Annual Report



2013 was an eventful year for our Kansas Paraguay Partnership with many activities involving Kansans and Paraguayans. Among the accomplishments of the past year were:

  • Three KPP/CPK/POA travel grants involving eight individuals from Kansas traveled to Paraguay, while three individuals from Paraguay came to Kansas on travel grants.
  • The University Linkage program continued to grow with 144 Paraguayan students attending Kansas universities as of March 2014.  Sixty-three of those students are attending Kansas State.
  • One scholarship was given from the KPP/CPK scholarship fund.
  •  Seven KPP members and one CPK member attended and participated in the Partners of the Americas Regional meeting in Greeley, Colorado in May.
  •  Kansas Paraguay Partners sponsored  the Paraguayan movie “7 Cajas” in the Wichita Tall Grass film festival,
  • Donated fire and emergency equipment was finally on the way to Paraguay,
  • and the “40-Year History of Kansas Paraguay Partners” was published.

Annual Meeting

The KPP year began with the Annual meeting at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.  The theme of the annual meeting and topic of discussion was “Development of Democracy.” There were forty people in attendance.  Special guests were Paraguayan Ambassador to the United States, Fernando Pfanni Caballero; Second Secretary to the Ambassador, Kuni Hashimoto.  Special recognition was given to Teddy Granada, son of Alberto Garanda, longtime KPP  friend and CPK stalwart.   KPP Vice-President, Miguel Gonzalez-Abellas submitted a presentation of his observations of the impeachment of Paraguayan President Lugo while he was traveling in Paraguay.

A panel composed of Dr. John Barnett of Emporia State University, Dr. Robert Betty of Washburn University, Dr. Edward Flentje of Wichita State University,  Professor Jared Larson of St. Olaf College, Minnesota, and Dr. Michael Smith of Emporia State University gave an outstanding presentation of their trip and findings as visiting political science experts invited to Paraguay by Centro de Informacion y Recoursos para el Desarrollo (CIRD) to discuss “Public Policy and Presidential Elections”  with Paraguayan political parties, students and the public.

KPP board member, Merrill Raber presented a power point presentation of highlights from the soon to be published “40-Year History of Kansas Paraguay Partners.”

Steve Richards and Scott Fromme gave a report on the planned delivery of five tons of fire and emergency equipment to be delivered to Paraguay via the USAF Denton Program.

Following lunch, Ambassador Pfanni addressed the audience regarding the long standing and warm relationship between Paraguay and Kansas.  The Ambassador responded to the panel discussion by describing the political evolution in Paraguay as traveling along an arch moving from authoritarianism to democracy and liberty.

The Nominating Committee reported the election of Miguel Gonzalez-Abellas as Vice-President, John Poertner as Treasurer and Melissa Birch, Gonzalo Bruce, Bettina Langley (replaced by Bobby Winters following her resignation), and Josephine Squires as new board members.  Outgoing board members Bob Carlson, Dave Schafer, and Norman Schlesener were thanked for their service.

POA Regional Meeting

Kansas Paraguay Partners members Ed Flentje, Scott Fromme, Jay Newton, Boots and Merrill Raber, and Lorriane and Steve Richards attended the Partners of the Americas Regional Meeting in Greeley, Colorado from May 22nd to May 24th.  Seventy-five people attended the conference representing partner chapters from all across the U.S., the Caribbean, Central and South America. KPP members presented reports on our University Linkage program, emergency equipment donations, and writing a chapter history.

KPP Committee Activities

Cultural Arts:  Martin Cuellar, Chair

There were three outstanding travel grant cultural arts programs that went to

Paraguay from Kansas in 2013.

  • Catherine Consiglio traveling on a POA Travel Grant accompanied by Dr. Selim Giray, both of Wichita State University School of Music, traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay from May 16 through May 27, 2013 to teach string instruments at the Miranda School of Music in Asuncion.  Also accompanying Ms. Consiglio and Dr. Giray was retired WSU professor of violin, Nancy Luttrell and Susan Allen, sister of Ms. Consiglio. The Paraguayan host was Ramiro Miranda.  The group gave 120 hours of time working with 60 to 70 string instrument students. This was  followed by a performance at Iglesia San José
  • Jeremy Star, traveling on a POA Travel Grant, and Susan Mayo, Professors of Music at Emporia State University traveled to Paraguay from June 5 through June 19, 2013 to teach string instrument master classes to Paraguayan students, to perform duo concerts, and in the case of Dr. Starr, to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra of Paraguay.  The host for Jeremy and Susan was Blance Gatti, CPK Culture Committee. The stated goal of Jeremy and Susan is to coordinate with the Emporia State University International Office and CPK to bring undergraduate and graduate students to Kansas for musical training and education.  The response to this travel exchange from Paraguay was very positive.
  • Deborah Baxter, Associate Professor of Voice at Wichita State University, traveled on a POA Travel Grant to Asuncion, Paraguay from August 28 to September 10, 2013.  Her CPK host was Katherine and Arlo Kasper.  Ms, Baxter’s purpose was to strengthen the WSU international curriculum, promote student and facility exchanges, and share performing and teaching expertise with the facility and students of the newly founded music degree program at the Universidad Nacional Asuncion.  While there, Ms. Baxter had two performances of Verdi’s Requiem with orchestra and chorus of the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional, did a music recital with Pacita Diez Perez as accompanist, and met with the music department of the Universidad Nacional Asuncion to discuss development of degree programs and curriculum. Deborah gave a master class to students and met with CPK President Carolina Pedro, Mirian Mongoles and staff.

Emergency Preparedness Committee:  Steve Richards, Chair

An invitation from KPP was extended to Ramon Grange, Coordinator of the Department of Fire Prevention for the Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios del Paraguay (CBVP) to come to Kansas May 21, 2013 to June 2, 2013 to take part in the Regional Meeting of the Partners of the Americas in Greeley, Colorado and to meet with fire departments and emergency preparedness providers in central Kansas.  Ramon’s host was KPP members Steve and Lorraine Richards. During his time in Kansas Mr. Grange met with Wichita Fire Chief, Ron Black, toured fire facilities in the City of Wichita and Wichita fire equipment maintenance facilities.

He also toured the Regional Fire Training Center, toured a Sedgwick County fire station and inspected fire trucks specifically designed to fight brush fires, observed a Kansas Department of Emergency Management training exercise near Salina, Kansas, visited the Harvey County Emergency Communications Center, and the Newton, Hesston and Walton Fire Departments.  Discussion and planning was done regarding future donations of fire and emergency equipment to the bomberos in Paraguay.

Health Committee:  Merrill Raber, Chair

KPP and the Kansas University of Medicine had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Mario Feltes from October 26, 2013 to November 8, 2013.  Dr. Feltes’ visit was a part of the on-going educational Kansas-Paraguay medical exchange program to observe medical practices and to promote the family health program in Paraguay.  Tours of the KU Medical School, St. Francis and St. Joseph Hospitals in Wichita, Wesley Medical Center, Wesley Family Medicine Residency Program, Via Christi Hope, Harry Hynes Hospice,  Sedgwick County Health Department, Larksfield Place Retirement Center, Newton Medical Center, Smoky Hill Family Medicine Residency Program were given to Dr. Feltes.   A program was given to KU School of Medicine medical Students by Dr. Feltes with an interesting question and answer session.

KPP board member Nan Porter hosted a dinner for Dr. Feltes.   Guest included Dr. Rick Kellerman and KPP board members from the Wichita area.

Education Committee:

  • Teacher Exchange Sub-committee:  Gonzalo Bruce, Chair
  • Two Student from Emporia State University went to Paraguay in the fall of 2013 as student teachers.

A Letter of Invitation was extended to Elena Nilhas, Chair of the Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) Teacher/Student Exchange Committee to come to Kansas from July 4, 2013 to July 16, 2013 for the purpose of visiting Kansas universities to discuss arrangements for teacher exchange programs and student teaching programs for Kansans in Paraguay.  Jay and Marcia Newton served as host during the stay of Elena and her husband Steve.

The purpose of Ms. Nilhas’ CPK visit to Kansas included exploring opportunities for high school students to visit Kansas, to develop projects and opportunities for teacher and student teacher exchanges, and to seek persons interested in going to Paraguay to teach others the processes for early childhood education.

A visit was made to Wichita State University with School  of Business Study Abroad Coordinator, Ann Burger; Director of Intensive English, Sally Jones and Stephanie Rubinetti; Study Abroad Coordinator, Shan Jabara; and Visa specialist Becky Tuttle.

Elena traveled to Emporia State University to meet with the Director of the International Student Program, and KPP board member, Dr. Gonzalo Bruce to discuss student teacher opportunities in Paraguay.  Meetings included Sharon Brown, Dr. Ken Weaver, Dr. Kirsten Limpert and Dr. Steven Neill.  She had lunch with Martin Cuellar, Jeremy Starr and Susan Mayo to explore future cultural exchanges and the possibilities of Paraguayan Student attending ESU to study music.

Meetings were held at Washburn University with Washburn President  Dr. Jerry Farely, Director of International Programs Baili Zhang, and with Topeka High School Principal, Linda Wiley.

Elena’s met at Kansas State University with Karli Webster, Director of Study Abroad and Dr. Kristine Young, Assistant Provost of the International Programs. The meetings were followed by lunch with KPP members Grace Hwang, Bob Klemm, Virginia Moxley, Jay Newton, David Schafer and Norman Schlesener.

Fort Hays State University Assistant Dean of the School of Education, Adam Holder, Regi Wieland, School of Education and Robert Moody, Advanced Education Programs met with Elena to discuss student KPP University Linkage.  A meeting with KPP member Mary Porterfield, Spanish teacher in Goodland was held to discuss high school student exchange programs.

The final university visit was made at Pittsburg State University.  A meeting with Bobby Winters, Director of the PSU in Paraguay program and KPP board member; Paul Zagorski , KPP board member; Alice Sagehorn, B.B. Scott,

Director of Continuing Graduate Studies, Bruce Dallman, Director of the College of Technology, and Cathy Lee Arcuino of the PSU International Office.

Education Committee:

  • Scholarship Sub-Committee Chair:  John Poertner

As of January 1, 2013 the Kansas-Paraguay Special Merit Scholarship Fund had a beginning balance of $70,336.15. On December 31, 2013 the scholarship fund had an ending net balance of $80,912.29 following expenses of $1,200.00 for a scholarship grant and $748.97 fund expenses.  The KPP Board increased the scholarship grant amount from $1200.00 to $1500.00 per recipient at the September 14, 2013 meeting. The policy is to draw no more than 4% annual for scholarships.  Tirza Richards of Topeka was the 2013 recipient of the KPP/CPK scholarship. No scholarship was granted by CPK in 2013.

Agriculture Committee: John Barnett, Chair

This committee has been inactive for some time but with the interest of John Barnett there is the opportunity to explore several areas of exchange between KPP and CPK.  Possibilities include 1) manufacturing of agricultural equipment as well as food processing facilities for both human and animal consumption by U.S. businesses, 2) development of aqua culture 3) development of “extension services” to provide education to farmers regarding farming techniques, 4) developing farm loan and grant programs, 5) encourage training and education for veterinary students through KPP University Linkage, 6) encourage an exchange program between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Paraguayan government to develop farm export/import agreements.  The Partners of the Americas has grants and information related to agriculture.

Citizen Participation: John Barnett and Jared Larson, Co-Chairs.

Jared Larson and John Barnett worked diligently to promote an exchange of professional soccer clubs in 2013. An exciting possibility of inviting a soccer team from Paraguay to compete with the Kansas City Sporting Club soccer team.  While this project is an ongoing effort, the possibility of citizen involvement and awareness in KPP activities is exciting.

International Trade: Melissa Birch, Chair

Ongoing efforts are continuing with the development of a trading plan being prepared by Kansas Global Trading Group.  Contacts with the Economic Development staff at the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay have been made. A summit between business leaders in Paraguay and Kansas is being discussed.

Women In Development: Virginia Moxley, Grace Y. Hwang, Co-chair

Plans were discussed to invite Clotide Benitez, Chair of the Department of Human Ecology at the Universida Nacional de Asuncion to Kansas State University to plan for the future of that program.  The need for training in English for those involved in human ecology studies has been discussed.

Natural Resources: Ted Cable, Chair

KPP member Ted Cable and CPK member Alberto Granada are working on a proposal for a birding, environmental and cultural exchange.  KPP member Bob

Klemm reported the Friends of the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan has provided a $4,300.00 for continuation of an amphibian survey in the Chaco area of Paraguay.

Membership: David Schafer, Chair

Following completion of terms as a KPP board member Dave assumed a new role as Membership Committee Chair following many years of great service by Bob Klemm in the same position.  KPP membership is 97 as of December 31, 2013.

Budget and Finance Committee: John  Poertner, KPP Treasurer and Chair

A Finance Committee composed of the KPP Treasurer and members of the board presented and received approval of the KPP Board to make changes in various fund investments and to place some general fund monies in short term CDs and money market funds.  The recommendation were made on the basis that current investment were charging a high (1.94%) annual expense ratio and in another case 1% back end loads.  The changes will result in greater interest income for the Steichen Fund and KPP operating funds. Attached to, and as a part of this annual report, are the financial statements of KPP revenues and expenses for the year 2013, as well as a listing of all KPP financial assets.

Other Activities:

It is always likely that some important event or contribution by an individual will be missed when doing a report such as this.  There are many members and individuals who quietly share their time, money and creativity to support the long standing relationships between the people of Kansas and the people of Paraguay. If any oversight has been made in this annual report, it truly unintentional.

Thanks is certainly due to Cecilia Martinez for serving as newsletter editor and to Ann Burger for stepping up to assume that role. Ceci did a wonderful job and Ann is carrying on in the same tradition.  Thanks also to all the individuals and families who served as hosts or provided receptions and meals for those friends coming from Paraguay to Kansas. While the satisfaction and emotional rewards of hosting are self-evident, appreciation for those efforts should not be overlooked.

Appreciation is given to John Poertner for maintaining and disseminating information on the KPP website <>. That website is just one more way reaching out in the difficult task of letting people know about Kansas Paraguay Partners.  






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