Anna Korepanova ‘03
Glazov, Russia/New Haven, IN

As in summers before, on June 23, 2013 the Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University opened its doors to 107 interns from 52 countries to attend a unique program Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry. It is a program combining consulting projects, country presentations, executive meetings, lectures, trips and much more in a multicultural setting. In the words of the program director Dick Brandt this program for young entrepreneurs is unique in its “richness and diversity.”

Every year a number of alumni of the FLEX, YES and ASMYLE exchange programs receive the chance to attend this exiting five-week event. They receive scholarships from American Councils for International Education and the Department of State as these organizations continue offering alumni opportunities to share their experience and knowledge, as well as to expand their horizons further and become truly global citizens.

During a trip to Washington, DC, interns were given a very emotional opportunity to meet all those men and women who select during for the final round of selection for their exchange year in the US. These people are truly inspiring, as almost all of them have some connection to our countries: many had lived in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and an array of muslim countries, and now they volunteer their time to read through candidates’ essays and make the selection. Former exchange students had the opportunity to thank these volunteers at American Councils for giving them the chance of their lifetime, while the readers could hear how much their input had helped each and every intern to become better and successful people. The event was hosted by Lisa Choate, executive vice-president at American Councils.

The following day FLEX, YES and ASMYLE alumni were invited to the Department of State where they met with key staff at the bureau of educational and cultural affairs, Director of the Office of Citizen Exchanges Mary Deane Conners, and Deputy Director Sheila Casey. They were very keen to hear how both exchange program and Global Village had influenced the alumni’s personal and professional lives, as these achievements, dreams and profound changes in alumni’s lives is why the funding for such projects continues.

As we, interns, reflected on the visit and on Global Village in general, we all agreed that this was probably the only opportunity to meet alumni of other exchange school exchange programs face-to-face. We all wished there were more opportunities for these real interactions, as we all truly became a family. Maybe we should all be invited to each others’ reunions?

More on the program:”

Platform for connecting alumni of Department of State programs:”