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UCLA International Visitors Bureau Honored at State Department Washington ConferenceFrom left: UCLA volunteer Myra Kraus, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Patricia Harrison, UCLA Visitors Bureau Program Officer Gohar Grigorian, and Director of the Office of International Visitors Charles Moore.

UCLA International Visitors Bureau Honored at State Department Washington Conference

Assistant Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs and the Director of the Office of International Visitors present certificate to UCLA Visitors Bureau as outstanding "citizen diplomats" for work in promoting international exchanges.

By Leslie Evans

Two delegates from UCLA's International Visitors Bureau took part in a national conference of local Councils for International Visitors in Washington, DC, February 26-28. The theme of the conference, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, was "Citizen Diplomacy: Public Diplomacy at the Crossroads." As part of the two-day meeting of over 500 participants UCLA's International Visitors Bureau was honored by the official presentation of an award certificate for its work in promoting citizen diplomacy. The certificate was presented by Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs Patricia Harrison and Charles Moore, director of the Office of International Visitors. Accepting it for UCLA was Gohar Grigorian, program officer of the UCLA International Visitors Bureau (IVB), and IVB volunteer Myra Kraus. The IVB is a project of the UCLA International Institute.

The State Department sponsored National Council for International Visitors is made up of program agencies and 95 community-based organizations. In addition to representatives of these U.S. programs, many current international visitors attended the Washington conference, including a Middle East contingent from Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, and Tunisia. The NCIV network handles some 4,500 visitors each year, part of the more than 30,000 managed by the State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Following the Washington conference the State Department wrote to the Los Angeles Times to inform them of the recognition extended to UCLA and to ask the Times to publicize it. Printed below is the text of an email from State Department Public Affairs Advisor Adam Meier to Leo Wolinsky, a Times managing editor.

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State Department Letter to the
Los Angeles Times

From: Meier, Adam W [mailto:MeierAW2@state.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 2:00 PM
To: 'Leo.Wolinsky@latimes.com'
Subject: Citizen diplomats in your community

 Mr. Wolinsky,
 At the U.S. Department of State, our Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs arranges over 30,000 exchanges each year, bringing foreigners to the United States for professional experience and study, and sending Americans abroad. We are writing to draw your attention to the important work of "citizen diplomats" in your community who assists us with this work, Ms. Myra Kraus and Ms. Gohar Grigorian. Ms. Kraus and Ms. Grigorian, of the UCLA International Visitors Bureau, traveled to Washington, DC February 25-28, 2004 to attend the National Council for International Visitors annual meeting. The UCLA International Visitors Bureau has been working in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to bring distinguished foreign visitors to the United States and to your community, to make contact with American professional counterparts and to learn about American society, culture and policies.

 During the NCIV annual meeting, Deputy Secretary of State Richard T. Armitage spoke to the over 500 meeting participants, as did Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Patricia Harrison and other officials. Deputy Secretary Armitage said :
 
 "As citizen diplomats who work at the grassroots level, you are in a unique position to project the America we all know we live in...you show your visitors who Americans really are, how we conduct our businesses, how we raise our children and play a part in the life of our communities. And in so doing, you not only give your visitors a taste of what life is like here, but also a taste for the life they want for themselves and their families back home."
 
 We hope that you will consider highlighting in your newspaper the excellent work that the UCLA International Visitors Bureau has done in partnership with the Department of State on behalf of your community. We encourage you to contact Ms. Kraus and Ms. Grigorian for more information about International Visitor projects facilitated by the UCLA International Visitors Bureau, as well as interesting upcoming programs. We are copying Ms. Kraus and Ms. Grigorian's office on this message, so that you will be able to follow up directly.
 
 Sincerely,
 Adam Meier
 Public Affairs Advisor
 Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
 U.S. Department of State

 

UCLA International Institute