Newsletter Winter/Spring 2011 950 MAIN STREET, WORCESTER, MA 01610 TEL: 508-793-7626; FAX: 508-793-8889 E-MAIL: ICW@CLARKU.EDU WEB: WWW.INTCENT.ORG
Another Season of Citizen Diplomacy As we approach the end of our fiscal year this June, we want to acknowledge the importance of the role played by all our ICW members, volunteers, and friends. We very much appreciate how you, as Citizen Diplomats, are forging positive relationships among people around the world. You are helping to eliminate fear and apprehension of the unknown by showing the true face of the American people to our international visitors. You remind people that we are all human beings and share the common goal of a
peaceful life. The world is rife with conflict and hardship. When we see the impact of these difficult times juxtaposed against the joy of the holiday season, we are reminded that every individual has the power to change our world and make it a better place for everyone. Our visitors experience the power of sharing cultures, ideas, and values; and they bring these experiences home with them to share with their own families and communities. We see the same effect on our members and volun-
teers here in America. Therefore, by expanding our programs, we have been able to reach more and more people here and abroad. Thank you for your contributions to our mission of encouraging mutual understanding and friendship between residents of Central Massachusetts, the international community, and international visitors. By promoting citizen diplomacy, you are helping to bring “peace on earth.” We wish you and your family all the joy and happiness this season has to offer. Sincerely, The ICW Team
A Word from Executive Director Our big news this winter is that the ICW offices have moved. We are still on the Clark University campus but now have an even better location. Thanks to Clark University for donating this valuable space and thanks to the College of Professional and Continuing Education (COPACE) for continuing to sponsor us. We are now located in the Geography Building, which is the first building on the right as you enter the main gate to the campus from Main Street. We are in Room 101 on the first floor just as you enter, at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the President‟s and other administrative offices. We are now handicapped accessible and closer to central university facilities. We are still settling in and it will be a while before we are completely set up. But we are fully functional and working
Inside this issue:
on a busy spring of visitor programs. As we end this unusually cold and snowy New England winter, we anticipate a thawing of not only our environment, but in the political situations especially in the Middle East. Our visitors from Cairo were delayed due to the popular uprising there and we were happy to host them in April. They made a significant impact on our local community as we made an impact on them as well. We also hosted large delegations from Russia and the Ukraine on themes of public health and higher education. In these days Citizen Diplomacy is an increasingly valuable and cost-effective way for America to engage the world. We appreciate the continuing involvement and support of all our members, volunteers, and friends.
NCIV Annual and Regional Meetings
ICW Goes to Washington, 3 D.C. Recent International Visitors Programs
Not a Duty but a Lifestyle 5 by Kathy Rentsch ICW New Board Member 6 Fall Potluck Dinner
“Happy Hour For Citizen 7 Diplomats”
ICW International Networking Reception “Live Royce Anderson Locally, Think Globally”
Summit Royce visited
On November 16-19, Royce Anderson went to Washington, D.C. to attend the U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy. The Summit was convened by U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD), in partnership with the U.S. State Department and in support of more than 1,100 U.S. non-governmental organizations conducting citizen diplomacy activities. The goal of the
Summit and a subsequent ten year Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy was to dramatically increase efforts to help resolve major global challenges of the 21st century by doubling the number American citizens of all ages engaged in international activities at home or abroad, from an estimated 60 million today to 120 million by 2020.
February 16-19, Royce Anderson, Nadya Kessler, ICW Board Member Julia Dvorko, and ICW member R. Jay Horwitz attended the Annual NCIV National Meeting in Washington, D.C. This annual meeting has long served as an opportunity to exchange ideas, develop knowledge, and cultivate skills in support of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other citizen exchange programs. This year‟s Meeting was particularly memorable and significant as it culminated NCIV‟s ob-
servance of its 50th Anniversary and provided opportunities to both celebrate its past and look forward to the future. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commemorated the celebration by speaking at the State Department reception. NCIV was founded in 1961 as the National Council for Community Services to International Visitors (COSERV). We are proud to join NCIV to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
“For many participants, the highlight of the National Meeting was the elegant reception at the Department of State”
Egypt Short Term Training Program March 31—April 30, the International Center of Worcester (ICW) hosted a delegation of three young community leaders from Egypt. Their travel was delayed by the popular uprising in their country, but finally they were able to visit the United States. The delegation included a human rights advocate, the director of a community development organization, and a psychological counselor for the Egyptian public schools. They met with their American counterparts to gain ideas, technical learning, and leadership skills. The goal was to promote social development and economic progress. Each delegate was placed in a month-long internship with local organizations focusing on education, democracy, human rights, and governance. The internships included Clark University, the East Side Community Development Corporation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Worcester Public Schools,
YOU Inc., and the Fletcher Tilton law firm.
Fairouz Omar playing oud at the farewell dinner for our Egyptian visitors at Jim Welu’s home
ICW goes to Washington, D.C.
R.Jay Horwitz, N. Kessler, R. Anderson with Asst. Secretary of State Ann Stock at the U.S. Dept. of State, Feb. 17, 2011
By RJ Horwitz, ICW member
N. Kessler, Julia Nash, Intern, Office of RJ Horwitz and R. Anderson at Congressman Richard Neal, and R. Anderson at the U.S. Dept. of State the Breakfast on the Hill, Feb. 18 Reception, Feb .17
I most recently returned from the 50th anniversary celebration of the NCIV (National Council for International Visitors) at their Annual Conference in Washington DC with a profoundly renewed world view. It occurred to me many times how small and interconnected the world has become with the advent of technology, and how the need and importance of personal relationships among all nations has increased. The importance of these relationships were demonstrated again and again over the three days of the Conference in lectures, break-out groups, breakfast and lunch meetings with local and national leaders, and at formal receptions with State Department and Embassy dignitaries. I most enjoyed how the topic of social media has been embraced and utilized by the U.S. State Department and its various partners. I realized that there is a new trend afoot and that this process has become visible and vital in all aspects of diplomacy. I also enjoyed meeting NCIV leaders and the Embassy staff from various nations. A real highlight was the reception at the State Department which included a few words from Secretary of State Hillary R.
Clinton and Assistant Secretary of State Ann Stock acknowledging the importance of the NCIV work and citizen diplomacy in diplomatic relationships. I must say that the reception I attended at the Royal Netherlands Embassy and being reminded of our friendly relations with them for over 400 years was very poignant too. Winding up the events of the Conference at the National Press Club luncheon was very special to me as we have witnessed over the past weeks newly recorded “history in the making” with the transforming political events in Egypt. My takeaway and the common thread I experienced on this trip is the vital importance of Citizen Diplomacy and the role of interpersonal relationships fostered over the past 50 years through NCIV. There are many world leaders who have been or currently are part of NCIV. I want to thank Royce Anderson and Nadya Kessler of the International Center of Worcester for reconnecting me and giving me the opportunity to participate in this exceptional organization and its continued mission. I look forward to actively participating and moving forward with ICW‟s mission of Citizen Diplomacy “one handshake at a time.”
Partnership with Russian Universities ICW continues its relationship with Astrakhan State University (ASU) in Russia. This spring season we organized a professional program for our Russian counterparts. The delegation of 12 came to Worcester March 19-29 and included educators from South Ural State University (Chelyabinsk, Russia), Kalmyk State University (Kalmyk Republic, Russia), accompanying by a representative from ASU. The main goal of the program was to explore how these Russian universities might participate in the joint masters degree programs that now exist through an agreement with the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Clark University. Meeting with David Angel, Clark University President
Recent International Visitors Programs
Group from Worcester's Russian Sister City, Pushkin with members of the Worcester City Council before the City Council meeting on September 21, 2010.
September 17-25, 2010 ICW hosted Russian professionals from Pushkin, our Sister City. The five delegates from the Pushkin City Administration and educational institutions took part in a professional exchange program on the theme of “Accountable Governance: Provision of Municipal Services” funded by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. The delegation met with Mayor O‟Brien, City Councilors, and representatives of the City Manager‟s Office. Their program also included visits to the Worcester Public Schools, the YWCA, the Boys and Girls Club, Clark University, and guided tours of Boston and Worcester. We had wonderful families who hosted one or two of these five delegates in their homes for eight days. September 16-22, 2010 ICW hosted five university administrators and educators from Japan under the U.S. Department of State‟s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) on the theme “Best Practices in Alumni Outreach and Fundraising for University Administrators.” While in Worcester, they visited Quinsigamond Community College, Clark University, WPI, and Assumption College. They also visited Mt Holyoke College and Wellesley College. September 23-28, 2010 ICW hosted a delegation of six education officials, administrators and English language (ESL/EFL) teachers from Brazil who visited Worcester under the U.S. Department of State‟s IVLP on the theme of “English Language Education.” The delegates attended the inauguration of Clark University‟s 9th President David Angel and met with Clark University‟s ESL program, Quinsigamond Community College, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester, and the Worcester Public Schools. They also met with Massachusetts‟ Portuguese-speaking community in Framingham. The delegation split into two groups to have dinner hosted in the homes of ICW‟s Treasurer Robert Armstrong and his wife Hildegard, also attended by ICW President, Phyllis Estus; and in the home of ICW Vice President, Anna De Mulder and her husband Juan Carlos Garcia.
October 13-16, 2010 ICW hosted seven NGO leaders from Belarus sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of State‟s IVLP on the theme of “The Social Contract and The Role of the Public-Private Partnerships.” Worcester was the last city they visited during their two-week program and we heard from the program evaluations that our program was the highlight of their U.S. trip! They met with Community Healthlink, AIDS Project Worcester, the Boys and Girls Club, Seven Hills Foundation, Worcester Community Action Council, and several other local non-profits. The delegates enjoyed a dinner in the home of Dr. Lynda Young and Dr. Robert Sorrenti. November 17-19, 2010 ICW hosted five government ministers and economic consultants from Sri Lanka sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of State‟s IVLP on the theme of “Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).” They met with the Mass. Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) and the Mass Office of Business Development to demonstrate best practices for attracting FDI. They enjoyed a preThanksgiving dinner hosted by RJ and Lisa Horwitz also attended by ICW Board members Julia Dvorko and Anna De Mulder. December 16, 2010 ICW hosted a delegation from the Czech Republic sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of State‟s IVLP on the theme of “Smart Grid Technologies.” The delegates visited the National Grid offices in Waltham, met with the Founder of World Energy Solutions, had a business lunch with professors at Clark University, and met with WPI‟s Electrics and Computer Engineering Department. ICW was selected for this program because Worcester is one of the 10 top “Smart Grid” cities in the U.S. National Grid will be building a smart grid pilot project in Worcester. The pilot, believed to be the largest in New England, will work towards creating a highly reliable modern electric energy supply system to provide customers with energy use information, automation, and the ability to control how customers use energy. April 7-28, 2011 ICW hosted a delegation from Ukraine of top level physicians in national and regional government, medical universities, and health care institutions under the USAID-sponsored Community Connections program. The theme of their program was “Public Safety: Preparing for Potential Pandemic Diseases.” They met with the Worcester Dept. of Public Health, the UMass Memorial Medical System, MEMA, the Mass. Dept. of Public Health, the Mass. Medical Society, the Red Cross, AIDS Project Worcester, The Worcester Public Schools and Police Dept. They were recognized at a Worcester City Council Meeting and had tours of Boston and New York City. They were honored guests at the ICW event “Live Locally, Think Globally” at the Museum of Russian Icons on Sunday, April 17.
Not a Duty but a Lifestyle By Kathy Rentsch, Former ICW Co-President and Board member
Just over ten years ago, our family joined the ranks of “citizen diplomats” in Worcester and across the country. After reading a newspaper article about the ICW and its interest in recruiting new homestay hosts, I was intrigued and called to explore the possibility. We weren‟t really sure we were the “right fit” for this assignment. After all, my husband and I both have demanding full-time jobs; my husband commutes over an hour each way most days. In addition, we have two active children—at that time, one in high school and the other in pre-school—with school commitments, sports, and other extracurricular activities. It seemed most days and weeks that we had all we could handle just keeping up with our busy family and work lives. Coupled with that, we only had a guest bedroom, not a separate suite of rooms by any stretch and we certainly weren‟t bilingual, especially in Russian. How could we possibly make the time and space in our busy lives to make an international guest feel welcome? But, we did it anyway! It turned out to be a terrific family experience and over the years, we have welcomed friends from St. Petersburg, Pushkin, Moscow, Novosibirsk and Samarkand, Uzbekistan. In fact, we are looking forward to welcoming another visitor this coming September. Our guests always come fully prepared to engage in American life—from their busy professional and cultural programs to participation in the daily activities of our family. They have joined us at school events, Little League baseball games, and even on a family Thanksgiving trip to Syracuse, New York. We have shared cooking lessons, many meals, shopping expeditions, day trips to St. Joseph‟s Abbey, Sturbridge Village, and the Cape, and many, many discussions about our respective lives—children and families, careers, and dreams for the future. I remember our first guest, Olga Kovalchuk commenting on how surprised she was to discover that Americans spend so much time with and love their children so dearly— somehow she hadn‟t expected that! Or our most recent guest, Andrey Oleynik, who spoke just a few words of English, but with his great sense of humor, broke through the language barrier completely. Along the way, we‟ve had guests teach our children how to count in Russian, the key to solving the Rubik‟s Cube puzzle, and even a few tips on how to improve our bowling game. In the end, our similarities always far outweigh our differences. It seems that the one of the goals of citizen diplomacy is arriving at this mutual realization. Six years ago, I was honored to be asked to join the ICW‟s Board of Directors. At that time, the organization was in transition, looking to expand the scope of Board involvement
Robert and Kathy Rentsch with Ivan Stepanov and Anya Avinskaya (facilitator), Open World Pushkin, 2010
to include both the „working‟ volunteer aspect, long a hallmark of the ICW, along with a strategic organizational capacity-building role. With the strong leadership of our Executive Director, the Board felt certain the ICW was wellpositioned to expand its membership, engage the business community more proactively, and generate revenue from multiple streams. These last several years have been rewarding and challenging for the organization. In that time, the ICW has hosted hundreds of visitors from around the globe. We have managed, and are managing through one of the most significant economic crises in recent history. As corporate profits plummeted and corporations have necessarily become more survival focused, opportunities for ICW to engage the business community have become more elusive. Yet, two years ago, the Board set and met its goal of hosting a minimum of two business events each year in an effort to more directly engage the local business community in citizen diplomacy . In the past three years, I served as co-President alongside Phyllis Estus, a committed citizen diplomat and long time ICW supporter from whom I learned a great deal. As a team, we worked to bring leadership to the Board, working closely with our Finance Committee and Treasurer to insure fiscal stability and with our Nominating Committee to expand Board membership strategically. Now that I have stepped down from the Board, I feel proud of our accomplishments, yet realize the ICW still has much work ahead. The 2010-2011 Board and its leadership team is well-positioned to meet the challenges and move the organization forward. While I won‟t be active at the Board level, I look forward to continuing my role as a frequent homestay host, active ICW member, and proactive Citizen Diplomat!
ICW New Board Member On January 28, ICW welcomed a new Board member. Amy Daly Gardner is Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs at Clark University, where she oversees international student and scholar advising, intercultural programming, and serves as the admissions counselor for South and Central America. She began her career in international education as a Consular Assistant at the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1991 she returned to the U.S. and joined the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions as their Foreign Services Coordinator, and in 1994 began a six-year stint in the Har-
vard International Office as an international student and scholar advisor. Ms. Daly Gardner is a long-time member of the National Association of Foreign Students Advisors (NAFSA) and has held various leadership roles at both the regional and national level. She holds a bachelorâ€&#x;s degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a masterâ€&#x;s degree in Professional Communication from the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Clark University. We welcome her to our team and will benefit from her experience and perspective.
Fall Potluck Dinner On Sunday, September 19, ICW held a potluck at the home of our members and host family Kathy and Robert Rentsch. The guests of honor were the five Open World visitors from our sister city Pushkin, Russia and the five educators from Japan visiting under the International Visitors Leadership Program of the U.S. Dept. of State. Thanks to the members of ICW who donated their time and culinary talents to made this event so welcoming. Special thanks to Kathy and Bob Rentsch for their hospitality and wel-
ICW would like to express special gratitude to Families who hosted delegates from Pushkin, Russia (Open World, September 17-25, 2010) Ukraine (Community Connections, April 7-28, 2011), and Egypt (March 31-April 30, 2011):
coming all our guests. A variety of people attended, from people new to ICW who had never experienced home hospitality to some longtime members happy to reconnect with good friends. The gettogether was very special because the two groups of visitors had a lot to share with each other, and both groups kept everyone entertained as they spoke about themselves and their experiences in the U.S.
Patricia LaRochelle Kathy and Robert Rentsch Carol and Dennis Parker Sharon and Norman Brown Elizabeth and Kimberley Van Atten Judy and Kent Van Hoven Oleh and Dora Tkal Sima and Mikhail Polishchuk Mimi Berberian Lynda and Robert Sorrenti Hank and Donna Rose Alina and Ronald Chand Nadia and Royce Anderson Elizabeth Ramona Pokoly Jim Welu
Membership Event: “Happy Hour For Citizen Diplomats”
On February 5th, ICW held a “Happy Hour for Citizen Diplomats” at the D‟Zian Gallery, 65 Water Street, Worcester. This was an event for our members and friends to celebrate citizen diplomacy and attract new members to ICW. Originally, we planned to honor our delegation from
Egypt at this event, but (see page 2) their program was delayed until April. In spite of rain and icy weather prediction for that evening, over 60 people attended. The program included testimonials from ICW volunteers and Board members about why they participate in ICW programs and support our mission. Those attending invited their friends who were new to ICW to introduce them to our organization and its activities. All aspects of the event were donated. Thanks to David Papazian for the use of the Dzian Gallery; Nan Johnson and the ICW Social Committee for preparing the beautiful appetizers; the Wine Vine, Julie Dvorko, and Linda Looft for the wine tasting; the duo of Eric McDonough (piano) and Ryan Whetstone (saxophone and clarinet) for the excellent jazz music; and everyone who helped with the setup and cleanup. This was a combined effort which yielded positive results.
ICW International Networking Event and Reception “Live Locally, Think Globally” By Anna De Mulder, ICW Board member
On Sunday April 17, Members and their Friends gathered for a special occasion at the beautiful Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA. It was a celebration of “Living Locally while Thinking Globally.” It was a successful fundraiser, bringing in over $600 in contributions. It was an international gathering with not only the special visitors from Ukraine and Egypt, but also our many members and friends with roots from all the different regions in the world. It was a coming together around art, history, and culture with tours of the Icon collection and travel stories by the Museum Founder Gordon Lankton. It was a journey of the senses with delicious locally roasted coffees, teas, sweets and specialties and abundant microbrews. The Museum was humming with lots of conversation and many new connections were established. It was citizen diplomacy in action.
ICW members with the delegates from Ukraine
Many thanks to all those who donated their time and resources for the success of the event: the Berkshire Brewing Company, the Wine Vine, the Museum of Russian Icons, the members of the ICW Board., and all those who attended.
ICW, an independent non-profit membership organization located on the Clark University campus, has been welcoming international visitors to Central Massachusetts since 1963. It organizes programs for participants in governmental and non-governmental professional exchange programs. It is part of a nationwide network of organizations that are members of the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) in Washington, D.C. It is the home of the Worcester-Pushkin (Russia) Sister City Project. ICW’s mission is to encourage mutual understanding and friendship between residents of Central Massachusetts, the international community and international visitors.
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