Washington D.C. (October 7, 2020) – For the first time since the inception of its annual awards, Cultural Vistas is pleased to announce that two alumni have been recognized with the 2020 Alumni Impact Award, both for their outstanding work in Southeast Asia. The awardees are Cherrie Atilano, a 2015 alumna of YSEALI Generation Green 2015 and Go NGO 2016, and Isoa Nabainivalu, alumnus of both the 2018 Young Pacific Leaders Small Grants Program and 2019 Young Pacific Leaders Conference. The duo will be recognized at the Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit on October 22.
Alumna Cherrie Atilano is being recognized for her pioneering leadership in the agriculture sector of her home country, the Philippines. An alumna of both the Generation Earth in Cambodia 2015 and Go NGO in the Philippines, Cherries’ experiences helped her profoundly in progressing her work to collaborate with youth throughout Southeast Asia. As Founder and CEO of AGREA Agricultural Systems International, Inc. she puts the knowledge she learned on her program into practice every day to help Filippino farmers develop a sustainable livelihood through agriculture development initiatives and advocacy efforts.
A lauded leader, she has been named the Philippine Ambassadress on Food Security by the Department of Agriculture. Examples of the programs she’s built to make an impact include GROW:Dream Awake.Cultivate, a partnership with the U.S. Embassy Manila trains youth from war zone regions in farming practices and Generation Gr3en, a partnership with the US Embassy Brunei Darussalam that has trained 60 young leaders for eco-business in Southeast Asia.
“The Cultural Vistas programs that I attended focused on human development with mindfulness on the environment, creation of sustainable livelihood and advocacy initiatives with human-centric approach,” said Cherrie. “This value is the core of my work with smallholder farmers in the Philippines. Making sure that they have enough income so that they can be lifted up from poverty at the same time achieve sustainability through a triple bottom line approach: people, planet, profit.”
Isoa Nabainivalu is one of Cultural Vistas most engaged, active and influential alumni in the Pacific region, having participated in both the 2018 Young Pacific Leaders Small Grants Program and 2019 Young Pacific Leaders Conference. His professional career focuses on working toward equality, inclusion and training for deaf youth in his home nation of Fiji and beyond. Through the Fiji Association of the Deaf (FAD), Isoa has worked to provide disability rights and capacity building to rural areas in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
A leader in his local deaf community, Isoa has brought these experiences back to the YPL initiative and to Cultural Vistas to expand our programming capacity and to ensure representation and accessibility in our programming. Isoa’s leadership is best reflected in his willingness to serve as a mentor to young people in the Pacific, as well as his ongoing work in community development. He has served as an alumni mentor for the YPL Conference in 2019, helping new delegates to reflect on their experiences and serving as an outlet for them to connect with about issues affecting the Pacific.
He has also been an unofficial mentor to other YPL small grant teams, helping to connect people, answer questions, and serve as a resource to call upon. Through his advocacy, the YPL program continues to draw applicants from all backgrounds, including the deaf population in Fiji.
I have been privileged to be part of this program as it enriched my growth in a holistic way and I came to appreciate the diverse and rich cultures and values that we each have,” said Isoa. “Young people have the drive and zest to tackle their issues and have equal and effective participation at all levels in society. As a Deaf person this program provided an enabling environment that made interactions inclusive and fun.”
Established in 2018, the Cultural Vistas Awards Benefit recognizes individuals and institutions for their influence and notable contributions toward the advancement of global skills, leadership development, and cross-cultural understanding. This signature event brings together leaders from across the business, education, government, and diplomatic communities for an evening celebrating the diversity of people, ideas, knowledge, and skills shared through international exchange. Cherrie and Isoa will be recognized among several award recipients, including Cisco, at the Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit on October 22 from 12-3 p.m. EST.
Learn more about the event program, tickets and opportunities to sponsor at cvbenefit.splashthat.com.
About Cultural Vistas
Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization whose mission is to enrich minds, advance global skills, build careers, and connect lives through international exchange. Cultural Vistas develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Every year, Cultural Vistas’ 30-plus unique exchange programs empower people in the United States and in more than 130 countries around the world to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society. Learn more at culturalvistas.org.