International Education Week

This is International Education Week and I almost missed the chance to remind folks of Kansas Paraguay Partners role in international education.

Latin American scholar and supporter of international education Charlie Stansifer was instrumental in making it possible for 24 Paraguayan students to study at each of the Kansas Regents universities each year for in-state tuition.  The program has grown since Charlie started it in the 1970s. Today more than 1,000 Paraguayan students have studied in Kansas.

Charlie went on to initiate a study abroad scholarship of $1,500 for Kansas students to study in Paraguay.  Since we are a partnership there is also $1,500 scholarship for a Paraguayan to study in Kansas.  We are a small but important part of the international education movement.

Here is a news release charting the recent progress of international education in he US.

The 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities had the highest rate of growth in 35 years, increasing by ten percent to a record high of 974,926 students in the 2014/15 academic year. This strong growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education. The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country.

The report also found the number of U.S. students studying abroad increased by five percent in 2013/14, the highest rate of growth since before the 2008 economic downturn. While study abroad by American students has more than tripled in the last two decades, reaching a new high of 304,467, still only about 10 percent of U.S. students study abroad before graduating from college. The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The report also points out that a large part of the increase in international education is from India and China.  Latin America represents a small part of international education.  Partners of the Americas is seeking to change that through their 100,000 Strong initiative. Check out this great program at  And here is a video about the program

Comite Paraguay Kansas and Kansas Paraguay Partners are Promoting 4H/4C – Again

I am reprinting (below) an article written by Katie Allen of the Kansas State Extension Service about Deryl Waldren helping Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) and Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) promote 4H in Paraguay where it is know as 4C.  One advantage of a long term partnership like that of KPP/CPK is the opportunity to revisit opportunities from the past.  In the 1980s Lois Redman and Clara Dubbs took leadership in promoting 4C in Paraguay.  As a result Paraguayan youth attended Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University forging life long friendships. One of my fond memories living in Paraguay for a year was waiting for the bus one morning and a pickup truck pulled over and asked me where I was from.  When I said Kansas the driver replied that he graduated from Fort Hays and he would be happy to take me to the city center.  The driver was Anibal Fanego who at the time was a high level official in the Paraguayan Department of Agriculture.  When KPP took a tour of Paraguay in 2005 Anibal was sure to stop our hotel by and great Lois and Clara as did many other Paraguayans who were hosted by these two KPP leaders.  It is great to see that more of these types of relationship will be forged in the coming years..

Northwest Kan. 4-H specialist focusing on youth program in Paraguay

As part of his trip to revitalize Paraguay’s 4-C program, similar to the 4-H program in the United States, Deryl Waldren participated in several interviews with media, including a live radio interview in Spanish in Limpio, Paraguay.

K-State Research and Extension

COLBY – All 4-H members in the United States know what the four Hs represent – head, heart, hands and health. Similar youth programs exist across the globe but are known by other names. In Paraguay, the program is called 4-C, with the Cs standing for cabeza, corazón, capacidad and cooperación. These mean head, heart, capacity and cooperation.

“There has been a strong partnership with Paraguay in Kansas through the Partner of the Americas program,” said Deryl Waldren, 4-H specialist for K-State Research and Extension’s northwest area in Colby. “Kansas and Paraguay were linked up, because they are similar in that both are relatively flat, have no mountains, have good agricultural land and don’t have access to water.”

Waldren completed a two-week trip to Paraguay in August to perform a needs assessment of its 4-C program. The program was started in 1949, he said, and has gone through many changes over the years. Many in the country want to revitalize the program and make it more accessible and relevant for youth throughout the country.

Waldren started by meeting with stakeholders, including some of the country’s top agricultural leaders, and 4-C clubs to observe and answer questions. Among the top areas in which the 4-C clubs wanted to engage members was service learning projects that benefited local communities, such as community gardens.

“A lot of these gardens that I observed were attached to the schools, and that was helping with food security – making sure families have enough to eat,” Waldren said. “If there’s excess food, they were able to sell it to the community and make money for the school or to do more for 4-C.”

Other service projects of interest to 4-C clubs, he said, depended on a local need. One club did some landscaping and beautified a local park to make it a place where kids would want to go. Another club plans to build an athletic field. Another built fishing ponds that will be stocked to grow fish to sell to members of the community. This project also teaches entrepreneurial skills to members.

“We like to see kids learning that they need to give back to the community in community service projects,” Waldren said. “The best way is to look at the local needs and develop a plan or a project that will give back to the community what that community needs.”

“Obviously 4-H around the world is based on local needs, but there are certain things we hope 4-H is teaching, which is life skills through these and other projects,” he added.

Two organizations helped organize Waldren’s meetings in Paraguay, including Committee Paraguay Kansas (Comité Paraguay Kansas or CPK) and the Center for Information and Development of Resources (Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarrollo or CIRD). CPK is a volunteer organization that promotes development between Paraguay and institutions in Kansas, while CIRD is a non-governmental organization that facilitates programs and grants to develop Paraguay.

The work continues

Waldren, who has also worked in youth development programs in Australia, Asia and Europe, said it’s important to understand other programs similar to 4-H worldwide. The relationships can create great learning opportunities and be mutually beneficial.

Specifically in Paraguay, he hopes more extension staff will join him to meet three proposed goals based on expressed needs. The first is to train extension staff in Paraguay in positive youth development and how to implement more 4-C clubs. The second is to find relevant, succinct curriculum materials they can use within the clubs that could be easily translated to Spanish. The third is to match Kansas 4-H clubs with Paraguay 4-C clubs to increase the exchange of information and help one another.

“We look forward to having more communication to see what their needs are and putting together different ways and more people to help them,” Waldren said.

He added that it’s also important to have representatives from Paraguay visit Kansas to see 4-H in action. Two representatives from CPK will be at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday, Sept. 12, to see 4-H exhibits, meet 4-H members and their families, and visit with 4-H staff as part of an eight-day tour of Kansas.


On August 7, 2015 Paraguayan President Horatio Cartes signed legislation that establishes September 23 as Afro-Paraguayan Cultural Day.

As an advocate Silvia Diaz de Moore is largely responsible for this legislation and is the International Representative of the Saint Baltazar Traditional Group of Kamba Cua that is one of the Afro-Paraguayan communities. 

Silvia Diaz de Moore

Silvia Diaz de Moore

Silvia Diaz de Moore said that for the Afro-descendant community this achievement puts on the calendar a day that commemorates Afro-descendants.  She explained that September 23 was chosen as the day to commemorate Afro-Paraguayan culture because of the death of Gervasio Artigas.

General José Gervasio Artigas, also known as father of Uruguayan independence, included free slave soldiers (known as los lancercos de Artigas or the lancers of Artigas) in Uruguay’s war of independence from Spain.  Silvia and the Kamba Cua community’s descendants were los lanceros de Artigas, who fought in the war of Uruguayan independence in the early 1800s.  Artigas and his soldiers, including los lanceros de Artigas, received political asylum in Paraguay around 1820, but the Paraguayan dictator at that time, José Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, would not allow them to mix with the “white” population.”  Francia provided Silvia’s ancestors land and livestock outside of Paraguay’s capital city of Asunción to survive.  Silvia’s Kamba Cua community has lived in that area ever since. Kamba Cua, is Guarani, the native indigenous language of Paraguay, and means “area of the black.”  Silvia’s descendants maintained their African heritage by performing African dance and musical traditions called Candombe.  Silvia and residents of Kamba Cua still practice Candombe and organize a festival every year in their community to celebrate their heritage and culture.  Other Afro-Paraguayan communities are in Paraguari, Emboscada, and Laurelty.  

African inspired Paraguayan Masks

African inspired Paraguayan Masks

Silva is married to Kansas native Shante Moore who graduated from Kansas State University.  Shante participated in a Kansas State community service project in Piribebuy, Paraguay in 1994. Silvia and Shante met in 2000 when he was working as a fellow in the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion. During his fellowship, he worked with Kamba Cua to set up a Kansas State Community Service Project with four students in 2001.  They later married. Shane is currently working in the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS).

Economic Progress in Paraguay

Paraguay has a long history of economic activity attributed to corruption and contraband.  Ciudad Del Este is a well known center of such activity.  Now we finally have some good news about progress in this amazing city.  If you have ever been there, you know what I mean.  Ciudad del Este has it all.

Tomorrow (April 22) is Korea Day in Paraguay

Here is an interesting article from the Korean Harold about Paraguay designating April 22 as a day to honor Korean immigrants.  This is an interesting idea for a couple of reasons.  Imagine if the US had a day to honor the immigrants from each nation.  Koreans also brought their food to Paraguay.  Imagine what the first Korean immigrants thought about the Paraguayan diet.  They had to spice it up a whole lot.

The articles states that the Korean population in Paraguay at one time was 30,000 and now is 5,000.  What happened?

Photos of The War of the Triple Alliance

BBC has a great article about photos from the War of the Triple Alliance.  Since the war was from 1865 to 1870 it was a long and difficult task to take these photos.  They belong to Uruguay and are touring Paraguay.  Clink the link and take a look.

Museo Diocesano de Artes Jesuiticas

It was a warm day in 1991 and the Santa María de Fe was sleepy.  Edith and I decided to take a side trip to visit a museum that Marianna Beech of Kansas Paraguay Partners help create and maintain.  Both the town and the museum are special.  We took the bus on the main highway from Asunción to Encarnación and after 5 hours got dropped off at the side road to Santa María.  We caught a small bus for the 10 km into town.

Jesuits established many missions in Paraguay in the 17th Century.  Along with proselytizing they helped maintain Guaraní the indigenous and first language of Paraguay. Each mission established a speciality for religious and economic reasons.  The mission at Santa María specialized in religious sculpture.  Here is an example.

Sept - 76

The workshop became known as the Great Workshop of the Ancient Missions due to its high quality work and Santa María became one of the largest missions with about 7,000 indigenous residents.  The museum is housed in a 1670s building that once housed the people living at the mission. It consists of 6 rooms that house 56 items. These details are from Romy Natalia Goldberg’s great guidebook to Paraguay.

Edith and I marveled at the workmanship. It was interesting that while many of the saints depicted were European they were represented in Paraguay with the features of local indigenous people. It would have been easy for these sculptures to disappear over the hundreds of years of existence. It is wonderful that they are preserved in this wonderful small museum.

In the 1970s Marianna Beech was president of Kansas Paraguay Partners and learned about the sculptures and worked to create the museum to preserve them. She was an avid supporter throughout the rest of her life.  Here she is in 1979 receiving an award for the creation of the museum. Marianna is next to the women holding the award.

Dec-79 - Mika Mersan, Marianna Beach

Back to our trip.  We easily found the museum and had a wonderful tour.  When we left the museum about noon we asked about the next bus back to the main highway.  We were told that it was not until 4 pm. We decided to have lunch at the local restaurant. Well calling it a restaurant is generous.  Remember this was some 25 years ago.  It was a dimly lit large rectangular room with a few tables.  The food was good and we heard English being spoken at another table.  We introduced ourselves and asked where these other gringos were from.  It turns out that they were from Kansas State University and there on a agriculture project.  A small world indeed. The partnership was alive and working.

The next challenge was waiting until 4 pm.  That was pretty easy.  Like most Paraguayan towns after lunch siesta was an important part of the day.  So the town shut down and we rested on the porch of the museum being entertained by a family of monkeys that lived in the park across the street.  We were fascinated by the family and they seemed happy to entertain. I imagine that at least some of the towns people considered the monkeys to be a nuisance.  When we have Paraguayan visitors who are in Kansas for the first time they tend to fall in love with squirrels.  We would be happy to trade our squirrels for their monkeys.


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