizen Exchange Division. Its purpose is to promote cross-cultural dialogue between 25 Algerian high school students (and 3 educators) and to provide a comprehensive survey of community activism, civic education, and leadership.

During a four-week period, the students and educators participate in workshops, community service activities, and meetings with community leaders. Another component to the program includes the participation of eight American high school students. The program encourages discussion groups and interaction between the Algerian youth and their American peers in the program.

Last year, UNR graduate student of the Reynolds School of Journalism, Patty Bobek filmed and edited a documentary about AYLP. Filmed in both the United States and Algeria, the 35-minute documentary highlights various aspects about the program and specifically, how the student youth who participate are effected.

The documentary viewing was a great success and many members of the audience were moved to tears. The message was clear- we are more alike then we think, regardless of differences in space or religious beliefs.  Bobek and NNIC plan to organize another AYLP Documentary Screening before the documentary is submitted to film festivals.

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Name: Patty Bobek

Location: Reno, Nevada 

Profession: Graduate student at the Reynolds School of Journalism

NNIC Global Gala 2015

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This year’s Global Gala, hosted by the Northern Nevada International Center (NNIC), proved to be another successful fundraising event. The guest speaker, Akram Elias reminded the audience how what he calls “the great experiment” continues to have a lot of relevance in today’s increasingly unstable world.  This great experiment is an expression of American uniqueness. It represents the freedom to assemble and to associate with whomever we want- the idea of freedom and liberty. Akram believes is it is ongoing experiment. This is why he believes the participation, the engagement, and the involvement of citizens is key.

Mr. Akram R. Elias has over 17 years of professional experience as a Consultant/Contractor in the areas of cultural exchanges, international trade, and political relations between the United States and countries from around the world. He is a founder of Capital Communications Group (CCG) where he heads its public diplomacy and international trade activities. He noted that especially now, it is important for the American public to engage in the world.  Several guests noted that Elias was among the best speakers they had heard.

The concept of citizen diplomacy is strongly embedded in the work of the Northern Nevada International Center (NNIC).  For over three decades, our organization has hosted thousands of visitors from almost every corner of the globe. Thanks for everyone who continues to support our organization.  NNIC’s mission is to make Northern Nevada a more global place to live and work; we can’t do this without the assistance from its citizen diplomats!

Upcoming Dinner and Home Hosting Opportunities

NNIC will be hosting two Japanese visitors from April 14-16th. They are coming to Reno to learn about economic revitalization and would like to be hosted for dinner on April 15th!

We’ll will be hosting four legislative fellows from Pakistan from May 5-June 1.  The fellows will be interning with various local non-profit organizations and we are looking for home hosts for them.  Fellows need a bedroom, bathroom, breakfasts and some dinners.

NNIC will be hosting a professional fellow from Armenia from June 18-July 10.  The fellow will complete an internship on Nevada’s mining resources with university officials and the Great Basin Resource Watch.  We are looking for someone who can host him and preferably lives in proximity of the university.

NNIC will also be hosting a group of 18 Algerian youth leaders from August 6-28 and we are seeking home hosts for them for the first ten days for the program.

NNIC will host a group of 10 Iraqi youth leaders from August 18-September 1 and we are seeking home hosts for their visit.

We will also host 25 young African leaders and would like to recruit five or six home hosts who are interested in hosting the same group of four leaders each Friday during their stay on June 26, July 3, July 10, July 17 and July 24.

Finally, we’ll host the annual “drive-by” dinner with 75 Fulbrighters on Wednesday, August 19.   Think of this as a blind date with four or five of the smartest people from various parts of the world.  You drive through the Siena valet and we put the Fulbrighters in your care for the evening.  It’s a blast each year!

Contact Carina Black at cblack@unr.edu if you are interested in hosting!

Fighting International Financial Crime in Romania and the United States

Four visitors from Romania and three officials from the United States met early this week to discuss the rising global issue of organized financial crime.   In order to fight international financial crimes such as international credit card fraud and money laundering, the group discussed in great detail the complications countries face domestically and internationally.

The United States and Romania both experience significant problems with credit card fraud, money laundering and cybercrime in general. In the United States, however, the problem is becoming more serious, partly because we have some of the easiest money to counterfeit.  The group met with financial crimes expert Todd Shipley, who argued it is very difficult to prove fraud because it often goes unnoticed or unreported to the federal government. The globalization of cybercrime has increased the distribution of pornography, human trafficking, drug smuggling and the trafficking of other resources and counterfeit goods.

As many countries are adopting more secure technologies against financial crimes, the group deliberated the importance of international communication between the United States and Eastern European countries and how to execute more cooperation.

Jim Deal

Asst. Fed. Security Director for Law Enforcement at DHS-Transportation Security Administration

John Cryer

Financial crimes investigator and analyst of financial data

Todd Shipley

President & CEO of Vere Software Investigative Tools

Spotlight on Turkey 2015

The Spotlight on Turkey program is a joint collaboration between the Turkish Cultural Foundation and the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). This is the 9th year of this national educational program for American educators. Organized through TCF and WACA with a network of WACA affiliates nationwide, the program is funded by a major grant from TCF and features Teacher Workshops on Turkey, Teacher Study Tours to Turkey, and a series of cultural programs for the general public titled Portrait of Turkey. The program objective is to immerse teachers in Turkish culture with the result of gaining in-depth knowledge and tools to incorporate lessons about Turkish culture and society into Northern Nevada’s classrooms.

This program will award selected teachers the opportunity to travel to Turkey this summer! With a spring Teachers Workshop and a Teachers Study Tour in the summer, and public cultural programs in the fall, the program emphasizes classroom learning and public education about Turkey and its contributions to the global community.

For more information or to register for the spring Teachers Workshop, teachers can attend a Social Science Fair, Saturday, February 28th, from 8am-1pm at Galena High School.

Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Young professionals from various African countries will visit Reno under the auspices of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and a presidential initiative. The African visitors will work with professionals from Northern Nevada, specializing in business, entrepreneurship, civic leadership and management.

During the six-week program, the visitors will also engage with numerous organizations and businesses in Northern Nevada. Through academic sessions, site visits, community service, cultural activities and leadership trainings, the visitors will gain a better understanding of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to implement in their home countries.

Individuals from the community will have the opportunity to collaborate with the visitors as a peer, mentor, or weekly dinner host. We are seeking individuals who share similar professional interests and are similar in age to the young African visitors. If you are a professional in Northern Nevada and interested in sharing cultural experiences, building international relationships, or networking, please contact Carina Black, cblack@unr.edu.

NNIC’s main objective is to foster better understanding between people through our public diplomacy programs, our language and culture projects and foreign policy forums. We serve as a resource for local residents as well as visitors interested in international activities and events. Our key programs include organizing programs for international visitors through the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies; providing interpretation and translation services in over 60 languages; and organizing educational events and activities for the university and general community.