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

A Few Highlights of Sergio Jara’s Visit to Kansas

Paraguayan Sculptor Sergio Jara spent a month in Kansas this fall. Upon his return he sent pictures from his visit along with a note.

Sergio said that he was a bit nervous starting his trip to a new country, new people, new experiences and uncertain if his English was good enough.  Sergio found friendly people who opened their homes to him. He was thankful for all of the hospitality, comfortable living, interesting exchange of opinions and good practice speaking English that got better and better. He is grateful for the many new friends that he made in Kansas.

Sergio found the art facilities and professors within the Kansas universities and art institutions to be superior and a great help in his artistic training. He valued the ability to be able to choose various activities and found the opportunity to talk with other students and present his work to be extremely valuable.

Sergio particularly wanted to thank Amber Hansen and Nicholas, Judith McCrea, Eric Conrad and Yoonmi, Michael Hager, Fernando Achucarro and family, Ramiro Miranda and family, Lana Messner, Jennifer Baldwin and family, Meli Peña, Peter Haney, Miriam Mongelós and John Poertner and Edith Black and all of those people he met, gave of their time, and knowledge.

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Sergio Jara won the sculpture competition sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). Part of his prize was to spend a month in Kansas hosted by KPP artists and supporters. His trip was also supported by Partners of the Americas as part of their education and culture travel grant program.  Kansas artists Amber Hansen, Judith McCrea of the University of Kansas, and Eric Conrad of Emporia State University deserve special recognition for all of their efforts to make Sergio’s visit rich and valuable.

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.

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. 

Ambassador Pangrazio Conquers The University of West Virginia

Last night the University of West Virginia beat the University of Kansas in men’s basketball. As a KU fan I was disappointed.  However Paraguayan Ambassador to the United States Igor Pangrazio (a KU graduate) was also visiting UWV and had a better outcome.  He was promoting studying in Paraguay and supporting President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas program that Partners of the Americas is promoting. The program seeks to have 100,000 students from the north to study in the south and visa versa.  Here is an article from the UWV student paper about the Ambassador’s visit.

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.

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 under “Publications.” Discount applies for two or more books.






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