In June of 2018, Meridian welcomed Gold Star alumnae, Ms. Rosana Schaack of Liberia, for a two week program that followed up on her first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) administered in 2006. A former nurse, Rosana is an elected official in the Republic of Liberia's House of Representatives. Concurrently, Rosana is both the Chairperson of the Women's Legislative Caucus in the House and the Executive Director of Touching Humanity in Need of Kindness, a non-profit organization that focuses on the rights and well-being of women and children who are survivors of domestic abuse and violence. Since the conclusion of her first IVLP on Civic Activism and in recognition of her work, Rosana was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals from the University of Minnesota in 2010 and the 2012 Vital Voices Human Rights Award. Having returned to the U.S. as a Gold Star alum, Rosana began new and rekindled older relationships with resources in Washington, DC; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Cleveland, Ohio.
Meeting with NC State Representatives Linda Williams and Rose Gill.
While in Washington, Rosana had the opportunity to meet with RepresentWomen, a nonpartisan initiative committed to achieving gender parity in elected office; observe a polling station during Washington DC’s primary election on Tuesday, June 19; and engage with Congressional Members Lois Frankel (D-FL) , Peter Roskam (R-IL), and David Price (D-NC). Additional highlights included appointments with House of Ruth, a non-profit that serves women and children who are abused and homeless in DC; and Safe Shores, a direct service non-profit organization that works directly with child victims of sexual and physical abuse. Before traveling to Raleigh, Rosana was invited to speak about the impact of her first IVLP experience at the Department of State. She enjoyed reconnecting with representatives from Vehicles of Change and being hosted for an evening of home hospitality.
Highlights in Raleigh included introductions to local government officials, including NC House of Representatives Members Linda Williams (R) and Rosa Gill (D). She also participated in a roundtable discussion on women's empowerment with women's leadership organizations including Women AdvaNCe, UN Women US NC, and Women NC, and participated in International Focus's Citizen Diplomacy Series, which included about forty attendees and a discussion on current world affairs. Rosana enjoyed another home hospitality dinner and engagements with local religious leaders and activists, like Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle from the NAACP, before departing for her final city-stop in Cleveland.
In Cleveland, Rosana was welcomed at the Global Ties U.S. sponsored Diplomacy Begins Here Summit, appropriately themed "Women Who Rock the Word." There she spoke again about her experiences as a former participant and how the program served as a springboard to grow her non-profit and become engaged in politics. Rosana ended her IVLP with meetings at the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women at Case Western University, Women in Transition program at Cuyahoga Community College, and the Renee Jones Empowerment Center, a non-profit organization that supports victims and survivors of human trafficking. With the conclusion of these appointments, Rosana returned home to continue her work as a member of congress and a leading voice for women in Liberia and around the world.
A visit to Capitol Hill
Celebrating with Home Hospitality in Washington, DC
Meeting with Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL)
Visiting a local Voting location in Washington, DC
Rosana meeting with Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Rosana with the team from Cleveland World Affairs Council
Women's Empowerment Roundtable in Raleigh
State Farmers Market in Raleigh
A quick visit to see former U.S. President Barack Obama's portrait at the National Portrait Gallery
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