The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council provides numerous opportunities for community members to get involved in international relationships without having to leave the Cincinnati area through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other exchange programs. Volunteer to host international guests for overnight stays, meet with them for dinner, and share professional expertise and experiences. Visit http://globalcincinnati.org/get-involved/volunteer/ to view more opportunities and find out how you can get involved!
Last summer, Dave McIver (General Manager of Kings Hammer Soccer Club) and Mike Mrozek (Board member and volunteer for KHSC) had the pleasure of meeting nearly a dozen visitors from Angola. Although some of the Angolans could speak some English, their primary language was Portuguese so there were three interpreters with the group to help. Everyone shared a daisy chain of headphones and shared a microphone so one was either listening to an interpreter or speaking while an interpreter translated.
The representatives were from the “Network of Mediatecas”, their modern multimedia library system which was being tasked with multiple directives to develop their cultural, learning and resource building efforts for their communities. More specifically, one of their objectives was to explore creative ways to use both public and cultural spaces to engage youth and provide community programming via inclusive youth sports programming. A major sport in Angola is soccer and they explained how they had fields to use but needed to know how to train personnel, which organizations to partner with or join, what kind of further grants or development they should seek and how to find coaches. There was the sense that they had the opportunity to build a program from the ground up using resources from around the world but they knew it was still going to take a lot of hard work, time and patience to get things to the level they wanted.
The opportunity was a great one, allowing both parties, normally separated by more than 7,000 miles a chance to learn more about one another and ultimately play a small part in building more opportunities for young people in communities like Luanda.
And all gratitude goes to the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council for organizing the many challenging logistics surrounding a meeting like it.
Written by Mike Mrozek, Kings Hammer Soccer Club Board Member and Volunteer