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

Sergio Jara – Paraguayan Sculptor

Sergio Jara won the 7th Annual Young Artists competition sponsored by Centro Culture Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). 

As part of his prize Sergio spent a month in Kansas visiting artists and shared his work in Lawrence, Kansas City, Topeka, and Emporia. HIs travel was supported by POA, KPP and CPK

Eric Conrad a sculptor and Emporia State University professor assisted with the judging of the contest and traveled to Paraguay through a Partners of the Americas (POA) Education and Culture grant.  Eric is one of Sergio’s artist hosts along with Judy McCrea and Amber Hansen.

Sergio Jara

Sergio Jara

At an early age Sergio knew that he wanted to be a sculptor.  It was a natural path since his mother is an artist and his father is an engineer.  Sergio’s academic training in sculpture was at the Instituto Superior de Bellas Artes in Asuncion obtaining the title of Professor of Art.  This is Sergio’s contest winning work.

waiting for the son

Waiting for the Son.

Sergio has received international recognition for his work being invited to participate in the 8th International Art and Wine festival (2015) in Tarija, Bolivia. Here is the piece that he created.

Bolivia - Sergio

In 2014 Sergio was invited to participate in the International Wood Carving Workshop in Sichuan China to celebrate World Wood Day.  The artists were shown a pile of roots and asked to select one to make their sculpture.

Raw material

Raw material

Resulting work.

Sergio - china

Prior to Sergio’s work in China he was invited to participate in the 11th World Cultural Art Symposium in South Korea.  He was presented with a large piece of granite and asked to create a work.  Here is the result.


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.

Winner of Paraguayan Youth Painting Contest

Manuel Vera of Villarrica is the winner of the art contest sponsored by the bi-national Paraguay United States Cultural Center (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP).  Manuel will receive free English instruction at CCPA before traveling to Kansas to visit with Kansas artists. The theme of the contest was lost childhood. The photos below show Manuel and a paintings he created to respond to this theme.  Judith McCrea a professor of art at the University of Kansas and long time KPP member and supporter participated as a judge in this contest.

This is one of several art contests aimed at young Paraguayan artists and sponsored by CCPA, CPK and KPP. Previously there has been a photography and a sculpture contest. Amber Hansen of Lawrence assisted the judging of the photography contest and Eric Conrad of Emporia State University assisted with the judging of the sculpture contest.

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Paraguayan Art

Kansas Paraguay Partners and Comité Paraguay Kansas have had both visual and performing artist exchanges for most of its existence. Recently there is a special visual arts project between KPP, CPK and the Paraguayan Binational Center (CCPA).  Amber Hansen and Eric Conrad have traveled to Paraguay to judge art contests and we await the visit of Sergio Jara the Paraguayan winner of the sculpture contest.  Paraguayan photographer Teresita Gonzalez has also visited Kansas recently.  All of this is to say that Paraguay has a vibrant visual art tradition.  KPP supporter Arla Jones sent this link to Paraguay’s participation in the Venice Biennale.  Take a look at some great work.

Kansas Artist Helps Judge Sculpture Contest in Paraguay

Eric Conrad who teaches are at Emporia State University is visiting Paraguay under a Partners of the Americas travel grant to assist the judging of a sculpture contest sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (CCPA) and Comite Paraguay Kansas (CPK).  The winner of the context will visit Kansas at a later date. Here are a few photos supplied by our partners at CPK.

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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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