Lebanon learns about The US Political Process in an Election Year
As an intern for the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC), I am able to learn so much through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier global professional exchange program that seeks to promote mutual understanding between the United States and other nations. To learn more about IVLP and other Global Cincinnati programs, please visit our website at http://globalcincinnati.org/programs-services/global-visitor-programs/.
After helping coordinate the visitors coming into town for their professional programs, I am lucky enough to be able to meet up with the groups and attend their professional meetings. The experiences vary depending on the type of program, but I always learn something and most importantly I am able to interact with people from a different culture. I help show the visitors the culture in the United States and specifically showcase the Greater Cincinnati region. Despite being an intern for only a couple of months, I have been able to attend meetings with these two fascinating groups:
- An international delegation from Lebanon discussing the topic of The U.S. Political Process in an Election Year
- An international delegation from Israel discussing the topic of Promoting Women in STEAM
Through my internship, I am able to be an Ambassador for our region. While the Lebanon delegates were in town, I attended the meeting with the League of Women Voters (LWV) which is a nonpartisan grassroots organization at the local and the national level. The LWV gave an eloquent presentation which ended up turning into a discussion on current politics in the United States and an in-depth talk about comparing U.S. policies and initiatives to that in Lebanon. Some of the main topics discussed included:
- The current election in the U.S.
- Two party system in the U.S. versus many prominent political parties in Lebanon
- Women in politics
- Differences between our two countries
One of the most interesting parts for me was discussing our cultural differences, but also finding overwhelming similarities. Most of the delegation was around the same age as me, so they liked learning about millennial viewpoints on politics and loved learning about what I liked to do for fun. I even was able to recommend some fun things for them to do while they were in town.
Following my introduction to this Ambassador work, I welcomed the chance to meet with the next delegation who traveled from Israel. Now being a more seasoned “welcomer”, I attended a full day of professional meetings with our guests which included visits to Hughes STEM High school, the Cincinnati STEM collaborative, and University of Cincinnati MOOC2Degree. The Cincinnati STEM Collaborative meeting stood out to me, because it was an enthusiastic discussion about the statistics of women in STEM programs (college and high school) in the United States and Israel. We also discussed new, innovative ways to reach out to girls to show them all of the exciting STEM programs. Many programs that the STEM Collaborative has done including after school programs, such as the Bike Club, show kids how to take apart a bike and put it back together which emphasizes hands on learning.
My experience through the GCWAC so far has been wonderful. I have met many inspiring people from around the world and have had the opportunity to attend meetings with the visitors which allows me to get to know this region’s diverse offerings and expertise. I’m looking forward to helping bring in new delegations and to be able to personally meet with more visitors from around the world as I continue my internship with the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council.
Written by Brian Swain, Visitor Exchange Intern, Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council.
Brian is an undergraduate student in his senior year at the University of Cincinnati.