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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spotlight on Wyoming Chapter President Dorly Piske

DORLY PISKE, the current Partners of the Americas-Wyoming Chapter president and youth volunteering enthusiast dedicates her time to develop the relationship between Wyoming and Latin America through academic, cultural and sports exchanges. The native Brazilian moved to Wyoming in 1985 and now teaches Portuguese at Laramie County Community College and intensive English at the University of Wyoming.

Utilizing her teaching position, Piske has facilitated an affiliation between the Partners of the Americas-Wyoming Chapter and the University of Wyoming as the push to become a part of college campuses grows larger. Ever philanthropic, she also volunteers her time as the advisor to the student chapter.

In 2008, Piske further expanded her service-oriented repertoire and launched the bio-jewelry project. This volunteer-based fundraising project serves as a means to purchase a mobile mammography unit for the De Peito Aberto program of the Federal University of Gioás in Brazil.

Piske continues to make progress with the internal and external Partners of the Americas’ network to connect, serve, and change lives.

Learn more about Piske’s bio-jewelry project and how to donate in “BIO-JEWELRY FOR BREAST CANCER.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

Climate Change Fellowships Awarded

Clemson University staff members, Daniel Hitchcock, James London and Eric Rodgers, will travel to Colombia on Climate Change Fellowships offered by Partners of the Americas through the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs from July 23 until Aug. 6.
Read more about their fellowships HERE
Thomas Ruppert, a coastal planning specialist with the Florida Sea Grant College Program, has also been awarded an international fellowship to advance climate change mitigation issues with counterparts in the country of Colombia.
Read more about his fellowship HERE

Syracuse activist leaves behind a legacy of caring

Peggy Wood, an active member of the Central New York/Trinidad and Tobago Partners of the Americas, passed away this June. Sarah Moses from the Post-Standard wrote an article describing Peggy's contributions to society and the lasting legacy that she created.

Peggy Wood left her legacy on Central New York as a social worker and an activist for the African American community.

“Her greatest and most important contribution was her ability to negotiate between different groups of people in Syracuse,” said Charles V. Willie, an education professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education who worked with Wood in the 1950s. “She helped people of color in so many ways. She left her legacy in that community.”

Wood, 98, passed away after a short illness on Sunday at Loretto Health and Rehabilitation Center. Her husband, Frank T. Wood Jr., also an activist, died in 1991. They raised a son, Frank Wood, of Connecticut and a daughter Yvonne Wood Asamoah, of New Jersey, in Syracuse.

Peggy Wood’s husband was director of the Dunbar Community Center. Both social workers, Willie said the pair was an amazing team for social justice.

“They worked very well together and together they gained the trust of all sorts of people,” Willie said. “They were problem solvers and Peggy was an amazing negotiator.”

» Read Peggy Wood's obituary

Willie, who met the couple when he was earning his doctorate degree from Syracuse University, said he was inspired by the Woods’ work in the African American community.

The couple participated in the March on Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, and witnessed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The couple recalled their trip for the Herald American in August 1983 and acknowledging that they found the mass of 250,000 participants frightening and exhilarating at the same time.

“It’s hard to talk about one of them without the other,” Willie said. “They were a team of social workers working for the people.”

Yvonne Wood Asamoah said her mother was caring and will always be remembered for her kindness.

“She left her legacy in her work in Syracuse,” Asamoah said. “She’s a role model in the terms of activism and in terms of caring for others. She always helped other people.”

Peggy Wood was director of social work for the Salvation Army. As director of Public Health Social Work at the Onondaga County Health Department, she initiated the Young Women’s Educational Development Program.

Wood also was very active in a number of CNY organizations including the Central New York Community Foundation, Central New York/Trinidad and Tobago Partners of the Americas, New York State Crime Control Planning Board, Central New York United Negro College Fund, Syracuse Urban League, and the New York State Adult Protective Services Task Force. Wood also won several awards and honors over the years.

Asamoah said she was happy that her mother was able to write about her life and leave a record of her legacy before her death. “Something Must Be Done: One Black Woman’s Story” was published in 2007.

The book recounts Peggy Wood’s journey from Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute to Atlanta. It also includes her journey from the South to Lima, Ohio, and Poughkeepsie, where she and her husband Frank led black community centers. In 1950 the scene shifts to Syracuse when her husband became director of the Dunbar Center and she did social work.

“I think her spirit is reflective in the title of the book,” said E. Parker Brown, who assisted in writing her memoir. “She saw something amiss in society locally and she set out to address the problem in practical way.”

Original article found here:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

International Development News

Art Workshops Assist Troubled Youth in Peru
How do you reach out to troubled teenage girls at a juvenile detention center? Can art build self-esteem, even in difficult conditions? U.S. painter, art educator, and costume designer Valentina DuBasky, along with Andrea Piccolo and Gwen Shockey from the nonprofit organization Art in a Box, knew exactly what to do during their recent .S. Embassy-sponsored visit to Peru...

Read more:

USAID: Collaborative Improvement Boosts Health Care Efficiency in Developing Countries
A collaborative approach to improving health care systems has been proven to be effective even in low- and middle-income countries, a USAID Healthcare Improvement Project study says...

Read more:

Monday, August 8, 2011

US Youth Ambassadors in Antigua & Barbuda!

The Youth Ambassadors of Antigua would like to say hello from the Caribbean! We have been participating in many exciting and educational experiences here on the Island: from meetings with important political figures to participating in volunteer activities. The island of Antigua is exceptionally beautiful and has such a unique culture!

On the outward flight we experienced our first set back because the plane we has taken from Puerto Rico to Antigua had mechanical problems that delayed our flight about an hour. We safely arrived in St. John’s, Antigua, late Sunday night where our families were excitedly awaiting our arrival.

In our first day here we met its Governor General, a very important woman in the Antiguan Government. During the week we visited Aquaponics Farm, Cades Bay Pineapple Station, and Diamond farm to learn about different agricultural businesses around the island. Likewise, we were able to sample several local fruits.

We also were involved in a Caribbean Folk dance class and pan yards visits. We saw Mass troupes costumes and drawings and got to visit the woman who produces the famous Susie’s Hot Sauce as well. Additionally, we were given a tour of St. John Medical Center and the American University of Antigua. There were two opportunities where we were also interviewed on the local television and radio station channels.

Another day, the school cricket coach explained us some of this sport’s history and taught our group how to play it. We also met the Prime Minister, the Honorable Dr. Baldwin Spencer, with whom we shared some of our experiences as he told us about how he came to be Prime Minister of the country. Afterwards, we toured Parliament and actually got to sit in the Representatives seats in the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House was an amazing woman who recounted us about her personal struggles and what it takes to be a public figure of such great power. Nevertheless, we have also had some time to relax with some fun in the sun and time on the beach.

During our stay in Antigua, we had the amazing opportunity to experience and participate in the national carnival that lasted for a week. All week long, the Antiguans and Barbudans filled the streets to listen to music and dance in celebration of the country’s emancipation. We were given complimentary tickets that enabled us to dive right into the midst of the carnival festivities and truly experience Antigua at its best. Though we were all exhausted from the week long festivities, carnival was a mind-blowing experience whose spirit will always remain with us.

To this point, our time spent in Antigua has been more wonderful than we could have dreamed. We have learned and seen so many new things here that we never even knew existed that it is overwhelming at times. We want to thank the amazing people who gave us this opportunity, and we promise that we will be the agents of change you expect!

Jennessa Runia, US Youth Ambassador

Friday, August 5, 2011

Youth Ambassadors are Featured on Ecuador Television Program

Ecuador's famous La TV explores Partners of the America's Youth Ambassadors' experiences in Washington D.C. and Tennessee. Two small videos follow the ambassadors during their visit and display their dedication to leadership and service, as well as their excitement of being immersed in American culture.

-In Spanish
Part 1 (Ecuadorian Youth Ambassadors arrive in Washington D.C.)

-In Spanish
Part 2 (From D.C., the Youth Ambassadors travel to Tennessee)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jóvenes, Vinculados en la Creación de Políticas

Roy Thomasson, presidente de la organización Young Americas Business Trust.

En el marco de la Cumbre de las Américas, que se realizará en abril del 2012 en Cartagena, jóvenes líderes en la región tendrán la oportunidad de presentar sus recomendaciones para la creación de políticas públicas para el emprendimiento, apoyados por Young Americas Business Trust.

El próximo año, la Cumbre de las Américas, escenario para discutir temas de integración y desarrollo regional, se realizará en Colombia.

En el marco de este evento, jóvenes provenientes de diferentes países pueden presentar sus propuestas, sugerencias y recomendaciones para que los líderes las incluyan en el diseño de políticas en diferentes ámbitos, entre ellos la creación de oportunidades para la juventud y la generación de empleos.

Esto, por medio del Foro de Jóvenes de las Américas, en el cual participarán cerca de 300 personas, la tercera parte colombianos, que buscan crear una discusión sobre temas prioritarios en la región y vincularse en el proceso de creación de políticas públicas.

Precisamente ya se está trabajando de cara a la cumbre, que se realizará en abril del 2012.

Roy Thomasson, presidente de Young Americas Business Trust –organismo que trabaja con la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA)–, está de visita en Colombia y habló con Portafolio sobre las iniciativas para apoyar el emprendimiento de los jóvenes en la región.

Thomasson explica que la organización tiene cuatro líneas de trabajo y justamente, el Foro de Jóvenes hace parte del área de desarrollo de las habilidades de liderazgo.

“La idea es que la gente joven participe, con sus recomendaciones e ideas de apoyo al emprendimiento y para crear empleos en los países de la región”, dice. En este segmento, otro tema clave es la red de liderazgo, con la cual hay un intercambio de buenas prácticas en negocios y creación de empleo.


Thomasson explica que otro de los segmentos que ha tenido gran desarrollo en la organización es el entrenamiento en la creación de negocios.

En este frente, se diseñaron laboratorios empresariales con el objetivo de formar a los jóvenes empresarios, pero de manera vivencial.

El resultado final debe ser la estructiración completa de los planes de negocio y su puesta en marcha.

En ese sentido, el paso por el laboratorio se desarrolla en dos fases.

La primera tiene que ver con un apoyo técnico, en el cual hay investigación de mercadeo, planeación financiera y otros temas relacionados con las bases del negocio.

En la segunda etapa, la idea ya es poner en práctica los conocimientos y empezar a ejecutar los proyectos.

El directivo destaca que se han desarrollado ideas de negocio en una gran variedad de sectores, incluso en Colombia hubo una iniciativa con artistas e industrias culturales.

Sin embargo, el tema no termina allí, pues en los diferentes países en los cuales está presente, la organización hace seguimiento a los empresarios.

La responsabilidad social empresarial es uno de los asuntos en los cuales enfatizan en los programas de formación.

“Las pequeñas empresas no siempre saben de la importancia de este tema. La relación con el personal, con los clientes, con las comunidades, siempre es buena para el desarrollo de los negocios”, afirma el directivo.

Otros temas en los cuales también ofrecen formación son la educación financiera, negocios verdes, turismo y emprendimiento para ingenieros, entre muchos otros.

Este programa tiene socios locales en los países. En Colombia se apoyan en el Ministerio de Comercio, el Sena y empresas privadas.


Con el objetivo de impulsar los planes de negocio de los jóvenes, uno de los programas que más acogida ha tenido es la Competencia Talento e Innovación de las Américas (TIC Americas).

Aquí, equipos de más de 35 países presentan sus planes de desarrollo empresarial en una gran variedad de categorías, entre las que se encuentran nuevos mercados, diseño creativo, emprendimiento social.

La idea es que pongan en marcha los planes de negocio, encuentren soluciones empresariales y puedan obtener apoyo del sector privado.

Este año, se presentaron alrededor de 1.300 iniciativas, de las cuales poco más del 30 por ciento provienen de Colombia. Actualmente hay 28 equipos finalistas, entre los cuales aparecen 8 colombianos.

El premio es dinero en efectivo, oportunidades de incubación y pasantías, así como una red de contactos.

What the U.S. Debt Deal Means for International Development

Will debt deal force USAID staffing cuts?

The United States may have averted immediate financial collapse Tuesday, but for the aid community, the real fight is still ahead. It's going to be a tough one.
On Aug. 2, President Barack Obama signed a law that will increase the country's borrowing limit but also impose strict government spending caps. As a result, it's all but certain that the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development will have to downsize.

Read more HERE

The lingering effects of the U.S. debt showdown: Q&A with Liliana Rojas-Suarez

The spectacle of U.S. politicians pushing the country to the brink of default is likely to have lingering effects on global financial markets and hence on development, the eleventh-hour compromise notwithstanding. In the near-term, however, the main issue is the U.S. economic slump and the increased likelihood that the world's biggest economy will fall back into recession.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Ganar Participant Prepares to Launch Small Business

    Original article, written by Elneth A Toussaint Harvey, found HERE

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 3rd 2011 (A Ganar SKN) - Trevali Wescott hails from the sub-urban village of Trafalgar in the city of Basseterre. He is 22 years old.

    In December 2010, Trevali was laid off as the firm he served for three years began to encounter severe financial challenges.

    Since then, he has been unable to find meaningful employment in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. Trevali notes that he is aware of the increasing figures associated with youth unemployment in the Federation and attributes this to fact that some persons who have little or no qualifications are given top positions in many businesses. He acknowledges that the youth unemployment situation can be quite frustrating.

    Although he does not consider his neighborhood to be one that's extremely dangerous, he has affirmed that from time to time the youth will get involved in negative activities. He is proud that despite engaging in a few fights during his younger years he has never been involved in a gang and has never been in conflict with the laws of the state.

    Since joining the A Ganar program, Trevali has been able to identify his personal weaknesses and continues to work on improving them. Notable weaknesses for him include anger management as well as low self esteem.

    He noted that in quest to be a successful individual he has tried several business ventures- a few of which he has since abandoned due to lack of support from individuals surrounding him.

    Trevali joined the A Ganar program after one of his mom's friends told him about it. He decided to get involved so that he could spend his time constructively.

    During Phase 1 one of the themes that resonated with this young man was the way in which persons should communicate with each other on the job. A Ganar also taught him to work hard in order to earn. It is only through earnest dedication that he will become a real winner.

    Trevali was trained in Information Technology and was afforded the opportunity to work at the Horsfords IT Department during Phase 3 of the program.

    He is currently making preparations to start his own small business - two clothing lines known as SHOW TYME Productions. The business will be launched in the not too distant future with two unique clothing lines – “Perfect 10” targeting females and “Upskale” which would target the males.

    Although in the initial phase he will pay to have his clothing printing, he is focused on expanding the business and getting his own printing equipment.

    He explained that he would encourage persons to participate in A Ganar once they are creative and goal-oriented. The Facilitators, he smilingly observed, have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only help youth to achieve and succeed. He expressed his gratitude to the St Kitts Wesleyan Holiness Men’s group – the implementing organization, Partners of the Americas – the coordinating institution and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for providing funding for this very important program.

    The local A Ganar team is indeed proud of Mr Wescott and will continue to support and encourage him in his future endeavors.

Youth Sports Leaders from Ecuador Spend Time in Kentucky

The University of Kentucky News published an article about Partners' Youth Sports Management Exchange (YSME) program.

Ecuadorian Sports Leaders travel to Kentucky
By: Erin Holaday Zeigler

LEXINGTON, June 23, 2011 — Four Ecuadorean sports leaders will spend ten days in Central Kentucky, learning about sport as a tool for development and focusing on the importance of incorporating at-risk youth to the sport-for-development movement.

Individuals were chosen by the United States Embassy in Ecuador and Partners of the Americas representatives, based on previous experiences with sports and/or youth development.

The group, which includes male and female coaches and program coordinators in soccer, basketball and chess, visited Washington D.C. from June 16-18 and will be in Kentucky from June 19-27.

In Washington, the group met with government officials and non-profits that address youth with disabilities, crime prevention, female inclusion and education on a daily basis.

In Lexington, the Ecuadorean visitors will participate in workshops and clinics and meet with university and local sports teams, clubs and leagues.

"Kentucky and Ecuador have been working together for over 45 years through Partners of the Americas," said Kentucky Partners Executive Director and UK Office of International Affairs Community Liaison Kay Roberts. "Since Kentucky has such a strong sports tradition, this program is an excellent fit for our partnership. This exchange offers us an opportunity to share information on utilizing sport as a catalyst to translate achievement in sports with the academic and personal lives of youth in Ecuador and in Kentucky."

The Kentucky program is being coordinated by Charles Spiegel, former Transylvania University Men’s Soccer Coach and former Kentucky Olympic Development Coach. The Ecuadoreans will be meeting with Gabriel Brown of Jessie Clark Middle School; Henry Clay High School Boy's Soccer Coach Tim Bernard; and other Fayette County Public School youth coaches.

Additional highlights include sessions with Alan Stein, President of the Lexington Legends; Orlando Antigua, University of Kentucky Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach; Jack Ebel, Transylvania University Athletic Director; and other Lexington youth coaches.

The four visitors will live with host families while in Kentucky. The group will stop in Miami before returning home to Ecuador to participate in a discussion and analysis of their experiences.

Support from Natasha’s Bistro and Bar, the UK Office of International Affairs, Kentucky Youth Soccer Association and others have helped make the trip to Kentucky possible. The trip was funded by the Department of State.

The Youth Sports Management Exchange (YSME) is a three-phase exchange program that will link sport officials (coaches, administrators, government sport officials) in Colombia and Ecuador with their Partners of the Americas counterparts in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts and South Carolina.

The goal of the YSME program is to increase and sustain sport and sport-related educational opportunities for marginalized youth in Ecuador, Colombia, and the United States. It taps into powerful sport and youth networks, encourages cross-cultural understanding, utilizing sport as a catalyst to translate achievement in sports to participating youth’s academic and personal lives.

Partners of the Americas connects volunteers, institutions and communities to serve and to change lives. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy, Partners is one of the largest volunteer-based organizations in the Western Hemisphere engaged in social, economic and cultural development. By linking Latin America and the Caribbean with counterparts in the United States, Partners acts in long term, focused partnership with the people and places of the Americas.

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs sponsors exchange programs and activities for students, educators, artists, athletes and professionals in different areas in the United States and in over 160 countries around the world.

Over 1 million people have been involved in the programs sponsored by the Bureau, including 40 Nobel Prize winners and more than 365 past and present government leaders.

For more information on the trip, please contact Spiegel at or (859) 268-1835 .

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Youth Ambassadors Visit U.S. Embassy in Chile

July 27, 2011

Ten American high school students are visiting Chile as Youth Ambassadors, an educational and cultural program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The students arrived on July 24 for a 3 week visit that will include stays in Valparaiso and Concepcion. Among their first activities in Santiago was a courtesy call on U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, where they engaged in a lively conversation.

The visit and activities of the Youth Ambassadors are coordinated by the volunteer organization Partners of the Americas, with the sponsorship of the U.S. Embassy in Santiago.

This is the first time that American students have visited Chile as Youth Ambassadors; whereas four groups of Chilean students have visited the U.S. on this program.

The students are Sebastian Pilarski, Alanna Elder, Eryk Rios, Hailey Jones, Hope Johnson, Michelle Peedin, Nancy Eyre, Nicolas Wachter, Shawnice Rodriguez y Tori Brock.

On Tuesday, August 2, the students will split into two groups and travel to either Valparaiso or Concepcion to stay with Chilean families while participating in cultural activities. They will return to the United States on August 12.

The original article can be found here.