Who needs water? During last Sunday’s grueling New York City Marathon almost EVERYONE needed water, and – especially between mile markers 17 and 22 – there was a good chance the smiling person with the extended hand offering water and Gatorade was a J-1 Exchange Visitor. Read More ›
While everyone in New York at this time of year shares the sweet anticipation of the upcoming Halloween festivities, for more than 50,000 runners from 135 countries it also means gearing up for a different kind of sweet treat: the proud accomplishment of completing the NYC Marathon. Among the 10,000 volunteers helping out at the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, you will find more than 850 of our J-1 participants. Experiencing the American tradition of volunteerism first hand, they will distribute water, cheer on athletes from their home countries, and share their cultures with their fellow volunteers and the runners.
[Interviewer] What are you excited for?
[Miriam] I am extremely excited about being at the New York City Marathon on Sunday, the 1st of November. Hi, I’m Miriam Vadria from Karachi,
Pakistan. I got a J-1 Visa because of a Fulbright Scholarship from Pakistan. And I’m doing a MBA degree here from SIPA at Columbia. I’ll be
volunteering at the New York City Marathon the first of November. I’ll be at fluid mile station 16. And I’ll be handing out water to all the runners
who are going to be doing hard work! And I specifically want to wish Hamna Zubair very good luck who is running for the cause of education in Pakistan.
[upbeat background music]
Young people always dream about what they will be when they grow up. Will they bring about world peace? Will they end poverty? Will they win an Oscar for their moving documentary? Will they invent the next big thing that radically changes technology? Here in the J-1 world, we jump out of our seats and cheer each time the J-1 internship program brings those young dreamers closer to their life-changing goals. It is a noisy place around here.
I took Route J-1 to California’s Silicon Valley recently, where the world’s most innovative tech companies are hosting J-1 interns and turning dreams into action. I sat down with up-and-coming tech whizzes from all over the world at Cisco and Facebook. Through these J-1 programs, international students supply the dreams while their hosts teach them to turn their big ideas into programs and tools.
This week, I wrote a State Department blog outlining a few things you should know about the J-1 Visa program, in hope of reaching a larger audience. While the program is well known abroad and to the readers of Route J-1, many Americans are unaware of the amazing work being done by J-1 participants. Read More ›
Last week we held a symposium at George Washington University, here in Washington, D.C. on “Building Bridges: Strengthening Educational & Citizen Exchange Linkages,” following the opening of official diplomatic relations with Cuba. The idea was to bring together those who work with exchange programs to discuss our new U.S. approach on engaging people-to-people with Cuba – of which J-1 plays an integral role. Read More ›
The United States has been a longtime leader in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. In fact, championing disability rights is a core part of our foreign policy goals. The State Department recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and we used this opportunity to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in international exchanges. This summer, my colleagues Carolina Pena and Stephen Hill from the Office of Compliance had the privilege of visiting a camp for children with disabilities in Southampton, New York, which hosts several J-1 Camp Counselors and SWT (Summer Work Travel) participants each year. You can read all about their visit below!
Southampton Fresh Air Home, a camp for physically challenged children, has been an oasis for kids with special needs since 1901. With a range of activities uniquely adapted for them, children with physical disabilities grow their self-confidence, learn new skills, and develop positive attitudes. The camp hosts J-1 Camp Counselors and Summer Work Travel (SWT) participants, who bring cultural diversity and make meaningful connections with the staff and campers.
In addition to the rodeo, my colleagues Stacey Gomelsky and Nadine Zaatar also made their way to Yellowstone National Park, the second leg of their tour of Wyoming. You can read about their visits with J-1 exchange visitors at this famous and historic location.
Earlier this summer, my colleagues Stacey Gomelsky and Nadine Zaatar traveled to Wyoming, where they attended a rodeo event with J-1 participants. You can read all about it below.
Wyoming is a state best known for its diverse ecosystems of scenic mountain ranges interspersed with sparkling rivers and alpine lakes, vast green landscapes stretching to the horizon, free-ranging herds of bison, and frequent human encounters with bears. Wyoming is also known for its enduring “Western spirit,” which for Americans summons images of pioneers heading across the open range into the new frontier of early America.
Read More ›
|About Nicole Elkon|
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange
Nicole Elkon joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange in September 2021. Until June 2021, Ms. Elkon was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization focused on human rights and the rule of law. Prior to her position as COO, Ms. Elkon was a Senior Advisor at Results for America (RFA), a non-profit organization focused on advancing data-driven, evidence based public policy at all levels of government. She also served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of ECA and was Director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships at ECA working to leverage strategic partnerships to enhance Administration foreign policy priorities.Read More
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