As the cold settles in here in Washington, D.C. and the Northeastern United States, I want to revisit summer. My colleague Travis Parsley made a visit to Wayne County, Pennsylvania, during summer camp season. I will let Travis take it from here. Enjoy. Read More ›
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.
|About Rebecca Pasini|
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange
Rebecca A. Pasini joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges in July 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister - Counselor, Ms. Pasini has been an American diplomat since 1997.
Ms. Pasini previously served as the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs from 2021-2023. Other Washington assignments have included positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Office of Foreign Missions, and as a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. She has also completed multiple overseas tours, including as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as the Consular Chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Other tours included Mexico City and Kuwait.
A Maryland native, Ms. Pasini has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, a master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, and an undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College.
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