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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024 3:21 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Over the past several weeks, months, and years, Haiti has experienced crisis after crisis, which has lead the country down a path of misery. Conflict came to a head in the past several weeks as the unelected Prime Minister's mandate expired with no movement towards sorely needed national elections (which have not taken place since 2016). Chaos reigns supreme in this island nation, with gangs ransacking government buildings, breaking prisoners out of jail, and preventing the return of Prime Minister Henry from a trip abroad to secure support for an international peace keeping force.

    As the crises continued piling up, the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire reached out to Sophie Rutenbar of the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the NYU Center on International Cooperation to gain insights into the history of Haiti and how it got to be in such a mess. Of course, it is important to note that the long standing issues facing Haiti since European contact, have directly led to today's situation, so it is important that we understand the roots of this challenge. While there are no easy answers to this ongoing crisis, there is a strong need for the international community to do something. This is not a call to do nothing, but rather a call to do better than the past.

    Listen wherever you get your podcasts or on our website HERE.

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024 2:04 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Last week, the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire had the honor of hosting judges and lawyers from ten different countries through the International Visitor Leadership Program. Coming from countries as diverse as Argentina and Sri Lanka, these visitors were selected by the U.S. Department of State to participate in this program focused on the how the U.S. judicial system works and how the country ensures respect for the rule of law. Across their five days in New Hampshire, the group had multiple opportunities to share best practices, learn about each others cultures, and build lasting relationships that can help shape the world. 

    Throughout their professional program the group had the opportunity to meet with justices, lawyers, NGO leaders, and elected officials to take a deep dive into the functioning of State and Federal courts in NH. While all meetings were helpful in creating a broad understanding of the judiciary, the definite highlight was the opportunity for the group to speak with the five Supreme Court justices here in the state. 

    "Having the chance to meet with all five justices in the NH Supreme Court is just something that does not happen anywhere else. It shows the value that WACNH brings to this program and that the people of NH do care about making the world a better place," said Anise Jasman Sayers, International Visitor Program Director.

    Beyond the value of the wonderful meetings that these visitors attended, three New Hampshire families had the opportunity to host members of this group for an informal dinner in their homes. Karen Horsch, WACNH's newest host, had her first opportunity to host.

    "Karen thinks that I have the greatest job in the world," commented Anise. "She loved meeting the visitors and having the opportunity to share a meal. It was the most unique experience she has ever had in New Hampshire."

    While many of the visitors did not know where New Hampshire was on a map prior to their visit, they left with a strong sense of connection and thanks for the people of the state. As with all of these groups, this curated experience allowed WACNH to center itself at the forefront of global conversations and project the power of this work across borders.

  • Thursday, February 15, 2024 10:51 AM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    By Tim Horgan, Executive Director of World Affairs Council of New Hampshire 

    Editor’s Note: February 16 is Citizen Diplomacy Day, a day first recognized by Congress in 2011 to commemorate our organization’s 50th anniversary and our Network’s important role in building people-to-people connections through international exchange. In celebration of this day, we asked leaders from across the Global Ties Network to reflect on how citizen diplomacy humanizes the world, both locally and globally, and why this work matters.  

    Tim Horgan (second from right) and IVLP participants gather together for a podcast recording. All photos provided by the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire.

    The world, people tell us, is a scary place that may fall apart at any minute. With major wars ongoing, the lasting effects of a global pandemic, a growing great power rivalry, and other challenges, it is not difficult to see why many feel this way. As the world approaches the 24th annual Citizen Diplomacy Day on February 16, let us all commit ourselves to telling a better story about the world, a story we see every day: the power of citizen diplomacy to change the world. 

    Throughout the Global Ties Network, new connections are made each day, and the world becomes a little bit smaller. In this ritual of sharing best practices, community, and personal experiences, both the host and the visitor have the opportunity to better understand each other and humanize global experiences. Rather than taking a bird’s eye look at the issues facing the world, these people dive deep into problems and solutions, crafting new ideas that they can implement across borders. While it remains difficult to draw a direct line between a meeting or an experience a visitor had and a positive change in their home country, one cannot deny the power of exchanges to shape the world.  

    Simply by looking at the prestigious list of alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the number of people who have gone on to lead their country, community, sector, or organization remains the best indicator of the power this program retains. Beyond that, the true impact becomes clear through the changing perceptions and sharing of diverse ideas that occur on both sides of the conference or dinner table. Surely, anyone who has met with a decent number of international visitors can pinpoint the time someone came from a country which they held a negative opinion about; whether for the state of their economy, the perceived values their country holds, or any other reason. Once you sit down with this person and connect with them, these biases melt away and the common humanity remains.  

    U.S. and international counterparts connect through home hospitality.

    Over the past 15 years of working within this amazing network, I have a broad set of stories, both big and small, that can illuminate the a-ha moments that citizen diplomacy facilitates. Trying to pick one is always difficult, but I think the best is the visitor from India who visited a nonprofit coffee shop that works to fight human trafficking. She had wanted to start something similar back home and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and share. After the meeting concluded, the visitor and the executive director of the coffee shop teamed up to raise money that allowed two interns to spend five months in New Hampshire learning the ins and outs of running this uniquely formatted nonprofit. Without this direct experience, getting their own shop set up to help trafficked women in India would have been much more difficult.  

    Looking back on the amazing experiences of meeting people from over 180 different countries, I cannot help but think about how far the new connections I curated for thousands of visitors have spread around the world. I have helped to plant the seeds of change in all these countries, but the hard work of cultivation is done by those who we have met through these programs. As we always tell our participants, this is the start of the conversation, and it is up to them to create the changes needed. 

    So, as we approach Citizen Diplomacy Day, as well as the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting in March, I hope you will join me in telling positive stories about how citizen diplomacy opens eyes to positive global stories, creates connections that uniquely impact the world, and generally makes the world a better place. We could all use a little more optimism in our days and who better to provide it than our amazing global networks. 

    An IVLP group is all smiles while relaxing and enjoying New Hampshire’s outdoors.

    (This article first appeared in the Global Ties US Exchanges Connect Newsletter on February 15th)

  • Wednesday, January 31, 2024 9:53 AM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)
    Board Nominees

    The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire invites members, donors, and supporters to submit nominations for its Board of Directors. The Governance Committee will review all submitted nominations as the Council looks to expand the skills, experiences, and backgrounds of the board. Nominees who are already engaged in the work of WACNH, particularly those who are members, will receive priority consideration, as passion for WACNH's mission, vision, and values is needed. 

    WACNH welcomes all nominees, including those without prior board experience, in order to identify those who can best serve the needs of the Board of Directors and the organization as a whole. Specific skill areas of need include development, communications, finance, and education. 

    Nominees should commit to six board meetings a year, service on at least one committee, and bring a positive outlook on the work of the Council. Board Members can expect to spend two to five hours each month in support of their board duties. Terms are typically three years in length.

    To submit your nomination, please follow CLICK HERE to fill out the brief nomination form.

  • Thursday, January 04, 2024 4:18 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Democratic presidential candidate Jason Palmer is slated to present his foreign policy vision at the "Foreign Policy on the Ballot" forum hosted by the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire on January 9, 2024, at 6:00 pm in Manchester. Palmer will share his comprehensive, people-first approach to America's role in global affairs at this event with prospective Democratic and Independent voters for the upcoming 2024 New Hampshire Democratic Primary. In advance of this event, we wanted to share a bit of background about Mr. Palmer's views on the world and sent him a three-part questionnaire. His responses are below.

    America’s Role in the World 

    Palmer's foreign policy vision places America at the forefront of global leadership in terms of military and diplomatic strength and as a beacon of democracy, innovation, education, and human rights. He envisions the United States transcending its traditional role as a military superpower to become a pioneering force in shaping the future of technology and democratic principles. According to Palmer, America's global role is to set the benchmark for democratic values and technological advancements that are people-first, leading the way in developing and implementing cutting-edge innovations while upholding and advocating for freedom, democracy, human rights, self-determination, and peace. 

    Palmer believes that this broader, more holistic approach to American leadership focused on developing people and promoting democracy, human rights, and education will redefine the country's influence on the world stage. By embracing this role, the United States can inspire and facilitate positive change globally, driving advancements in various sectors while steadfastly promoting and protecting core principles. 

    The Greatest Global Threat Facing America 

    Palmer recognizes the critical importance of digital transformation (AI, cybersecurity, Web3, drone technology, etc.) as the most pressing challenge confronting America in the contemporary national security landscape. He understands that maintaining a competitive edge in these rapidly evolving domains is essential for national security and economic vitality. Palmer is acutely aware that AI, drone, and cybersecurity threats are not just about protecting data but also about safeguarding the very foundations of democracy and the American way of life. In the face of these threats, he is committed to championing advanced security measures that are robust, responsive, and capable of adapting to the ever-changing nature of digital risks. 

    Additionally, Palmer sees the race in AI technology as a pivotal arena where the United States must assert its leadership. He believes that excelling in AI is a matter of technological superiority and a strategic imperative for economic competitiveness and national defense. Palmer's approach involves fostering innovation in AI while ensuring ethical standards and practices are in place, recognizing that the responsible development and deployment of AI are crucial for gaining public trust and ensuring these technologies benefit society. 

    The First 100 Days of a Palmer Administration 

    In his first 100 days as president, Jason Palmer plans to establish a Department of Innovation and Technology, focusing on America's technological and cybersecurity leadership. This department is critical for safeguarding national security and will advance AI and other technologies to protect America's digital infrastructure against cyber threats. Additionally, Palmer's administration will strengthen investment in advanced military technologies and international alliances and defense strategies, particularly in cyber, AI, and other digital disruptions. 

    Palmer also aims to re-establish America as the world’s leader on climate, integrating green leadership policies into national security, and prioritizing re-engagement in climate technology innovation, global climate agreements, and clean energy initiatives. Economic policies under his administration will focus on increasing growth through investments in climate technologies that increase our security, emphasizing the onshore development of vital industries like semiconductors and lithium-ion batteries, essential for both technology and defense. 

    Palmer's policy initiatives reflect a blend of technological savvy and diplomatic foresight, appealing to voters looking for a candidate who can adeptly navigate the intricacies of modern global politics with a forward-looking perspective.

    Join WACNH in-person or online for our conversation with Mr. Palmer on January 9th at 6:00 pm in Manchester, NH. You can find more information and registration at the following link:

  • Monday, November 20, 2023 3:27 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    We are finishing with our visit of Manchester, New Hampshire, where the motto is "Live free or die". Since 1889, New Hampshire has paid its 400 State Representatives and 24 State Senators an annual pay of $100 per year! It is the lowest state legislature pay in the U.S., while the second-lowest annual pay is in Texas at $7,200 per year. New Hampshire's state legislature is also the largest in the U.S., while the second-largest state legislature is Pennsylvania’s, with 253 seats. It is all about helping and contributing to the community out here! It really makes you think about the system of governance, where everything is done by the people for the people.

    We finally had a chance to experience the long awaited "Home Hospitality dinner" and I am forever grateful to Dr. Andrew Smith, Director of UNH Survey Center and his family for hosting us at their pleasant home and showing us, what New Hampshire is really about. In addition to excellent cuisine, we also had an opportunity for some deep political and philosophical conversations. A truly one of a kind experience.

    Our program, that was organized by our local host World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, continued with a visit to New Hampshire Cyber Integration Center at the Department of Information Technology, where we learned about the profound significance of NHCIC in enhancing the cybersecurity posture of the state, its essential role in monitoring cybersecurity threats, promoting real-time information sharing, facilitating threat analysis and how the NHCIC fosters collaborative efforts between executive branch agencies and departments with the goal of bolstering the state's ability to respond effectively to cyberattacks. The Commissioner's team has incredible expertise from previous employments in U.S. Army and U.S. intelligence community which they enthusiastically shared with us!

    We also visited Manchester Community College, where we discussed their use of technology in the classrooms and NH Cybersecurity Symposium. It was an excellent opportunity to get an in depth view of how the educational system works at this college and its benefits. We also had a demonstration of the metaverse and could see from first hand experience the changes that it will bring to education system. What a time to be alive!

    Our program in NH concluded with a State House Tour, where we learned about the history and politics of the state. NH State House is one of the oldest state capitol buildings in the U.S. in which both houses of the legislature meet in their original chambers and it still currently houses the Governor and Executive Council!

    Our visit to NH was short, but sweet and NH is definetly one of the places that I would move to, if I was considering living in the U.S.!

    We will soon travel to Boston, Massachusetts, which is our final destination in this amazing IVLP program, that I am very honored to be part of.

  • Monday, October 23, 2023 3:22 PM | Anonymous

    This week's IVLP Alumni Spotlight features Ayako Fuchigami. She's a true pioneer in her home country, being the first openly transgender parliament member in Japan. The IVLP journey she took to New Hampshire was a deeply personal and transformative experience for her. Her time in the state wasn't just about political engagement, it was a profound learning experience for her. A highlight of Ms. Fuchigami's journey was her meeting with the Mayor of Manchester. She not only shared her personal experiences, but she also gathered valuable lessons on how to foster understanding and collaboration. Her takeaways from her time in New Hampshire highlight the importance of diplomacy and cultural exchange in shaping a more inclusive and diverse political world. Ms. Fuchigami's journey serves as a constant inspiration to young transgender politicians by highlighting the positive impact of international cooperation and shared learning.

    Ms Fuchigami enjoying a Portsmouth, NH Harbor cruise while visiting the state in August 2022.

  • Wednesday, August 09, 2023 3:56 PM | Anonymous

    On this week’s IVLP Alumni Spotlight Series, we are so excited to reconnect with Anthonia Onda! Anthonia is a 2019 alumna from the IVL project of “The Will of the People
    Elections in Democracies”. She is from Nigeria and is currently a Senior Program Officer for Elections at Yiaga Africa.

    Anthonia Onda sitting on park bench

    During her time here in NH, Anthonia was so grateful to have the opportunity to engage in a multiple of political activities – ranging from meeting with NH state legislators, The New Hampshire Institute of Politics to attending local town hall meetings. Anthonia was amazed that citizens had the opportunity to voice their concerns directly with candidates running for local elections. In her plans as she returned home, she was eager to showcase citizen engagement and ways that this can be incorporate in her local government.

    If you’d like to read more about Onda’s impactful work, please enjoy reading a few articles she has shared with us below. 

    Matters Arising As Ekiti Goes To Poll

    Antonia Onda at the beach with two fellow visitors

  • Monday, July 10, 2023 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    On this week’s IVLP Alumni Spotlight, we'd like to share Fernando Rojas Traverso's testimonial about his time here in NH and the U.S. Fernando was a participant in a 2022 in-person IVLP on the topic of "Global and Regional Economic Corporation". This particular delegation was the first in-person IVLP since the start of the pandemic, and everyone was so excited to be able to meet in person after such a long time programming virtual!

    "My experience at IVLP has had an impact on many aspects, both personal and professional. On a personal level, the experience in the USA has been magnificent and has allowed me to get to know a country like the United States in detail, both socially and economically. On a professional level, the meetings we had on the trip have made me grow a lot, in addition to the colleagues and professionals I have met.

    The first meeting with Government members was great, because it allowed us to know what New Hampshire is like from an economic and financial point of view, what it produces, what its population is like and what its government is like. All this made us discover a state not so well known in the world and transfer this vision to our colleagues in Spain.

    I also have fond memories of Anise and Danielle, who were wonderful in their company and the experience with the family, Home Hospitality, in New Hampshire. All this made my experience in general improve significantly. I was so fortunate to experience a home hospitality dinner. The experience was wonderful, as it allowed us to see first-hand a unique life and lifestyle in NH, which is very different from the big cities in the United States. I really liked the time, I enjoyed the company and the stories they told us about their life.

    Fernando Rojas at Home Hospitality with Carola Gouse
    Home Hospitality Meal with Carola Gouse

    Clearly I have changed my point of view about the United States, since I had never been there and this has been a unique opportunity to get to know them. We have a vision of the United States very much from movies, from what we hear or see in them, even from the press. But it's clearly different. In fact, a state like New Hampshire is the antithesis of what we think about the United States, where there are friendly, educated people, and far from the large crowds of big cities. My experience in all areas was wonderful, I recommend that anyone who can go do it without hesitation, and it is an experience that I will never forget.

    My fondest IVLP memories and experience are incredible. My memories range from the cities, institutions and places I met, to the people who were with me throughout the trip, whom I consider friends and part of my life. It is an experience that I will remember throughout my life, as well as the people I met, my learning about culture, food, society and the economy of the United States, and my own personal experience, which has made me a better person and a better professional. When I talk about this experience with my friends, I always get a smile on my face, since it is impossible to describe it without remembering the best moments I had. It has been wonderful!

    My experience with IVLP exceeded my expectations, a lot. It was a great time, unique experience along my life, and something that I will tell to my grandchildren. I think is once in life, so I have a great time and I have a lot of memories about the experience. I will never forget it."

    IVLP Group with WACNH IVLP Team
    Photo of group with liaisons and IVLP team before parting ways. Until next time!

  • Friday, June 23, 2023 2:50 PM | Anonymous

    On this week’s IVLP Alumni Spotlight, we would like to showcase Haya Rawi and all of her great work! Rawi was so grateful to be a participant in a virtual 2022 IVLP on the topic of "Advancing Disability in Inclusive Democracy". She and five other participants from Lebanon were able to virtually connect with diverse NH professional resources to share best practices and learn more about how these organizations navigate creating an inclusive environment for all individuals' needs.

    We hope you all enjoy learning more from Haya's own words below:

    "I work as a Disability Inclusion Advisor with the International Committee of the Red Cross Lebanon in the Physical Rehabilitation Program. My role is to ensure the inclusion and full participation of Persons with Disability through access to societal integration program including disability sports, socio economic project, and disability awareness.

    Since I was born, my impairment (upper limb amputation) was my motivation to be strong enough and to challenge myself and society. My Architecture background has enhanced my skills related to Physical Accessibility for Persons with Disability in the WASH and Shelter sectors.

    I have been working in the field of inclusion for People with Disabilities (PwD) since 2016. I worked with Humanity & Inclusion (Handicap International) for two and a half years, and then I joined the ICRC as a Disability Inclusion Adviser starting in March of 2019. Working in the Humanitarian field helped me in challenging life circumstances, accept my impairment and take it as a motivation to support others especially persons with disabilities.

    I am grateful for being part of the IVLP program. It was a great opportunity to learn from US experiences and participants’/Colleagues' experiences. The best moment was learning about the disability field in US and mainly related to inclusive diplomacy. For instance, how several states are applying inclusive practices to ensure the participation of Persons with Disability in the election. I learned something new that in the USA the organizations are the key actors in all humanitarian work. It is not only the role of the government. They implement projects and monitor the work of the government/policies. We worked on a project about drafting new law for the Rights of Persons with Disability in Lebanon, in partnership with two Organizations of Persons with Disability (OPD) following the United Nation Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD). So, after the IVLP program, we emphasized the article related to inclusive democracy. We added more details about accessibility for Persons with Disability during the election.

    Last year I started with creating a content on Instagram about my daily life as a person with Disability to raise awareness. I share reels/pictures about doing things with one hand as a person with upper limb amputation for example: cooking, driving, typing, and dressing…etc. Now I have around 4700 followers, and I am looking forward to having more followers and influence people.

    My personal Instagram Account: hayarawi"

    Thank you so much for all you do with advocacy efforts to ensure everyone has their needs heard and met effectively! We cannot wait to see all of the great work you continue to dedicate countless hours to, you truly are a role model!

    If readers would like to learn more, please follow a few additional links that Haya has shared with us below:

    The I Can't Stand Podcast - Haya Rawi: Living With A Disability In Lebanon

    MCID Country of the Month Spotlight

    Direct Link to Haya's Instagram Page

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