Washington, D.C. (November 3, 2022) — Cultural Vistas, a nonprofit international exchange organization, is pleased to announce Stella Jemna and Kaylon Paterson as its 2022 Alumni Award recipients.
Stella Jemna, a 2017 alumna of the Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program, has been named recipient of the Cultural Vistas Distinguished Alumni Leadership award which celebrates alumni who have attained distinction in their chosen field while fostering international understanding and collaboration in their communities and organizations. It is the highest honor bestowed upon Cultural Vistas alumni.
During her Muskie Fellowship with Cultural Vistas, Ms. Jemna worked with the American-Turkish Friendship Council while finishing her Fulbright graduate studies at Georgia State University. She currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Moldova, Natalia Gavrilita, working to bring peace, support, and aid to Moldova and neighboring Ukraine, both impacted by the Russian invasion.
“What I understood and experienced in the U.S. was a different perspective on diversity. Studying in the U.S. showed me how collaboration between people from different backgrounds, diverse communities, and different races and genders can create strategies that are, honestly, better balanced…”
Earlier this year, Ms. Jemna and her team supported the Prime Minister at the World Economic Forum in Davos where they showcased solidarity and support of Ukraine while promoting the equitable advancement of democratic values. She was then selected as a fellow to the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival organized by Aspen Institute where leaders came together from around the world to discuss challenges and share solutions-oriented ideas.
Ms. Jemna is a tireless advocate for women, working diligently to increase women’s participation in Moldovan civil society. She previously managed the “Women with Ideas” program at the National Democratic Institute where her efforts led to more female representation in political decision-making. Stella holds the United Nations Award for contribution and promotion of human rights and a UNICEF Award for promoting children’s rights from her previous journalistic endeavors.
Kaylon Paterson, a two-time Cultural Vistas alumnus, will receive the organization’s annual Alumni Impact award, which recognizes individuals for their contributions to the global alumni community and demonstrates the value of international exchange beyond the scope of the program.
Mr. Paterson participated in the STEM LAUNCH study tour to Germany in 2016 and, following the completion of his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Mr. Paterson received the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals scholarship.
These exchange experiences paved the path for Mr. Paterson to study aerospace engineering and pursue a Master’s in Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Currently, he is finishing an Executive Master’s in Global Management for Space Leadership at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Since the completion of his exchange programs, Mr. Paterson has mentored fellow HBCU students from Morehouse and beyond, encouraging them to apply to Cultural Vistas programs and guiding them through their experience. In addition, he has also dedicated efforts to connecting other CBYX participants with post-program job opportunities and career resources.
“I implore anyone seeking change, chance, and exploration to take the challenge and travel with any of the Cultural Vistas’ programs. You will not be disappointed.”
Mr. Paterson recently completed the John. S. McCain Fellowship at the Department of Defense and is an engineer with the Space Force. In addition to advocating for environmental sustainability through his company, Paterson Aerospace Systems, Mr. Paterson also serves as a board member and Chief Science Officer of the Caribbean Space Society, where he advocates for inclusion of Caribbean nations in the industry.
The Cultural Vistas’ annual Alumni Awards presentation will take place on December 8, 2022 at Harold Pratt House in New York City, following a moderated discussion with leading policy expert and New York Times bestselling author, Fiona Hill. A limited number of event tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at bridgetoaccess.splashthat.com.
Cultural Vistas leverages the power of international exchange to connect lives, enhance global skills, and drive positive change. Founded in 1963, we have nearly six decades of experience in designing and implementing exchange opportunities for individuals and institutions that cultivate curious, culturally competent, and globally engaged leaders.
Our unique and innovative programs empower participants at all levels – from college students to experienced executives – to expand their critical thinking skills, broaden their appreciation of diversity, build resilient networks, and approach challenges with an inclusive global mindset. Learn more at culturalvistas.org.