Cultural Vistas Blog

Cultural Vistas Virtual Awards Benefit to Explore the Gap in Global Leadership with CNN Worldwide Host Fareed Zakaria

Washington D.C. (August 24, 2020) – From the global public health crisis gripping communities across the world to executive orders that enact new barriers closer to home, 2020 has been filled with challenges that threaten the mission of Cultural Vistas to promote global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. To date more than 75% of the organization’s programs have been canceled or postponed. Meanwhile, painful events across the United States over the past six months have thrust issues around racial inequality into the global spotlight, raising renewed awareness of the deep extent that systemic racism persists, weakening and diminishing our role in the world.

To explore innovative ways to advance global engagement in the modern era and raise funds to sustain the organization’s mission, Cultural Vistas is holding a Virtual Awards Benefit, October 22 and 23, 2020.The benefit will be headlined by Fareed Zakaria, CNN host, bestselling author and columnist for The Washington Post. Zakaria will deliver a keynote exploring the theme of how diversity can rescue democracy as well as insights from his upcoming book 10 Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World.

The host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, the weekly international and domestic affairs has become a prominent television forum for global newsmakers since its debut in 2008 featuring interviews with such prominent thought leaders as U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The program earned the prestigious Peabody Award in 2011 and an Emmy® Award nomination in 2013.

“We are so thrilled that Fareed Zakaria will be joining to help us all think about ways we can meet the moment with new solutions to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in international exchange,” said Jennifer Clinton, President and CEO of Cultural Vistas. “Undoubtedly the events of 2020 have been difficult for us all and we welcome Zakaria’s thought leadership as we explore the future of global exchange in this unique chapter of history and beyond.”

Established in 2018, Cultural Vistas annual 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 will bring leaders from across the business, education, government, and diplomatic communities together virtually for an evening celebrating the diversity of people, ideas, knowledge, and skills shared through international exchange. The event will take place October 22 and 23, 2020 from 12-3 p.m. EST.

Learn more about the event program, tickets and opportunities to sponsor at

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

Edmund S. Muskie Intern Helps Host University Prepare for the “New Normal”

The coronavirus pandemic drastically altered Fulbright Scholar and 2020 Edmund S. Muskie Intern Xeniya Volkova’s summer plans, but she has made the best of the “new normal.” Originally from Kazakhstan, Xeniya is earning her master’s degree in Educational Technology at Lehigh University. Lehigh is also hosting her for a summer internship, where she is helping design online courses and trainings for the upcoming academic year.

In this Q&A, Xeniya shares insights about her summer experience and how she made the most of her internship during the pandemic.

Xeniya in front of the Lehigh University Center. Staying close to campus during her summer internship gives her ready access to a community and campus she is familiar with during an uncertain time.

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IAESTE Interns Help Carnegie Mellon Lab Win National Public Safety Challenge

The benefits of international exchange extend way beyond building strong cultural ties. In the science and technology industry, there are exceptional benefits of hosting experienced international interns.

Senior Systems Scientist Dr. Yang Cai is a strong advocate for hosting international interns. He has been welcoming International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) participants into his lab at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for the past decade.

Dr. Yang demonstrates a new tool at the Visual Intelligence Studio.

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Travel at Home: Revisiting Exchange Alumni Experiences 

Documenting travel provides an opportunity to both record memories and to chronicle our paths for others. These records allow others to follow the unique twists and turns of travel from the comfort of their homes. There are wonderful travel resources — books, articles, TV shows — with which to discover the world. 

Lucky for us at Cultural Vistas, we can travel vicariously through our participants by reading their stories of impact and adventure.

Here are some great examples to share, which may serve as an inspiration for a time when we are able to travel again.

Revisiting the United States

Felix Stoeth, a German participant on the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, chronicles his experiences on the program on his blog. His insightful posts compare what he might encounter in the United States to his actual experiences. While his blog is in German, (good practice for the German-speakers out there) the photos, particularly of Maui, need no translation!


Photo Credit: Felix Stoeth

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Interning in Quarantine: How a Swiss Intern Living in Brooklyn is Making It Work

On March 11, Adelaide Ernst saw on the news that travel from Europe to the United States would be suspended after March 13.

But Adelaide was scheduled to fly from Switzerland to New York just four days later.

Through the IAESTE United States program, Adelaide would be interning at Cultural Vistas to recruit host colleges for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. To ensure her international internship wouldn’t be delayed, she rebooked her flight and landed at JFK airport just in time on March 13.

Since then, Adelaide’s entire internship experience has taken place exclusively out of her apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She’s never met anyone in the office in person. She hasn’t explored the city. She’s only really left her apartment to get groceries.

The situation is far from ideal, but Adelaide and her team are making it work. By communicating and connecting, Adelaide is quickly making incredible contributions to the CBYX team.

Adelaide Ernst in front of her internship work-from-home station in her Bushwick apartment.

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