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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Next 50 Days: How Will You Make a Difference in the Americas?

At Partners, we couldn't be more excited to be celebrating 50 years of volunteer-driven social impact across the Americas. Over 50 years, we've changed hundreds of thousands of lives, and we're not stopping anytime soon!

We're already preparing for our next 50 years--with The Next 50 Days. Are you with us? Check out our video below to learn more about why the Next 50 Days are so important to shaping the future of Partners:  

We're already more than halfway through our campaign, and nearly a hundred members from across the Partners' network have already pledged. If you haven't already, it's not too late to join us! You can fill out an online pledge card today.

Ready to get moving on your pledge? Even better! We have all the tools and resources available to help you take action. Between dozens of simple fundraising and event ideas, personalized fundraising pages to use to solicit financial support from friends, family and coworkers, support to help recruit new members into your chapter, and much more, making a difference couldn't be easier. Questions? You can always email us at 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From the U.S. to Brazil: A Transformational Experience

By: Aaron Short, U. S. Legislative Fellow to Brazil

U.S. Legislative Fellow Aaron Short with
mentor Danielle Todeschini
I knew very little about Brazil before embarking on a series of flights that would eventually lead me to my final destination in Brazil’s most Southern state, Rio Grande do Sul.  Like many Americans, my euphoric impressions of Brazil were shamefully limited to rivaled football matches, balmy beach scenes, and the basic concept that Brazil is blessed with a wealth of natural resources and vast economic potential.  However, my experience as a Legislative Fellow with Partners of the Americas in Rio Grande do Sul has revealed how truly deep and rich Brazil really is.

For two nonstop, action packed, around-the-clock, on-the-go-weeks, I was privileged to work alongside Partner’s alumna, Danielle Todeschini, at her law firm where she specializes in labor law issues.  While shadowing Danielle and her colleague, Katiuscia Lemos, I had remarkable opportunities to gain a glimpse into many facets of Brazilian society including health care, politics, culture, religion, education and certainly cuisine.  I was overwhelmed by the sincerity, kindness and generosity of everyone I met.  From Danielle and Artur who graciously allowed me to stay in their home to Katiuscia who spent hours translating for me during the many in-depth conversations I had with dozens of highly competent and knowledgeable attorneys, officials, politicians and administrators, I felt truly welcomed. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Partners Fellow Promotes Government Transparency in Paraguay

By: Brian Schwartz, U.S. Legislative Fellow to Paraguay

Paraguay is very tranquilo and the people I met there were muy amable.  As a Professional Fellow through Partners of the Americas, I was able to work for two weeks at Semillas para la Democracia (Seeds of Democracy) in the capital city of Asunción.  Everyone I met, from shopkeepers to colleagues to former and future Paraguayan Partners Fellows were very kind to me and asked me how I liked Paraguay.  “¡Me encanta!” I replied.
U.S. Fellow Brian at Semillas
At Semillas, I had the privilege of working within one of the premier non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on government transparency in Paraguay.  Fortunately, I was there during the same week that President Horacio Cortes signed the Ley de Acceso a la Información Pública, similar to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Paraguay is reportedly the 100th country to enact such a law and my colleagues there were elated that the bill they worked so hard on for years finally became law.  I attended multiple events in which lawmakers and journalists discussed potential challenges and opportunities in implementing the new law.

OAS representative Edison Lanza, and journalists, & advocates
 at a talk he gave on implementing the recently signed government transparency and public information access law.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Community Engagement through Sports, Recreation & Physical Activity

By: Ana J. Colls, U.S. Legislative Fellow to Colombia

U.S. Fellow Ana (3rd from right) at Indeportes Antiquia
My first visit to Colombia was in July of 2012 when I and my 16 fellow Miami Fellows visited Cartagena to strengthen our leadership capacities by learning about Colombia’s connections and similarities to Miami.  I returned in September of 2014 as a Legislative Fellow to deepen my understanding of the country’s people, culture and values in order to further enhance my leadership and civic contributions.  In my application I requested a placement in Medellin with a government agency that addresses quality of life issues through the active participation and influence of its citizenry.  Not only did I want to learn more about a nation whose natives make up nearly 5% of Miami-Dade County’s population, but I was also curious to see first-hand Medellin’s impressive, almost miraculous, transformation. I was particularly intrigued by the city of Medellin’s Proyecto UVA, a large-scale capital improvement project to build 20 community centers throughout the city to foster health, physical activity, recreation, culture and civic engagement.  These facilities closely resemble the Village of Key Biscayne’s Community Center which I have directed for the past six years.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Farmer-to-Farmer: 23 Years of Impact [INFOGRAPHIC]

Partners' Farmer-to-Farmer Program has been active since 1991 and we recently collected some of our impacts over the years into an info-graphic. Check out the image to see the broad reach of the program and read some of the stories on the Farmer-to-Farmer blog to fill in the details of how F2F has made a difference throughout the hemisphere (and beyond).

As aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, F2F works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity and promote climate-smart development. Volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth that increases incomes and improves access to nutritious food.