March 2018
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Board of Directors
Honorary Chairs
Mayor Eric Garcetti
City of Los Angeles
Sheila Kuehl
Chair, L.A. County Board of Supervisors
Matthew Olsen
Boston Private
Vice Chairs
Mathias Fobi, M.D.
Bariatec Corporation
Michele A. Franchett
Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP
Michael McDowell
Japan House LA
Deanne Neiman
Honorary Consul of Botswana
Legal Counsel
Wafa J. Hoballah
WJH Law Group, APC
Haifa Azawi, M.D.
New Woman Medical Care
Kathy Jones Irish
Kathy Jones Irish Consulting, LLC
Jonathan Kaji
Kaji & Associates
Patti MacJennett
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Rima Nashashibi
Patient Safety Movement Foundation
Stephen Ozoigbo
Relativity Education

Karen Richardson
Formerly Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Lourdes Saab
L.A. County Office of Protocol
William Jerry Silva
Southern California Edison
David R. Stepp
Bryan Cave LLP
Yael Swerdlow
Women's Empowerment Foundation
Tim Watkins
Watts Labor Community Action Committee
Nivine Woods
Johnson & Johnson
President & CEO
Janet Elliott


Quote of the Month
"I think there is a perception that Americans can be quite parochial. That has not been my experience at all. Everyone I encountered on the trip seemed informed and open-minded about the world." 

- Participant from Australia on the February 2018 program "Integrity in Journalism: New and Traditional Media in the Digital Age"

Citizen Diplomacy at its Best

Visitors from Belgium, Germany, Macedonia, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland meet with members of the Islamic Shura Council of 
S outhern California

After visiting Washington, D.C.; Montgomery, Alabama; and Raleigh, North Carolina, our esteemed visitors from Europe finally arrived in Los Angeles. Their program explored U.S. efforts to build strong communities, counter violent extremism and promote tolerance.  Highlights included meetings with Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention and rehabilitation program and a consistently well-loved resource; the accomplished  Dr. Erroll G. Southers , Director of the Safe Communities Institute at the USC Price School for Public Policy; and the  Islamic Shura Council of Southern California (ISCSC),  a community-based nonprofit that assists Muslim organizations in serving the Muslim community of Southern California.

Visitors from Belgium, Macedonia and Switzerland enjoy a fun-filled evening at IVCLA member Judy Smith's (bottom right) home

The visitors also had an opportunity to get to know L.A. locals in a more casual setting through home hospitality. IVCLA members  Paul & Ginny Hatfield, Allie Madrid , and  Judy Smith extended a warm welcome to our guests and hosted them for dinner, Los Angeles style. Both hosts and visitors had incredibly positive things to say about the experience. One visitor commented that she felt as though she had made new friends.

IVCLA's new Young Professional member Allie Madrid (second from left) and her sister Laura (far right) enjoy dinner with their new friends from Europe

IVCLA's new Young Professional Member, Allie Madrid, recaps her first hosting experience:
I had the utmost honor of hosting two brilliant and lovely ladies, Ms. Elena Kriglerora of Slovakia and Mrs. Lourdes Vidal Bertran of Spain, last month.  Never would I have thought this type of opportunity would come my way in this lifetime. In fact, I didn't know anything about citizen diplomacy until this host visit. As I reflect on my time spent with Elena and Lourdes, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful and amazed at life's many surprises. As much as life has put me in challenging situations, it has also gifted me with truly joyous opportunities such as this home hospitality experience. 
At first, I was immensely intimidated by Elena and Lourdes. I read their biographies and thought, "I can't do this! How in the world am I going to hold a decent conversation with these ladies? They're...SMART!" I decided to bring my younger sister, Laura along with me in the hope that she'd help keep the conversation flowing. I remember feeling extremely nervous as I arrived to pick up our guests. Yet, as soon as I stepped inside the hotel lobby to find Elena waiting for me, I instantly felt at ease. She reached out and hugged me like we were friends already. I felt my heart flutter and I know the smile on my face was pretty big. Lourdes arrived shortly thereafter and gave me a similar greeting. I thought to myself, "I think we're going to be just fine".
Throughout the night, our conversation flowed from one topic to the next. We were fully engaged the entire time and had professional and political conversations as well as personal ones. It was especially enjoyable when we started talking about our families, and of course, showing pictures to each other. Lourdes even came bearing small gifts from her home country for my sister and I. So sweet!

Elena and Lourdes are two amazing women who completely blessed me with their time and life stories. They were warm, down-to-earth and extremely gracious. Should I mention  incredibly intelligent, again?! In the end, I loved leaving Pasadena feeling like I had reunified with long-lost family members and I'll forever cherish their friendship. Guess I'll be traveling to Europe real soon! To say the least, this first hosting experience was nothing short of splendid.

Meet IVCLA Young Professional Kelly Richardson
Kelly is a Berkeley native, former Fulbright scholar, documentary filmmaker, fluent in three languages and working on her fourth, and a board member of Fulbright Northern California.  She is also a lifelong athlete and adventure seeker. She has worked as a Divemaster on scuba boats around the world, and as an aerialist and acrobat in a Brazilian circus where she was the sole foreigner under the Brazilian big top. She has performed as a Hollywood stunt double in roles ranging from flying through the cosmos in MARVEL's most recent 'Guardians of the Galaxy', to galloping across the plains in HBO's 'Westworld', to battling an angry shark in SONY's 'The Shallows'. She is an actress as well, and has played characters on productions including 'Angie Tribeca', 'CSI', 'American Housewife', and 'Legion'.
During her time in the Brazilian circus, Kelly trained side-by-side with participants of a social project for Brazilian youth living in the slums around the circus. She was inspired by the idea and mission of the "social circus" that aimed to impart important life skills to people born into challenging situations, and she applied to Fulbright to make a documentary film following some of the people she met.
With no prior film experience, but with a strong desire and an insider's point of view on an intriguing subject, she was awarded the grant, and one year later was back in Brazil to begin production on the film. 
'Without A Net' chronicles the personal journeys of a handful of young circus performers to tell an intricate story of struggle, risk, hope and perseverance. The film was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times and won several film festival awards, (including Best Film at the Santa Monica Film Festival). Check out her TEDx talk below!

Overnight Hosting Opportunity

Interested in hosting an emerging world leader in your home for an overnight stay? This April, IVCLA is excited to welcome six visitors from Ukraine as part of the Congressionally-sponsored Open World Program! As a host, you will have the chance to show our visitors the true Los Angeles by opening your home and sharing meals and conversation. This is an incredibly unique opportunity to get to know someone from another part of the world and build a lasting friendship.  

The visitors are available for overnight home stays during the week of April 13 th - April 20 th. Hosts have the option of hosting for the entire week or just part of the week. If you are interested in hosting, or would like to learn more about the program, please contact Hannah Stoddard at or 213-388-1428 ext. 26.

Volunteer Needed! 
IVCLA is looking for a volunteer to help match International Visitors with our members for home hospitality dinners!  As a volunteer, you will get a first-hand look at what emerging international leaders are coming to Los Angeles, and match them with their perfect hosts. International Visitors often say that home hospitality is one of the best parts of their time in the U.S. Getting to meet with Angelenos in a casual and intimate setting gives the visitors a more holistic view of the United States.
Volunteer hours are flexible. If you are interested, please contact Hannah Stoddard at  or  (213) 388-1428 ext. 26. 

Community Events and Opportunities

Thursday is International Women's Day! Celebrate at the 2nd Annual International Women in Diplomacy Celebration and Luncheon hosted by Mame Mbaye, Honorary Consul of Senegal! Speakers from around the world, including IVCLA's very own president, Janet Elliott, will share their challenges and experiences in diplomacy while covering a variety of topics, including: Women's Empowerment, Peace-Building, Human Trafficking, International Networking, Diplomacy Acquirement and Stress Management. 


World Trade Week Educational Initiatives

The World Trade Week Committee offers scholarships to aspiring students in international trade fields. Scholarships are awarded to outstanding graduating high school seniors entering an accredited college or university with the goal of a career in international trade, as well as college students pursuing international degrees. By fostering international trade education and international business development, the committee hopes to develop a network of international trade professionals willing to provide mentoring to future students interested in international business.

Deadline: March 16th

World Trade Week 2017 Scholarship Recipients


For over 90 years, World Trade Week (WTW), an initiative of the L.A. Area Chamber, has been the most extensive and unique program of its kind in the country. Join WTW for the largest celebration of international trade in the nation at the 92nd Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast.
WTW dedicates itself to educating the public on the importance and benefits of global trade on the local and national economy through a series of educational programs and events.
World Trade is celebrated throughout the month of May with more than 30 events hosted by partnering organizations in Southern California that are jump started by the Chamber's Annual WTW Kickoff Breakfast with more than 1000 guests.
World Trade Week supports college and high school scholarships, high school student workshops, as well as briefings for civic and business leaders interested in benefiting from the global economy.

Upcoming International Visitors

The following are among the arriving guests of the
U.S. government whose professional appointments in
Los Angeles will be arranged by the
International Visitors Council of Los Angeles.
March 2018

Judicial and Prosecutorial Efficiency in the U.S.
March 6-11
Palestinian Territories
Transparency and Financial Accountability in Government and Business
March 8-14
Vocational Education in the U.S.
March 9-14

Tajikistan Media and Messaging Strategies March 22-28
Palestinian Territories
United Arab Emirates
Countering Extremist Messaging and Protecting Youth
March 24-28
Saudi Arabia
Religious and Public Education in the U.S.
March 24-29
Debt Restructuring, Corporate Governance and Competition in the U.S.
March 28-31
International Women of Courage
March 28-
April 1

Editor: Hannah Stoddard
Communications & Events Coordinator
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