Kansas Paraguay Partners Tribute to Mary Miller

Mary Miller and Charlie Stansifer

Mary Miller and Charlie Stansifer

Mary Miller passed on Wednesday April 8, 2015. Mary was active in the Kansas Paraguay Partnership for many years. One of her successful projects was with the Citizen Participation Committee. This project illustrates one of the strengths of Mary and long-term partnerships like Kansas Paraguay Partners. A significant change in the Paraguayan government presented an opportunity that KPP could successfully take advantage of because of the long-term relationship that had been developed over many years.

In the 1990s as Paraguay was developing democratic institutions after decades of dictatorships Mary Miller and Nan Wilson undertook a several year project in voter education with our Paraguayan partners at Comite Paraguay Kansas. Mary and Nan were active in the League of Women Voters and helped Paraguayans understand how a non-partisan and non-governmental organization could educate its citizens about democratic processes.

This was a several prong project that involved Mary traveling to Paraguay in 1993 to gauge interest in democratic elections. She found eagerness to move forward and get involved. With assistance from the Nation Association of Partners of the Americas (later Partners of the Americas) and USAID a youth conference was held in Asuncion on their roles in a democratic society.

A group of Paraguayan women from Mujers por la Democracia also traveled to Kansas to learn how the League of Women Voters engaged in voter education. While in Kansas they attended city commission meetings and participated in the League Day at the Kansas legislature.

Upon returning to Paraguay three women engaged women in Mercado Quatro that is one of the larger markets in Asuncion with primarily women venders. These women identified issues important to them that related to the municipal government. Once the issues were identified they held public forms around the city and asked candidates to address the issues. These forms attracted 100 to 150 people each. Mujers por la Democracia also used these events to educate people about voter registration and the voting process.

Mary reported on the progress of this project to the Department of State, the Advisory Committee for USAID and the staff of Senators Dole and Kassebaum.

Mary was also an adventurer.  Read more at http://obituaries.ljworld.com/obituaries/ljworld/obituary.aspx?n=mary-elizabeth-phillips-miller&pid=174613625

POA President Steve Vetter and Ambassador Igor Pangrazio

This short video is from Partners of the Americas.  Steve is welcoming Ambassador Pangrazio to Washington as he starts his post as the Paraguayan Ambassador to the United States.  Igor is a graduate of the University of Kansas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj_XhRQP7ZY

Soul Deep – The Power to Connect, Serve, Change Lives

Here is another book from Partners of the Americas.  This is the second book celebrating 50 years of Partners.

Soul Deep – The Power to Connect, Serve, Change Lives.

Many are surprised at the breadth and far-reaching impact of Partners of the Americas. By simply connecting passion with human need, this one organization empowered a hemisphere of volunteers to create and implement a broad array of life-changing programs. Soul Deep is a powerful reminder that ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others

You can order from www.partnersmarket.net under “Publications.” Discount applies for two or more books, mix and match. See also: The Power of Partnership. #partnersamericas

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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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Paraguayan Women’s Soccer Team

I woke up this morning to hear a special report about the Paraguayan Women’s Soccer Team on Only a Game (public radio show).  Nice report of the difficulty of girls wanting to play soccer in a country where the sport has been dominated by boys and men.  Take a look.

http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2014/08/09/paraguayan-womens-soccer

Paraguay is a Young Country

Here is an interesting and important piece about the youth of Paraguay.  According to a recent study 66% of the Paraguayan population is under 30 years of age. Radio Free Europe recently put out a map that shows that 32% of the Paraguayan population is less than 14 years of age. This makes Paraguay one of the youngest countries in the world and ahead of most Latin American countries.  In South American only Bolivia at 35% and Guyana at 36% have younger populations. That presents a real challenge and opportunity for the country.  One particular challenge is education.  Given the educational disparities it will be difficult to provide all of the countries youth a 21st Century education.  If a family has resources, you can get a world class education.  Otherwise it is a challenge.

http://www.laprensasa.com/309_america-in-english/2627532_paraguay-must-deal-with-challenges-posed-by-young-population.html

 

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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