Our First Kansas Youth Ambassadors to Paraguay!

Lawrence High School, Topeka High School,  Peabody-Burns Community High School and the Kansas Paraguay Partners are very proud to announce that Meredith Burke,  Ciera Cathey, Joshua Klarmann, , Morgan Manger  and  Nicolas Williams have been selected to be Kansas Youth Ambassadors to Paraguay this summer.   Sidney Westervelt  was selected as an alternate.

Students from across Kansas submitted applications in English and Spanish, for the five Youth Ambassador positions in 2010.  This is the first year that the Youth Ambassadors program will be a reciprocal exchange, giving U.S. youth the exciting opportunity to travel to Latin America and be immersed in the culture, experience the daily life of a Latin American youth and learn about leadership and volunteer service in another country.   The students  were selected to represent Kansas, and the United States, based on the following criteria:  their community service,   communicative abilities in Spanish, and their high academic standing.

All five  students will be traveling with an adult chaperone on an  all-expenses paid trip from June 20th to July 17th, 2010.  They will be spending a few days in Washington, D.C. for a U.S. State Department orientation before traveling to Paraguay where they will stay with host families.  Upon return to Kansas, the Youth Ambassadors will be expected to do service projects in their schools and communities.

In the photo above:  Lawrence High School Students Meredith Burke and Morgan Manger.

In the photo to the left:  Peabody-Burns High School students  Joshua Klarmann

In the photo below:  Topeka High School students Ciera Cathey and Nico Williams.


2009 Youth Ambassadors Arrive in Wichita!

2009 Youth Ambassadors Arriving in Wichita

Pictured here are this year’s Paraguayan Youth Ambassadors at the Wichita airport where they arrived yesterday to begin their stay in Kansas. Five students will be going to Newton High School and five will be going to Riley County High School. They are also accompanied by two adult sponsors, Cristina Escriba and Graciela Ocampos from Asunción.

Read more about the students:

Lesly is 18 years old. She recently graduated from high
school and would like to study medicine. She attended
Santa Teresita High School in her hometown, Luque. She
studies English at the bi-national center, the Paraguayan-
American Cultural Center (CCPA). She can dance to typical
Paraguayan music with three bottles on her head and also
with a pitcher (or “cantaro” in Spanish). She was President
of her class and also captain of her handball team. Since
2007, Les has been a dance instructor who teaches typical
Paraguayan dance and ballet to children with special

Romina is a 17 year-old student from Asunción. This year,
she will graduate from Tecnico Javier Technical School
where she has been class president for two consecutive
years. Romina is an actress who loves theatre and poetry.
She can recite lines from plays in both official languages of
Paraguay, Spanish and in Guarani. She has been studying
English for 4 years at the CCPA. She worked with the
organization “Saka” (meaning transparent in Guarani) by
observing and monitoring voting stations during the 2008
Paraguayan presidential election.

Camila is 17 years old and lives in Lambare, a city near the
capital of Paraguay. She attends Johannes Gutenberg High
School, a polytechnic school, where she is in her third year
of high school and has been elected class president
several times. Since 2006, Camila has been studying
English at the CCPA. She loves cooking and can prepare
typical Paraguayan food for an afternoon cookout, like
“sopa paraguaya” and “chipa guasu.” Camila aspires to
become an English teacher.

Rebeca is a 17 year-old student from Asuncion. She is in
her second year at Dr. Luis Alberto de Herrera School. Her
school’s emphasis in health sciences has motivated her to
study medicine. Rebecca was elected president of her
student council. Since 2006, she has been studying
English at the CCPA with an Embassy scholarship. As part
of her community service work, she takes part in a project
called Organic Orchard in which she helps orphans at the
Our Lady of Asuncion Center improve their eating habits.

Alma Camila lives in a village called Conavi in the city of
Ypane, near Asuncion. She attends Dr. Eligio Ayala
School in Fernando de la Mora city and is in her second
year of high school. She will graduate with an emphasis in
health sciences. Alma is 16 years old and has been
studying English for two years at the CCPA with an
Embassy scholarship. She has participated in a community
project that monitors health conditions to assist the central
government in their quest for sanitary solutions. She enjoys
singing in Spanish and Guarani.

Fatima is a 16 year-old young musician from Asuncion. She
attends Virgen de Nazareth School. She studies music at
the National Conservatory of Music and is a member of the
Orchestra. Fatima plays the violin and piano and loves to
sing and dance to traditional music. Fatima also teaches
English to her classmates and has been studying English at
the Ministry of Defense’s Institute of Languages. She was
elected President of her class for three consecutive years
and is a member of her church choir. With her choir, she
got the opportunity to visit Brazil and Australia and meet the

David is an 18 year-old student from Hernandarias, a city
located in the Alto Paraná Department. He finished high
school at Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia Technical
School and is studying to become an engineer. He has
been studying English for 3 years at the English Language
Center. David is a member of Alto Parana’s basketball
team where he participated in two national tournaments. He
was vice president of the student council last year and
class president for several years.

Hansell is 17 years old and hails from Asuncion, where he
finished high school at Cerro Cora Technical School.
Hansell is now studying to be a computer science engineer.
He has been studying English at the CCPA for three years.
His social work includes a project called “Color of Hope” in
which he was the coordinator of the Music Club. Hansell
taught children, from very low income families, how to keep
busy through recreational activities during their free time,
by splitting the group of kids in clubs of music, paint, dance
and theatre. The project won third place in a competition
called Gabriela Prize.

Ronald is a 15 year-old student. He was born in
Encarnacion, a city in the Itapua Department, but has lived
in Asuncion since the age of six. He is in his second year at
American High School, a bilingual institution. Ronald is a
young and talented musician who sings in the school choir
and plays the guitar very well. He has also composed his
own songs and made a music video. He is an actor and
loves theatre. Ronald has participated in many cultural
festivals, notably with some recognized Paraguayan
personalities, and competed in many cultural contests at


Gabriele is 16 years old and was born in Naranjal, a city in
the Itapua Department. Presently, she lives in the town of
Hohenau, where she attends Concordia High School and
expects to graduate this year and pursue the study of
medicine. She has been studying English at the CCPA
since last year. Gabriele plays the keyboard, sings and
plays the violin at the Symphonic Orchestra of Itapúa. As
part of her community service activities at church, she
teaches music and participates in the Communitarian
Orchard project. She was elected class president for two
consecutives years.

New Ambassador to Paraguay Arrives in Asunción

Liliana Ayalde

Liliana Ayalde

Translated from: ABC Color Sunday, August 10, 2008

LILIANA AYALDE Arrives in Asunción replacing Ambassador Cason.

Liliana Ayalde, the new Ambassador of United States to the government of Paraguay, arrived in Paraguay today . The diplomat stepped foot in Paraguaya near noon at the Silvio Pettirossi Airport in Luque in a regular flight from Buenos Aires. She spoke briefly with the press indicating that her government will support the plans of the newly elected President Lugo.

Liliana Ayalde will replace James Cason in the United Embassy of States in Asunción. The Ambassador, in brief statements to the press, assured the nation that president George W. Bush intends to support all the initiatives of the new Paraguayan government’s administration which will assume power this Friday. American officials indicated that the diplomatic office in Asunción is arranging meeting between the Ambassador and President-elect Fernando Lugo. No date has been set for the meeting.

The United Embassy of States announced that Liliana Ayalde will present her credentials to the Paraguayan authorities, Monday, during an official ceremony that will take place in the Government Palace .

Ambassador Ayalde is well aquainted with South America having represented the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Colombia. This the first time that she will occupy a diplomatic charge.

(Submitted by KPP member Bob Klemm)

Cultural Connection

Paraguayan students learn about U.S. through extended stay in Lawrence

Alheli Aranda, of Paraguay, performs a song in Spanish for Lawrence High School students during a fiesta to welcome exchange students from Paraguay. Ten Paraguayans are visiting Lawrence from the Kansas Paraguay Partners program.

Alheli Aranda, of Paraguay, performs a song in Spanish for Lawrence High School students during a fiesta to welcome exchange students from Paraguay. Ten Paraguayans are visiting Lawrence from the Kansas Paraguay Partners program.

Lawrence Journal-World Newspaper
By Terry Rombeck
February 12, 2008

Jazmin Larroza, left, of Paraguay, and Lawrence High School principal Steve Nilhas chat during a fiesta welcoming exchange students at LHS. The students arrived in the U.S. on Feb. 1 and visited Washington, D.C. They arrived in Lawrence Feb. 5 and will stay through Friday.

Alheli Aranda, left, of Paraguay, listens to junior Adrian Peña’s iPod during a fiesta welcoming exchange students at Lawrence High School. Ten exchange students from Paraguay are visiting Lawrence from the Kansas Paraguay Partners program. At the bottom is junior Gage Snow.

Paraguay Partners
Sometimes, it turns out, movies aren’t the most accurate reflection of real life.

Dalma González, of Paraguay, is finding that out this month as she spends time with high school students in Lawrence.

“In the movies, everything is party, party, party, party,” González says. “But they are studious.”

González is in the United States as part of the Kansas Paraguay Partners program. Ten Paraguayan students — five at Lawrence High School, five at Free State High School — arrived in Lawrence Feb. 5 and will stay with host families through Friday.

This is the second consecutive year Lawrence has hosted students from Paraguay.

Kansas Paraguay Partners is an arm of Partners of the Americas, which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department. It aims to connect Americans with people in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on promoting community service.

The 10 students and three sponsors arrived in the United States Feb. 1 and spent three days in Washington, D.C., touring museums and meeting with government officials.

Their time in Lawrence will include attending classes and touring the state Capitol.

Arla Jones, the LHS librarian who is coordinating the visit, says Paraguay is a perfect match for Kansas, considering its economy is agriculturally based, it’s landlocked and has little tourism.

“The idea is for them to share things about their country,” Jones says. “They know so much about the U.S.”

The Paraguyan students were selected from among 350 applicants. Each of the students is involved in community service activities in Paraguay, and Partners of the Americas wants to encourage that service.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” student Nathalia González says of coming to the United States. “But it’s a big responsibility, too.”

Dalma González says she’s wanted to come to the United States much of her life.

“It’s the typical American dream,” she says. “We are so into the American culture — the Internet, books, movie.”

Silvana Riveros says she grew up loving American music in particular, especially bands Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and Nirvana.

“These groups are my favorite ones,” she says. “The only part I don’t like is the hip-hop.”

Her host sister, LHS junior Parendi Birdie, adds: “She knows a lot of pop culture that I don’t even know.”

It’s not just pop culture that the Paraguayans follow. They follow presidential politics closely, and they say many in Paraguay are big fans of Barack Obama in his presidential bid.

Erwin Bogado, a Paraguyan teacher who is a sponsor on the trip, says the students selected for the free trip often can’t afford to study abroad on their own.

“These kids are really smart kids,” he says. “They come from middle-class families, so this means a lot to them.”

Thirza Klassen, another student, says she’s just glad to learn first-hand about real people in the United States — not just those she sees on TV.

“It’s important,” she says, “because when you hear about another culture, you think about the differences. This way, you can really learn about another culture. We are making friendships with families.”

About the country

Population: Around 6.7 million people.

Size: 406,750 square kilometers, slightly smaller than California.

Official languages: Spanish and Guarani

Government type: Constitutional republic

Capital: Asunción

Agricultural importance: 45 percent of the country’s workforce are employed in agriculture.

Major industries: Sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power.

Major exports: Soybeans, feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, electricity, wood and leather.

Currency: Guarani (5,094 per $1 U.S.)

Source: CIA World Factbook

%d bloggers like this: