Georgetown – As the United States Department of State celebrates 75 years of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown continues to provide unique opportunities for professional growth through exchanges for many Guyanese citizens. Ms. Nakisha Allen, Personal Assistant to the Minister of Social Cohesion, at the Ministry of Social Cohesion is the most recent beneficiary of such an exchange. Ms. Allen participated in an IVLP exchange on “Women Leaders: Promoting Peace and Security,” for the Western Hemisphere from December 2 – 18, 2015.
During the program, Ms. Allen and her counterparts from nine countries visited several cities, including Washington, D.C.; Seattle, Washington; Little Rock, Arkansas; and New York, New York. These visits provided wide-ranging insights and understanding of the constitutional, judicial and legislative processes and practices that promote gender equality and protect women’s human rights. One of the main objectives of the program sought to examine the current and historical roles of women in political transitions, post-conflict reconstruction, humanitarian emergencies, conflict prevention, and peacemaking efforts. Through in-depth discussions, workshops, and site visits, the IVLP participants also had an opportunity to explore the role of faith-based and secular organizations in responding to political, social, and economic challenges.
Ms. Allen underscored the value of the many professional linkages made with U.S. institutions and other IVLP participants from countries within the Western Hemisphere which can only strengthen her work for the benefit of the Guyanese people. One of the highlights of her visit was to the Seattle Girls’ School. With its emphasis on science, math, and technology, the school challenges girls to think critically and seek creative solutions to problems in an atmosphere that promotes respect for all, collaboration, and hands-on learning.
Advancing the full participation of women and girls in the political, economic, and social realms of their countries remains a key goal of U.S. foreign policy. This project is part of a larger initiative that supports the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (2011), which calls for empowerment of women as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. It addresses women’s leadership opportunities by exploring ways in which they can lead in conflict mediation and community transformation.
The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. The program brings together emerging leaders in their respective professions to learn how U.S. experts in their professions operate, and to share best practices with the other program fellows who hail from across the globe.