October 1, 2014

2014 Alumni Impact Award Winners Selected for the Fall 2014 Professional Fellows Congress

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Spring 2014 Alumni Impact Award winners (L-R) Ahmadhon Yusupkhanov, Germaine White, Nadia Rabaa, Rachel Havrelock, and Lavell Kirby pose with ECA Assistant Secretary of State Evan Ryan (third from left). Spring 2014 Alumni Impact Award winners (L-R) Ahmadhon Yusupkhanov, Germaine White, Nadia Rabaa, Rachel Havrelock, and Lavell Kirby pose with ECA Assistant Secretary of State Evan Ryan (third from left). Photo Credit, U.S. Department of State
The Professional Fellows Program is pleased to announce the four 2014 Alumni Impact Award (AIA) recipients, whose program participation generates long-term impact on their communities. Alumni Impact Award recipients will be discussing their work from November 5-7, at the upcoming Fall 2014 Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, D.C. The event will officially acknowledge the outstanding achievements of the following alumni:
 
Wendy Mota Kasongo
U.S. Host Organization: Institute for Training and Development
Foreign Placement: Brazil
Dates of Fellowship: January 2013
Fellowship Program Theme: Women’s Empowerment
 
Wendy Mota Kasongo is the Diversity and Accessibility Program Coordinator for Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV). In this role, Wendy manages, coordinates, and develops state-wide initiatives that enhance services for all victims of domestic violence in a culturally specific manner. As a result of hosting Brazilian Professional Fellows in the fall 2012, and of her subsequent travel to Brazil in January 2013, the Brazilian-based Londrina Domestic Violence Criminal Court Division has developed a capacity-building training for court employees on issues related to domestic violence. Wendy also works with Londrina’s Delegacia da Mulher, one of the first all-woman police stations in Brazil. During her visit there, Wendy encouraged the station to become more child-focused by providing a trauma-informed space for children who are accompanying their mothers in registering complaints against abusive partners. Londrina State University has made Wendy’s domestic violence materials available to the university’s students and professors. 
 
Tad Long
U.S. Host Organization: University of Kentucky
Foreign Placement: Mongolia
Dates of Fellowship: September 2012
Fellowship Program Theme: Legislative Process and Governance
 
Tad Long serves as the Community Development Advisor for the Kentucky League of Cities, working with the League’s 380 member cities to develop strategic implementation plans. In fall 2012, Tad traveled to Mongolia for an exchange visit hosted by his Mongolian counterpart, Khatanbold “Hatnaa” Oidov, who was placed at the Kentucky League of Cities in spring 2012. During the visit, Tad engaged with Mongolian elected officials: members of parliament, the vice mayor of Ulaanbaatar, the chairman of the National Election Commission, and numerous NGOs, most notably, the National Association for Disabled Persons. Consequently, Tad directed his focus toward achieving tangible and measurable results in the cities of Jenkins, Manchester, and Bonnieville by building local capacity, improving the quality of life for local citizens, improving infrastructure, and implementing strategies to produce economic and recreational opportunities not readily available. Tad emphasized that “the incredible people of Mongolia gave me a gift that I can never repay. … I appreciate their hospitality, heritage, culture, success, survival and struggle. I see these same things clearly reflected on the faces of people in the cities of Kentucky where I work every day.” 
 
Natia Nasrashvili
Tbilisi, Georgia
U.S. Host Organization: American Councils for International Education
U.S. Placement Organization: Office of Congressman Thomas Petri, U.S. House of Representatives
Month(s) and Year of Fellowship: March-May 2010
Fellowship Program Theme: Legislative Process and Governance
 
Natia credits her experience working as a legislative intern at the U.S. House of Representatives for shaping her understanding of public service and the importance of constituent relations whether it be people-to-people relations or government-to-people relations. She brought this perspective back with her to Georgia, resulting in a “Public Service Hall” that she helped introduce to the Georgian Ministry of Justice. They combined 300 of the most requested  services into one space, including processing of passports, ID cards, birth and other certificates, visas and residence cards, to name a few. Consequently, in 2012, Natia’s organization was recognized by the United Nations Public Service Awards for “Improving the Delivery of Public Services” and also by the World Bank. Natia also learned about the role in the U.S. of volunteerism, rare in Georgia. In response, Natia has worked to develop a volunteer work institute and serves as a member of “Leadership House,” a project that promotesvolunteer work through civic education programs for high school students. Currently, Natia serves as a head of service operations at Evex Medical Corporation that oversees a network of 48 hospitals in Georgia. 
 
Chanthalangsy “See” Sisouvanh
Vientiane, Laos
U.S. Host Organization: University of Montana
U.S. Placement Organization: Women’s Voices for the Earth
Month(s) and Year of Fellowship: April-May 2012
Fellowship Program Theme: Women’s Empowerment
 
During See’s fellowship with Women’s Voices for the Earth in Missoula, Montana, she learned a great deal about leadership and community engagement through social media. Her experience strengthened her commitment to socioeconomic empowerment for rural women, girls, and marginalized groups in Laos. When See returned home, she established youth volunteer groups at the National University of Laos and other private colleges that focus on empowering young girls. She also provided training for non-profit associations (NPAs) in the areas of teambuilding, leadership, training of trainer, community development and project cycle management targeting women, girls, and youth. See was a presenter this spring at the Presidential Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in Malaysia.

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