How Do Volunteers Accomplish So Much?

International partnerships under Partners of the Americas have achieved amazing results through volunteers.  To find out how that is possible take a look at a new book.  Steve Richard has supplied this short piece on The Power of Partnerships.

The Power of Partnership is the beginning of an ongoing project to document the histories of its chapters, partnerships, and networks. It draws on Partners’ institutional archives and more than 100 interviews with volunteers, staff members, and project participants including some from Kansas in March, 2013. Beyond commemoration, the 50th anniversary of Partners highlights the significance of people-to-people diplomacy in U.S.-Latin American relations. Partners appreciates KPP and the efforts of Merrill and Boots Raber in publishing “A 40-Year History of KS PY Partners” as a leading example. Of course all of this is only possible because of our southern partners at Comite Paraguay Partners.

You can order from www.partnersmarket.net under “Publications.” Discount applies for two or more books.

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Marianna Kistler Beach and Kansas Paraguay Partners

The Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) has lost a great friend and a great symbol of what the international partnership is all about, i.e., genuine caring and respect for people of all cultures and circumstances. Marianna was a gracious woman who lived through the early days of KPP, serving as president 1978 – 1981. In later years, she served as Membership Chair.  Marianna was also influential in establishing an Advisory Council “to capture the experience and statewide connections” of leading citizens.

Over many years, Marianna consistently supported the partnership through financial underwriting and personal involvement. In addition to KPP, she was committed to other international organizations related to children with special needs such as, The Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, of the OAS.  On some occasions, she was asked to provide consultation to these organizations.

Her extensive connections with business and political leaders helped build strong relationships linking Paraguay and Kansas. Marianna was a supporter of Sister Cities International, leading to a sister city relationship between her home town, Hays, and Santa Maria de Fe in Paraguay. This resulted in her, and husband Ross, helping establish an amazing museum exhibiting the artifacts recovered from the historic Jesuit Missions in Paraguay.  In 1975, Marianna was declared an honorary citizen by the city of Santa Maria de Fe. Later she and Ross accompanied K-State President Jon Welfeld and his wife to Paraguay which included a visit to Santa Marie de Fe and meeting with their close Paraguayan friends, Mika and Carlos Mersan.

In 1989 she was named “Kansan of the Year” by the Native Sons and Daughters. In 1996, the Topeka Capital Journal named Marianna “Kansan of Distinction.” In the same year, the KPP Board met in Manhattan at the newly constructed K-State Marianna Kisler Beach Museum of Art.  This was also a special time of recognizing Marianna’s long time multiple contributions to KPP.  In 2000, Marianna and Ross established an Endowment Trust to be a long term benefit to KPP.  Finally, in 2010, Marianna was a major contributor to the newly established KPP Merit Scholarship Fund.

In brief, Marianna, has been a solid link, over many years, in a chain of significant KPP events that could not have happened without her.  She will be greatly missed but her legacy of kindness, generosity, and leadership will live on as a model for us all.

Written by Merrill Raber

Artist Exchanges Between Kansas and Paraguay

Below is a link to a nice article that appeared in ABC Color about Kansas artist Eric Conrad and his visit to Paraguay.  I want to use this opportunity to mention some of the artist exchanges that have occurred between Kansas Paraguay Partners and Comite Paraguay Kansas.  It is a remarkable history all made possible through travel grants from Partners of the Americas.There have also been many musical artist exchanges. I will review those another time. I will miss some artists so feel free to let me know who I missed.

Eric Conrad is an art professor at Emporia State University and is part of the most recent project where Kansas artists are helping judge contests in Paraguay with the winners coming to Kansas in the future.  Amber Hansen traveled to Paraguay a few months ago as part of this same project.  She helped judge a photography contest.  Judith McCrea is an art professor at the University of Kansas (KU) who is helping with this project and has traveled to Paraguay several times and hosted the well respected artist Carlos Colombino in Kansas.  The work that he created while in Kansas is part of the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at KU. Another very recent Paraguayan artist who visited Kansas is Teresita Gonzalez who presented her photographs of the Paraguayan Hospital de Clinicas.

The ABC Color article mentions other Paraguayan sculptors who met with Eric.  One of those is Gustavo Beckelmann who visited Kansas during the Paraguayan art exhibit held at Washburn University in 2008.  He in turn was greatly influenced by Elden Teft a KU professor who traveled to Paraguay many years ago to teach sculpture.  Gustavo took one of Elden’s classes and was greatly influenced by what he learned.

The art exhibit at the Mulvane Museum at Washburn University in 2008 was curated by Reinhild Janzen who was director of the museum.  She travel to Paraguay and met many artists and brought back works that helped make the exhibit a success.  Speaking of Paraguayan art exhibits in Kansas, there was an exhibit of 20 pieces way back in 1969. This exhibit was at the Wichita Public Library.

Gene Ernst was a professor at Kansas State University who traveled to Paraguay to make sketches from the Jesuit Missions. He turned his sketches into beautiful note cards that I still use and treasurer.

A wonderful large sculpture along Interstate 70 was constructed by Herman Guggiari who was hosted many years ago by Ross and Marianna Beach.  The Beaches also were critically important in the creation of a museum of wood carved saints in Santa Maria de Fe.  The saints were carved by indigenous Paraguayans during the time of the Jesuit Missions.

Let me know what I missed.

Here is the link to the ABC Color article.

http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/artes-espectaculos/intercambio-a-traves-de-la-escultura-1297490.html

Paraguayan Artist Teresita Gonzalez at Lawrence Arts Center

Teresita Gonzalez presented some of her photographic work at the Lawrence Arts Center September 29, 2014.  Teresita has documented the Hospital de Clinicas in Asuncion before it moved to a more modern facility.  The hospital was the primary health care facility for the poor.  You can see some of her work on YouTube with the link below.

Hosting Teresita were three Lawrence artists who are also participating in helping judge Paraguayan arts contests sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguay Americano and Comite Paraguay Kansas with travel assisted by Partners of the Americas.  Judith McCrea is a professor of art at the University of Kansas and a long time friend of Paraguayan artists.  Amber Hansen is a Lawrence artist and lecturer at KU. She went to Paraguay to help judge the photography part of the CCPA – CPK art contest.  Eric Conrad is a Lawrence artist and Professor at Emporia State University.  He will go to Paraguay during October to help judge the sculpture contest. University of Kansas Paraguayan student Gabriel Racca translated for Teresita.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ofhUdOV03A

American Youth Leadership Program Participants Present at KPP Quarterly Meeting

There were 5 Kansans who participated in the recent ALYP trip to Paraguay. At our quarterly meeting Sept 6 at Emporia State University two were able to attend and share their experiences. Jordon Craft and C.J. Williams presented their impressions of Paraguay.

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Kansas American Youth Leadership Program Delegation

The Kansas delegation of American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) 2014, and family members, got acquainted June 23 evening. We appreciate the hospitality of KPP and especially Tina Williams at International House, Washburn University. Five youth from Topeka and Stilwell Kansas are part of 21 from 7 states who will travel to Washington and Paraguay during July. AYLP engages with new cultures to increase leadership skills and promote volunteer community service. It is funded by the US Dept. of State through Partners of the Americas. Comite Py Kansas will host in PY. Steve Richards is one of 3 mentors with the group.

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Paraguayans Sign to Play Soccer at Fort Hays State University

I knew that it was only a matter of time.  Fort Hays State University just announced that Paraguayans Silvana Romero and Veronica Kurtz have signed to play soccer. I challenge other soccer coaches in Kansas to go to Paraguay and check out the talent.

 http://fhsuathletics.com/news/2014/4/17/WSOC_0417145603.aspx

 

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