(pictured above l-r:) JRF's Damian Travier, Rima Abdul Malak, Anka Wessan, Karim Amellal, Bernard El Ghoul, Balard Guy Daniel Houag and JRF's Westina Matthews
On February 13th, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) hosted five visitors from France who were part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The program provides for short-term visits to the United States by current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields, giving them an opportunity to experience this country firsthand while cultivating lasting relationships with their American counterparts.
During their three-hour visit, the group was greeted by JRF President and CEO Della Britton Baeza who talked about JRF's 41-year old rich history and mission. It was followed by a presentation outlining JRF’s Mentoring and Leadership program led by Vice President and Chief Program Officer Westina Matthews and Director of Education and Leadership Development Damian Travier. The pair detailed JRF's extensive program of peer and professional mentoring, internship placement, leadership training, international travel and community service options, and the many networking opportunities made available through our sponsors and partners. A Q&A followed the presentation.
The visitors, who represented government, the non-profit sector, academia and the media, sought more information on JRF's role in the advancement of higher education, particularly JRF’s success model among underserved populations. JRF staff learned that, like the U.S., France is experiencing an achievement gap in higher education, as studies show, for example, that young people from low-income areas are glaringly underrepresented in business and engineering schools.
The French delegation included Ms. Rima Abdul Malak, Cultural Counselor for the Mayor of Paris, Mr. Karim Amellal, Founder and CEO of Stand Alone Media, Dr. Bernard El Ghoul, Director of the Menton Institute of Political Sciences, Dr. Balard Guy Daniel Houag, Director of Des Souvenirs Pour Tous (NGO) and Ms. Anka Wessan, manager of the Strasbourg Press Club.