Change Makers

In early April, a group of six Nepalese visitors arrived in Pensacola as part of a U.S. State Department International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project titled “Change Makers.” The purpose of this exchange was to examine the role of woman in the military and in other professional fields where women have traditionally been underrepresented. The visitors’ stay in Pensacola lasted six days.

Their first stop was at Pensacola City Hall for an orientation where Councilwoman Sherri Myers provided insight into the local area as well as a perspective on the role of woman as political leaders in the community. Afterward, Councilwoman Myers surprised the visitors by presenting them with certificates of honorary citizenship.

Next, the group met with Meghan McCarthy who discussed her involvement in the Junior League, a women-led charitable organization, as well as the roles women can play in their community.

The visitors also spent time at the Naval Air Station with Stephanie Oram, Adriana Lewis, and Christina Scott who shared their own perspectives as women who have served in the military or are actively serving in the military.

At a round table discussion at Pensacola City Hall, the group met with Christy Draper, Dr. Sharon Heise, Libbie Johnson, Dr. Megan Pratt, and Carrie Stevenson, to discuss their challenges and successes as professionals working in fields which traditionally have few women represented in them.

During a community coffee and tea discussion the visitors met with Julie Connerley, Kasey Jones, Bob Moulton, and Ben Posey. This session allowed the visitors and the locals to share perspectives on current events and mutual areas of interest in an informal setting. Contact with locals continued at a volunteer experience at Manna Food Pantries where the visitors volunteered with Melanie Foust and Annie Gray, and dinners in local homes with Becky Kirsh, Kasey Jones, Sally McConnell, Carlee Hoffmann, and Nicole Peppoon helped make their stay all that much more memorable.

Over the weekend, the group took a self-guided tour of Historic Pensacola Village where they learned about Pensacola’s colonial past and visited several local museums.  On the same day, they enjoyed the natural beauty of the area on a Pensacola Bay dolphin cruise.

The Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council thanks all who contributed to the success of this project, and a special thank you goes to Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council Volunteer Facilitator Susan Senkarik who accompanied the visitors during their appointments.

after the round table