Delegates from 5 nations met with Nevada labor and civil rights leaders at the Northern Nevada Labor Temple in Sparks on July 29, 2013.

Visitors: Is America still tough enough?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 8-1-2013 Sparks Tribune

Office of International Visitors
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Non-Governmental Organizations and Civic Activism II
A Multi-Regional Project
July 15 - August 2, 2013

Primary Program Contacts:
Ms. Marilyn Saks-McMillion and Mr. Martin Rozenberg
World Learning
1015 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone (202) 464-8531 or (202) 464-8537; Toll-free (800) 858-0292
Email <> or <>

Department of State Program Contacts:
Ms. Janice Brummond and Ms. Jordan Fox

Office of International Visitors
Telephone (202) 632-6167 or (202) 632-9402
Email <> or <>


Madeline Burak
International Visitor Program Coordinator
Northern Nevada International Center
(775) 784-7515 ext. 228 or (cell) (775) 250-0087

Andrew Barbano /
(775) 882-TALK [882-8255]

The visitors have been split into four teams visiting Washington, DC; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington and Reno-Sparks, Nevada.

Here are biographies of the delegation visiting Nevada on July 29, 2013 —>


Name: Mr. Rotanark SOY
Present Position: Chief Officer, NGOs and Associations Office, Department of Political Affairs, General Department of Local Administration, Ministry of Interior

Concurrent Position: Assistant to Secretary of State Prum Sokha, Ministry of Interior, since 2010

Previous Positions: Official, Office of Local NGOs and Association, Department of Political Affairs, General Department of Local Administration, Ministry of Interior, 2008 - 2011
Official, Operations Office, Kampong Speu Branch, National Bank of Cambodia, 2004 - 2008

Education/Training: Master’s degree, Finance, National University of Management.
Bachelor’s degree, Finance and Banking, National University of Management
Diploma in English Literature, Banana Center
Certification, workshops and courses in Administration Affairs, Youth Leadership, Capacity Development and Banking Certificate

Address: #636 CD, Street 271
Sangkat Phsar Deom Thkov
Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh
Telephone: +855 17-666-658

Languages: Cambodian (primary), English

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel

Other Travel: China, Singapore, Thailand

Professional Background: As head of the Local NGOs and Associations Office within the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Soy Rotanark is currently tasked with drafting the highly contentious NGO Law. He not only prepares legal instruments, but also advises on the registration and closure of local NGOs and associations operating in the country. He also compiles statistics of all local NGOs and associations.


Name: Mr. George Mayamiko JOBE
Present Position: Executive Director, Creative Centre for Community Mobilization

Concurrent Positions: Project Director, Violence Against Women and Girls: An Enemy to Development (VAWOGEDE), since 2007
Project Director, Social Mobilization Campaign for the Promotion of Gender Equality (SMC-PROGE, funded by OXFAM), since
Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Chikondano Pentecostal Church, since 2004

Previous Positions: Program Manager, CRECCOM
Chair of Board of Trustees, Council for Non Governmental Organizations in Malawi (CONGOMA), 2005 - 2008
Chair, Executive Committee, Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSQBE), 2004 - 2007
Trustee, Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSQBE), 2003 - 2007
Supervisor, Theatre for Development Troupe (with Creative Associates International Inc.), 1995 – 1997

Education/Training: Master’s degree, Business Administration, Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI)
Bachelor of Education, Humanities, University of Malawi

Memberships: National Media Institute for Southern Africa (NAMISA)

Address: Creative Centre for Community Mobilization
P.O. Box 963
Zomba, Zomba
Telephone: +265 195-0180

Languages: Chichewa (primary), English

U.S. Travel: in July 2006 and September 1999

Other Travel: Mali, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia

Professional Background: The Creative Center for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) is one of the most viable NGOs in Malawi. Mr. Jobe became Executive Director through his commitment to foster positive change among Malawian communities to address their social needs. He also sits in various civil society fora and Government Departments for policy for social policy advocacy. He was one of the pioneers of the “re-admission policy” that allows school-aged mothers to return to school after giving birth. Mr. Jobe manages projects and interacts with various stakeholders in the country and is interested in learning about community mobilization.


Present Position: Executive Director, Center for Development of Non-Governmental

Previous Position: Department Chair, Intersectoral Cooperation and Reforms, Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations, 2008 -2009

Education/Training: Master’s degree, International Public Law, Faculty of Law, Podgorica, University of Montenegro
Bachelor’s degree, Political Science and Diplomacy, Faculty of Political Science, Podgorica, University of Montenegro

Publications: Co-author, Annual Report on Cooperation between Local Self-Governments and NGOs in Montenegro,, 2007 and

Co-authored training manuals on transparency and accountability of local self governments

Authored strategic documents for local civil society organizations (CSOs)

Address: Mitra Bakica 32
Podgorica 81000
Telephone: +382 67-560-768
Fax: +382 20-219-120

Languages: Serbo-Croatian (primary), English, French

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel

Other Travel: Belgium, France, Hungary, Turkey, Sweden

Professional Background: The Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations is charged with supporting and developing civic society in Montenegro. The NGO community in Montenegro is key to the political dialogue in society, particularly given the relative weakness of opposition political parties.


Name: Mr. Grzegorz KOT
Present Position: Senior Specialist, Social and Citizens Affairs Department, Krakow
City Hall

Previous Position: Specialist, Office for People with Disabilities, Krakow City Hall

Education/Training: Post-graduate studies, European Union, Jagiellonian University, 2003 – 2004
Tourism and Recreation, Physical Education Academy in Krakow, 2001
Paramedic, Medical Studium in Rzeszow, 1997

Address: Social and Citizens Affairs Department
Krakow City Hall
Stachowicza 18
Krakow 30-059
Telephone: +48 12 616 5008

Languages: Polish (primary), English

U.S. Travel: New York, NY (for the marathon)

Professional Background: Mr. Grzegorz Kot was the head of the City Center for Support of Citizens Initiatives at Krakow City Hall He supports and coordinates various NGO projects and helps with their public outreach. Mr. Kot has worked on various civic activism projects, and for many years he worked in the City of Krakow Department for Persons with Disabilities. During that time he initiated cooperation with Achilles International, a U.S. organization dealing with adaptive sports and sports for persons with disabilities in the Cracovia (Krakow) Marathon. He also works with the Krakow Mayor’s office on family issues.

Sri Lanka

Name: Mr. Horakanda Arachchillage Nishantha KUMARA
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Kumara was unable to attend.]

Present Position: Project Manager, SARVODAYA

Previous Positions: District Coordinator, Peace and Community Action (PCA) , 2007 - 2011
Team Leader, Conflict Sensitivity pilot project, Peace and Community Action (PCA) and Conflict Sensitivity Consortium, Sri Lanka, 2011
Research Assistant, Terre des hommes (Tdh), 2006 - 2007
Field Officer, Family Rehabilitation Center Sri Lanka Interactive Media Group (a Project of NORAD), 2004

Education/Training: Postgraduate Diploma leading to a Master’s degree in Conflict and Peace Studies, University of Colombo, 2012
Diploma, Psychological Counseling, University of Ruhuna, 2010
Diploma, Human Rights and Peace Studies, Law faculty, University of Colombo, 2007
Online course, Peaceful Conflict Transformation, Transcend Peace University, 2007

In addition, Mr. Kumara has taken several training courses and workshops including the following topics: Developing Capacities of South Asian Trainers and Leaders on Child Participation; Peace Education and Relationship Building to Strengthen Civil Society; Building Democracy through Non-Violence; Conflict Sensitivity; Facilitation Skills; Theory and Practice on Conflict Analysis; Proposal Writing; and Project Planning and Management.

Memberships: South Asia Peace Alliance (SAPA)
Peace and Community Action (PCA)
Sarvodaya Shramadana Society (SARVODAYA)
Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena Sansadaya (Peace Bridge)

Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 77-787-1166

Languages: Sinhala (primary), English

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel

Other Travel: India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand

Professional Background: Sarvodaya means “universal uplift” or “progress of all.” Mr. Kumara manages a project that involves building networks between religious leaders and communities representing the four major faiths in Trincomalee, Batticoloa and Padaviya districts. In his previous assignments, he has proven his skills as a trainer in the areas of conflict sensitivity, non-violent approaches, and community participation programs including training government staff on non-violent processes. The focus of his research and social concerns have been civil society, children and development. He has conducted research projects in metropolitan Colombo and in many regions of Sri Lanka including child trafficking, child sex tourism, the impact of the tsunami, the plight of street and gypsy children, youth and children with disabilities, and conflicts within schools. He has conducted surveys and research for organizations such as the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and the Support of Underprivileged Lives (SOUL).


Name: Ms. Svitlana MATVIIENKO

Present Position: Program Coordinator, Ukrainian School of Political Studies of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives

Previous Position: Chief Consultant, Centre for Support of the Civil Service Institutional Development, Main Department of the Civil Service
of Ukraine

Education/Training: Ph.D. candidate, Political Science, University of Kyiv - Mohyla Academy, since 2010
Specialist’s Diploma, Philosophy, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, 2010
Master’s Diploma, Philosophy, University of Kyiv - Mohyla Academy, 2008

Address: 33 Nyzhniy Val st., Office 8
Telephone: +380 044-531-3768
Fax: +380 044-425-2533

Languages: Ukrainian (primary), English, Russian

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. travel

Professional Background: Since 2007, Ms. Svitlana Matviienko has been Informational Manager and a Program Coordinator with the Ukrainian School of Political Studies, established to train future generations of political, economic and cultural leaders in countries in transition.

The Ukrainian School of Political Studies works to create a unified communication space for professionals under 35 with a focus on success, key humanistic values, and democratic principles. These professionals represent six target audiences: civil society or political activity, journalism, business, public service and law. This makes it possible to create a unique platform for inter-sectoral collaboration and value orientation among the network’s participants. Ms. Matviienko is the “engine” of the School, working on public outreach, fundraising, recruiting and coaching volunteers, as well as organizing thematic training sessions.

In her previous positions, Ms. Matviienko has consulted with the Public Relations Department of the Center for the Support of the Civil Service Institutional Development under the Main Office of the Civil Service, and was a journalist with the Press Center of the National Academy of Public Administration.

She also was the Coordinator of the Civil Society Leadership Network, a joint program with the Council of Europe with offices in Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova. She has practical experience coordinating public fora and events on constitutional issues, political party effectiveness, and democratic cooperation between civil society, national and local authorities.



Other International Incidents

In 2005, I had the honor of educating a university law school dean from Thailand about the besieged state of American unions. Dr. Khettai Langkarpint was shocked to find out that the United States is far from being a workers' rights paradise.

In 2008 at the once and future Reno-Sparks community TV station, I got to meet with a group of journalists from throughout Africa. I obtained their e-mail addresses and still stay in contact with my "Africa Corps."

In 2009, I met with a group of radio and TV news people from the dictatorship of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic in south central Asia near Afghanistan.

They were afraid to say anything either thru a State Department interpreter or on-air. I was only able to convince them all to say "hello" and wave to the audience on my live TV talk show. I sent them all home with "Union Yes" lapel pins from Laborers' Union Local 169.

All of the July 29 guests speak English. (They all left with Northern Nevada Central Labor Council and Union-Yes pins.)

Andrew Barbano


Visitors: Is America still tough enough?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 8-1-2013 Sparks Tribune

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