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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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.


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. 

Kansas Paraguay Partners 2015 Annual Meeting

Kansas Paraguay Partners had their annual meeting on March 14, 2015.  We were honored to have Paraguayan Ambassador Igor Pangrazio, Steve Vedder President of Partners of the Americas and two of his staff form Washington, DC.  The board had a welcoming dinner the previous evening.  The program included:

  • a panel of members who talked about what KKP and Paraguay have meant to them,
  • news from POA by Steve Vetter, Sherrita Wilkins, Ukiah Busch.
  • Ed O’Malley President of Kansas Leadership Circle told us about the Center.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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 under “Publications.” Discount applies for two or more books, mix and match. See also: The Power of Partnership. #partnersamericas



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers

%d bloggers like this: