This Month's International Focus News

December 2015
Happy Holidays and Thanks from International Focus

For over four decades International Focus has been the Triangle's, if not North Carolina's, pre-eminent organization promoting internationalization. Through the annual International Festival, our international exchanges, and citizen diplomacy events we've brought the world to Raleigh and, in turn, brought North Carolina to the world. We could not have done this without the generous support of our members, partners, and sponsors. You have been the bedrock of our organization; not only with your donations and memberships, but with your generosity and geniality towards our guests with the homestay and home hospitality programs. We want to wish you a Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you've done for us and your continued support.

International Focus Team
Attended by two programs and by IF members and guests, the Coffee and Conversation event was IFs new signature event.
A Unique Way to Start the Workday: IF First Coffee and Conversation with Emerging Leaders Event
This past November, International Focus held our first of what we hope to be many Coffee and Conversation meetings. Unlike the more formal Citizen Diplomacy Series discussions, Coffee and Conversation is an opportunity for international visitors to relax and chat casually with local International Focus members and guests. After a short introduction speech by International Focus's Interim Executive Director outlining her hopes for this new event, everyone at the meeting took turns introducing themselves. The international visitors came from two distinct programs; a Near East and North Africa (NEA) program focused on "International Trade" and a multiregional program themed "Entrepreneurship as an Engine of Prosperity and stability". 

The multi-regional group visited American Underground, a local area technology hub and met with a young entrepreneur, Jake Stouch, CEO, Neuro, a high tech startup. Startup High's Founder, Scott Kelly took international visitors on a journey of "every step" required to take a business from an idea to market.
Program of the Month:
Multi-Regional Group Explores Prosperity through Entrepreneurship
This November, International Focus was fortunate to host an IVLP Multi-regional Group whose focus was "Entrepreneurship as the Engine for Stability and Prosperity". With these five visitors from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, and Tajikistan IF also welcomed back one of its cherished liaisons, Marcelo Gandaria. The group spent a day in Raleigh, Durham, and Pittsboro. The group's visit also overlapped with IF's first Conversation and Coffee Hour which allowed the group to learn of Raleigh's rich diversity. The group described their visit to North Carolina as refreshing; noting their day in Durham with Scott Kelly, a new IF contact and Co-Founder of Durham's Start-Up High, as the best of their program yet. We would like to extend a thank you to all IF Members and professionals who made this program such a success. 


Jenna Wadsworth, Wake County Soil and

Water Conservation District Supervisor, met

with the Thai visitors at the Hunt Library
Thai Group Explores American Style Elections  

A young and dynamic delegation representing four political parties in Thailand came to Raleigh to discuss elections and ethical practices. Though only here for a short trip, they were warmly welcomed with a day of home hospitality. Their program consisted of an array of meetings covering political party management, social media and outreach, and emerging leaders in North Carolina outreach. They also discussed ethical elections with the State Board of Elections.
International Focus Fostering International Leaders

A Look at our Program Alumni
We often look back at our accomplishments at years end and at International Focus we are no exception. Due to the work of our members, staff, and volunteers over the past decades, we have made an impact not only on lives here in North Carolina but on people world over. The men and women you graciously host in your businesses and homes and whom your efforts have brought to the US are the next generation of national and world leaders. Many of the visitors you have met during your time as members of International Focus (and previously as the International Affairs Council) may surprise you with the heights they have reached.


Dr. Okengó Matiangi of Kenya: Politics and Parties, 2004 ­- Cabinet Secretary of Information, Communication and Technology

Mr. Saliou Toure of Cote d'Ivoire: Education, 1998 - University President

Central and Southeast Asia:

Mr. Muktar Kul-Mukhammed of Kazakhstan: Print Journalism, 1996 - Secretary of State 

Mr. Ananth Kumar of India: Politics and Parties, 1997 - Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers

East Asia and Oceania:

Hon. Samuel Basil of Papua New Guinea: Federalism and US Government, 2009 - Cabinet Minister

Ms. Sarina Sasingian of Papua New Guinea:  ­Advancing Human Rights, 2011 - Legal Officer and Executive Director

Mr. Randolf David of the Phillipines: Political Science, 1998 - Professor of Sociology


Mr. Eugen Carpov of Moldova: Foreign Policy, 2000 - Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Nezdet Mustafa of Macedonia: Public Administration, 2003 - Cabinet Minister

Ms. Angelika Niebler of Germany: Trade, 2000 - Member of European Parliament

Mr. Marcel Ruducan of Moldova: Federalism and US Government, 1999 - Minister of Construction and Territorial Development 

Latin America:
Mr. Guillermo Perez of Honduras: Judicial System, 1999 - Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Justice of Supreme Court 
Upcoming Delegations

January 23-27
"American Language: Connecting Teachers to U.S. History & Culture"
Multi- Regional Group
Home Hospitality: Requested
February 3-6
"Economic and business reporting Skills for Journalists"
Home Hospitality: Requested 

**If you are interested in Home Hospitality, a Homestay, or volunteering with any of International Focus's programs, please contact the IF Office at (919) 782-0552

Save the Dates for Upcoming Events:
"Citizen Diplomacy Series"
Theme: "Working in Global Health and Development in the Era of the Sustainable Development Goals" with Emily Namey
When: Tuesday, January 19 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
The Citizen Diplomacy Series draws together thirty to forty attendees (IF members and special guests of working professionals, retired international affairs leaders, and graduate students) to engage with local leaders and visiting delegates who are interested in international issues and affairs.
For more information about upcoming event, contact

 "Coffee & Conversation" with Emerging Foreign Leaders from India
When: Friday, Feb 5 from 8:00am to 9:00am
Please join us for a unique opportunity to interact with visiting international delegations!
International Focus, Inc. is delighted to open this new event to help create ties between Raleigh and the rest of the world. For more information about upcoming event, contact
A Request for this Holiday Season

At this time of the year our thoughts often turn to the topics of peace, charity, generosity, and hope. At International Focus it is our mission to foster peace and mutual understanding in our community locally and around the world. By cultivating awareness, appreciation, and friendships we can help create a better world.

We hope that you can help us in our efforts to build bridges within North Carolina and the world. Your donations are tax deductible and go to facilitating our international exchange programs, educational and international networking events, and to our annual celebration of our regions diversity­- the International Festival of Raleigh.

To learn how you can give, please visit our website.
Upcoming Survey

As members of International Focus, Inc. we want to know what you think and feel about our organization. Coming in January, we'll be sending around a survey to all of our members to get your feedback on a host of topics- from your impressions to our programs and events to what you think we could be doing better as an organization. Further details will be revealed in the New Year.

Join and become a member of International Focus
Please consider becoming a member of International Focus today; with IF membership you will always be invited to exclusive member events and programs throughout the year.
IF membership offers a constructive global engagement and multiple occasions where you meet and experience peer-to-peer exchange with visitors from around the world; you will be considered for home hospitality and homestay as more international groups and individuals come to explore global affairs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your consideration!
International Focus Team

For more information about the International Festival or International Focus of NC visit us at 

International Focus, Inc. | 3700 National Drive | Suite 214 | Raleigh | NC | 27612