An international delegation of key officials who provide information about the United States to the residents of Russia, Thailand, Nigeria, Oman, Haiti, Bangladesh and Belarus paid a visit to Wright State University’s Dunbar Library as part of their U.S. tour.
The officials are in the American Corners program, a U.S. State Department initiative active in 60 countries around the world. The program provides information to foreign populations about American culture, history, government and current events through books, videos, the Internet and other channels.
During their July 9 stop, the officials were briefed on the library’s extensive collection of materials, including the Wright brothers archives and its online repository.
“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to showcase our cutting-edge library technologies for people in libraries all over the world,” said Stephen Foster, university librarian and associate vice president for international affairs.
Jane Wildermuth, head of the library’s digital services department, said the online repository of books, articles and images has had 47,152 downloads from around the world in a little over a year of its existence.
“We really are getting global reach,” she said.
The visit is part of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program through the Wright State’s Dayton Council of International Visitors. The seven-member delegation, which also has stops scheduled in Colorado and Georgia, was also in Ohio to meet with Dayton city leaders and visit the Dayton International Peace Museum.
“The American Corners program is instrumental in creating a dialogue with our foreign neighbors on issues of mutual concern,” said Michelle Streeter-Ferrari, director of Wright State’s University Center for International Education. “This visit to Ohio is another step toward building bridges of understanding.”
The group was scheduled to meet with Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman during a luncheon at the peace museum, which is presenting Every Citizen Is a Diplomat, an exhibit that explores the concept of citizen diplomacy and its important role in U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War. The delegation was to then have a roundtable discussion on religious pluralism with the Interfaith Forum of Greater Dayton.
The museum honors Dayton’s history as the center of the 1995 Dayton Peace accords and features themes of nonviolent conflict resolution, social justice and international relations.
Members of the delegation include Mohammad Mostafa Kamal, coordinator of the American Corner Sylhet in Bangladesh; Tatsiana Liatunova, coordinator of the American Corner Molodechno in Belarus; James Vangelis, coordinator of the Harold Courlander American Corner in Haiti; Francis Nda Abaya, coordinator of the American Corner Maiduguri in Nigeria; Warfa Saif al Maawali, coordinator of the American Corner, Rustaq College of Applied Sciences in Oman; Victoriia Leonidovna Kuleshova, coordinator of American Corner Bryansk in Russia; and Jitsuda Laongphol, coordinator of American Corner Yala in Thailand.