The COVID-19 crisis continues to shape our world and future. Restrictions to international travel have limited opportunities for public for public diplomacy and international exchange at a time when it is most needed.
With the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Cultural Vistas launched the Virtual Internship Corps, providing young professionals in the U.S. with the opportunity to develop their transatlantic networks and enhance their professional development. For the Fall 2020 semester, twenty-five emerging leaders were selected to take part in an immersive virtual internship program. One of whom, Jocelyn Nitta, reflects on how this virtual experience impacted her view on German culture, the future of work, and democracy.
Cultural Vistas stands in solidarity with Asian-American communities who are facing a rise in racist attacks and hate crimes. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the eight individuals killed in a deadly rampage in Georgia last week, fueled by anti-Asian sentiments and misogyny.
This horrific incident is just one of the many acts of violence the Asian-American community has faced over the course of our nation’s history. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Asian-Americans have long had to contend with racist policies designed to exclude.
Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian-Americans across our country have been unfairly targeted and blamed for the virus by politicians, the media and members of the public. Words matter and the effect charged rhetoric and unscientific claims have led to a 150% increase in reported hate crimes against Asian-Americans in 2020.
We condemn these attacks and the racist rhetoric that fuels them. As we mourn those who were lost, Cultural Vistas reaffirms our commitment to being an anti-racist, inclusive organization and working to build bridges through our exchange programs.
The benefits of international talent are immense. As the global pandemic brings changes to the world of work, Cultural Vistas has been working with companies to host virtual interns from across the world.
Cultural Vistas and our partners gathered for a Virtual Internship Forum to share best practices in designing, recruiting, onboarding, and managing successful virtual internship programs as well as the future of virtual work and using virtual as part of a long-term strategy.
The event kicked off with Elizabeth Kumbhari, General Counsel and VP of Professional Exchanges, moderating a keynote discussion with T.H. Ong , VP at Global Integration. Ong’s organization that provides training in remote and virtual teams, matrix management and agile & digital leadership to companies in our increasingly connected workforce.
Watch the Keynote Address
Following the keynote address, attendees broke out into panel discussions to dive deeper into several topics regarding international internships.
Panel #1 – Getting Started and Managing Virtual Interns
Getting started hiring virtual interns may seem like a daunting process, but it’s actually easier than one might think to bring international to your team. Our esteemed panelists gathered to share their perspectives on recruiting and onboarding virtual interns as well as managing these young professionals throughout the duration of an internship. Panelists include:
Kathleen Struck, Voice of America
Neave Denny, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Yuki Hayashi, ecolytiq
Watch the Panel
Panel #2 – Creating and Building an Impactful Virtual Experience
What does it take to create and build an impactful virtual experience? Hear from managers of successful virtual internship programs give their insights on designing experiences that will result in success for both companies and intern participants. Panelists include:
David Lais, Cofounder of the Organization for Sustainable Consumption + ecolytiq
Rekha Grennan joined the Board of Cultural Vistas in 2020, in the midst of the global health pandemic, where she brings 20-plus years of experience in leading global, cross-sectoral collaborations. She got involved with Cultural Vistas because the mission of building mutual understanding resonates with her personal and professional journey. She enjoys putting her expertise to work on behalf of the Cultural Vistas mission, while also learning from staff, alumni and others on the Board. She is the Chair of the Development Committee and is helping us lead the way in creating an inclusive culture of giving — read on to hear what inspires Rekha about giving back through the Cultural Vistas community.
Thank you to those who attended our Virtual Town Hallon February 18! More than 150 people across the globe joined us to learn more about the steps we are taking to move forward on a re-envisioned path for international exchange. We provided an update on the stateof our operations, shared the new strategic vision that will guide our focus over the next three years, and presented ways that you can get involved with our work right now.
However, first, we looked to the lessons of 2020 to strengthen our focus as we move into a new strategic direction. The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruptions to our industry, calling on all of us to meet the moment with empathy and flexibility. This has been most true for the young professionals whose programs with us have been disrupted or for recent alumni navigating their re-entry during COVID-19. Max Honzik, Virtual Internship Program Participant, Ingrid Ambriz-Mata, CBYX alumna and Malia Simon, Cultural Vistas Fellowship alumna, joined us to share their stories of resiliency.