KANSAS PARAGUAY PARTNERS
ANNUAL REPORT 2012
The 2012 annual meeting of the Kansas Paraguay Partnership took place March 3rd at the University of Kansas Medical School in Wichita. The theme of the annual meeting was “Kansas Paraguay Partners: Family Medicine Facility Exchange.” Rick Kellerman, MD, Professor and Chair of Family and Community Medicine, served as host for the meeting. KPP President John Poertner thanked Merrill Raber and Dr. Kellerman for organizing the meeting. President Poertner welcomed the distinguished guest Rigoberto Gauto, Paraguayan Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Gauto spoke following lunch and indicated he would continue to seek a consulate in Kansas.
The history and development of family medical practice in Paraguay was described. Family practice medical services are available today that were not available forty years ago. Doug Woolley, MD, described the experiences of Paraguayan physicians visiting Kansas, and Judith Reagan, Director of International Programs at KUSM, described the medical student exchange program. The 2012 annual meeting program presentation was outstanding and illustrated the positive impact of the Kansas Paraguay Partnership.
New officers and board members were elected: Jay Newton-President, Annette Voth-Secretary, Scott Fromme-new board member, Paul Zagorsky-new board member, while Miguel Gonzalez-Abellas, Nan Porter, and Merrill Raber were re-elected for two year terms. The out-going President, in accordance with KPP Bylaws remains on the board as an ex-officio member.
Items of KPP activity for the 2012/2013 year:
The Board approved the following travel request applications related to Cultural Arts in 2012.
- Dr. Royce Smith, Assoc. Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, Wichita State University, traveling to Paraguay to present an Art History Seminar and exhibition of U.S. Photography.
- Dr. Slawomir Dobrzanski, Assoc. Professor of Music, Kansas State University, traveling to Paraguay to perform with the National Orchestra and to teach master classes to students of piano at the National Conservatory of Music.
- Dr. Martin Cuellar, Asst. Professor of Music at Emporia State University at the invitation of Blance Gatti, Cultural Chair of CPK, to present piano performances at Centro Cultural Paraguay Americano and to conduct piano master classes for piano teachers at the National Conservatory of Music.
As an opportunity to provide information about the culture and society of Paraguay, the board authorized the purchase of 50 copies of the travel guide, Paraguay by Romy Nathalia Goldberg, to be made available to KPP members and friends at half the retail price.
KPP board member Miguel Gonzalez-Abellas reported on his summer trip to Paraguay during the time of the impeachment of President Lugo and on his impressions of the public and political responses to that event.
While having no direct involvement in project development, the KPP board affirmed the USAID funded Centro de Informacion y Recursos para el Desarrollo (CIRD) project to send Kansas professors to Paraguay to discuss the development of civil society with Paraguayan politicians, the press and government officials, and groups of interested citizens. KPP board members actively participated in recruiting and encouraging some professors to take part in this project. On-going efforts will be given to involving members of the Kansas group in the KPP Civil Society Committee.
In October 2012 KPP facilitated two placements in Kansas for the Partners Legislative Fellows program. The five week placements provided mutual learning opportunities for fellows and the organizations in which they were placed.
Legislative Fellow Romy Fischer Schenk assisted and observed policy development research in the office of the City Attorney for the City of Newton, Kansas. Ms. Fischer is an attorney associated with the NGO Semillas para la Democracia, promoting civic engagement in Asuncion. The second Legislative Fellow, Fabiola Alderete Coronel worked with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic violence (KCSDV) in Topeka, Kansas. Ms. Alderete examined United States domestic violence laws, orders of protection, and how governments in the United States try to fight domestic violence. Ms. Alderete is an attorney and works for Fundcion Kuna Aty, a NGO in Asuncion.
The Emergency Preparedness Committee has prepared five tons of emergency equipment to be airlifted to Paraguay. The equipment will be loaded onto military aircraft (via the Denton program) and flown to Paraguay where it will be received and distributed by Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios del Paraguay (CBVP), in collaboration with CPK.
The Health Committee developed the successful annual meeting program held at the KU School of Medicine-Wichita on March 3, 2012 with a focus on the KPP Family Medicine Education Exchange. While effort has been great, progress has been slow in bringing the next doctor from Paraguay to KU Med Center to continue the educational process of developing family medicine in Paraguay. However, a doctor from Paraguay will be coming to Kansas in April 2013 through the efforts of the KPP Health Committee, KU Med Center, CPK and Partners of the Americas.
While in Paraguay, KPP President Jay Newton met with Liz Cramer, Minister of Tourism for Paraguay. Ms. Cramer indicated an interest in coming to Kansas in 2013 to discuss the development of tourism in Paraguay, particularly eco-tourism. She also indicated an interest in seeing Kansas tourism sites, including historical, cultural and natural locations. It was suggested that KPP be instrumental in finding the organizations needed to give suggestions for the development of eco-tourism in Paraguay.
Bob Klemm advised he is working to develop an exchange program with the Juan Chaco Center for Conservation and Research
There has been no current activity in this area. Hopefully, renewed effort can be given with the assistance of Committee Chair Melissa Birch and Karyn Page of Kansas Global Trade Services in Wichita. While in Paraguay, CPK board member Ricardo Carrizosa told KPP President Newton that there is great interest in the development of joint Paraguayan and American investment in Paraguay, particularly in the area of added value processing of agricultural production.
There has been a decline in Education Committee activity with the loss of board members previously involved in the many areas of KPP educational programs. There have been no applications for the two KPP scholarships, either through KPP or CPK over the last year. Currently, however, two applications are being considered for the KPP scholarships.
The university program for Paraguayan students attending Kansas universities appears to be working well. A request has been submitted to CPK to provide a list of students attending each Kansas university in order to assist in the CPK request for additional students to attend KU. Further consideration needs to be directed to promoting American students to attend universities in Paraguay, particularly in the area of graduate studies. There are currently 137 Paraguayan students attending Kansas universities.
That part of the Education Committee dealing with high school student exchanges and teacher exchanges needs to be reactivated with the appointment of a chair for this activity. There has been no activity in this area over the past year. CPK Education Chair, Elena Sanchez Nilhas, is eager to work with a KPP counterpart due to the pent up demand for student and teacher exchanges in Paraguay.
Steve Vetter, CEO of Partners of America announced the “100,000” proposing 100,000 students from Latin America studying in the U.S. and 100,000 students from the U.S to study in Latin America. This effort would be consistent with the KPP goal of promoting university exchange programs.
Women’s Leadership: The KPP board endorsed a KSU School of Leadership Studies grant proposal presented by Dr. Grace Hwang for a 2012 Women’s Leadership Program in Paraguay. The program involved the KSU College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Human Ecology. Virginia Moxley, Dean of the College of Human Ecology, advised she would be traveling to Paraguay.
Conferring with Ambassador Gauto: While in Washington, D.C., KPP President Newton met with Paraguayan Ambassador Rigoberto Gauto and Secretary Kuni Hashimoto. The Ambassador encouraged greater effort by KPP to involve the State of Kansas, Kansas Chamber of Commerce, university leaders and leaders from the private sector to develop working relationships with business leaders in Paraguay, particularly in the areas of agricultural manufacturing and food production.
KPP President’s Visit to Paraguay: The KPP President spent three weeks in Paraguay from mid-September into October. Much 0f the visit was spent meeting with Comite Paraguay Kansas board members discussing the need for and method of reviewing and re-establishing common goals and objectives for CPK and KPP. The results of that trip were presented at the KPP board meeting of December 8, 2012. Additional activities of the trip involved meeting with the Minister of Tourism to discuss development of eco-tourism in Paraguay, meeting with the Minister of External Affairs to discuss the development of a consulate in Kansas and two meetings with the U.S. Embassy to discuss the potential for economic development and investment partnerships in Paraguay.
Recommended Goal for 2013: Appoint committed members to chair KPP Committees, because the success of KPP is dependent upon the success of the committees.