IVP News and Visits

Tourism and Economic Development

May 21-24, 2017

Acadia National Park

The World Affairs Council of Maine had the privilege of hosting 6 emerging leaders from Afghanistan participating in Tourism and Economic Development as part of the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. The visitors shared lunch with some WACM members- citizen diplomacy at work!

 Global Ties' 2016 Excellence  in Programming Award

Maureen Hurley, Board President and volunteer director of the International Visitors Program, received Global Ties' 2016 Excellence in Programming Award for Outstanding Community-Based Organization Programmer.


Wildlife Conservation – Anti-Poaching/Anti-Trafficking
May 7-10, 2015

The World Affairs Council of Maine had the privilege of hosting 11 international visitors participating in a multi-regional project on wildlife conservation – anti-poaching – anti-trafficking from May 7–10, 2015.  The participants in this International Visitor Leadership Program were from the African Union, Ethiopia, Hungary, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Nepal, Oman, Viet Nam, and Zimbabwe.  

Nationally, this project focused on U.S. efforts to combat international wildlife trafficking and poaching of endangered species. Participants explored the roles of communities and public, non-profit and private sector stakeholders engaged in the protection of wildlife resources, both in the United States and abroad.  They also examined efforts to combat the illegal trade of exotic species through DNA tracking, innovations in criminal prosecution, and cooperation among customs and law enforcement officials.

The themes assigned to the Maine portion of the program were wildlife conservation efforts at the state and local levels, law enforcement field techniques, anti-poaching incentivization, and home hospitality.

The Maine Warden Service (MWS) was the central feature of the visitors’ time in Maine.  They received the group in Augusta, Bangor, and at Acadia National Park.  Their support for this project was superb.  The Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Chandler E. Woodcock, welcomed the delegation to Maine and was followed by briefings from the Maine Warden Service on their mission, their collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and their partnership with Animal Planet network on the North Woods Law television series. 

Commissioner Chandler E. Woodcock welcomed the delegation to Maine

Colonel Joel Wilkinson gave an overview of the Maine Warden Service’s mission

Other highlights from the wardens’ briefings included the role of their chaplain, Operation Game Thief, their mobile “Wall of Shame” display, law enforcement field techniques, incident management, evidence recovery, forensic mapping, and the illegal trafficking of bear parts and Narwahl whale tusks.  While in Augusta the visitors also viewed the Fallen Officer Memorial on which are the names of 15 game wardens who died in the line of duty. 

  Major Chris Cloutier talked about the Maine Fallen Officers’ Memorial on which are the names of 15 game wardens who died in the line of duty

Game wardens explain their mobile “Wall of Shame” educational display

A highlight of the program was the participation of Maine Senators Paul Davis (R – District 4) and co-chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), Stan Gerzofsky (D - District 24), and Dave Burns (R – District 6 ). The Senators led the group on a tour of the State House while describing both the legislative process and wildlife legislation.

The international visitors with Senators Burns, Gerzofsky, and Davis in the Senate chamber

Senators Davis and Gerzofsky with visitors in the House chamber


Home hospitality for the entire group was held at the home of retired game warden Lieutenant Pat Dorian and Janet Joyeux who prepared a truly “Maine” dinner in every aspect of the word.

The menu included pickled fiddlehead ferns, smoked trout, lobster shooters, homemade cranberry relish, haddock chowder, lobster bisque, grilled chicken, moose shepherd’s pie, grilled marinated moose meat, moose sausage, canned moose meat, mashed potatoes, peas, green beans, homemade blueberry pie, homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie, and homemade Kaluha cake.

Home hospitality hosts Janet Joyeux and retired game warden Pat Dorian

Sampling pickled fiddlehead ferns and homemade cranberry relish

The all-American serving line - buffet style

The group’s second programming day was spent in Brewer engaging with game wardens and a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in discussions about law enforcement field techniques, incident management, evidence recovery, forensic mapping, and the illegal trafficking of bear parts and Narwahl whale tusks. 

Holding a Narwahl whale tusk

Following the morning briefings and lunch, the group was led on an afternoon tour of Acadia National Park while learning about conservation efforts and the cooperation between the Maine Warden Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S National park rangers.

Enjoying the beach at Acadia National Park

Finding a surviving snow mound at Acadia National Park

For several visitors their trip to Maine was the first time they had seen and felt snow, experienced the Atlantic Ocean, and learned about wildlife species of the U.S. not known in their home countries.

Exploring a beaver dam at Acadia National Park

The Council would like to thank the following departments and people for their support of this project:

  • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Commissioner Chandler Woodcock
  • Maine Warden Service
  • Maine Senate
  • Senator Paul Davis, Senate District 4, Co-chairman, Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Senator Dave Burns, Senate District’6
  • Senator Stan Gerzofsky, Senate District 24
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Lieutenant (Ret.) Pat Dorian and Janet Joyeux (Home Hospitality)


World Affairs Council of Maine Participates in First Virtual IVLP

Beginning in October 2014, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, Cultural Vistas (a Washington, D.C.-based national programming agency), and the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland, launched the very first “virtual” International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project.  The topic for this program was “NGO Management in Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development.”

Over the course of the three-months, this project connected and fostered collaboration between 10 representatives of NGOs in Iceland and professional counterparts in the United States in an effort to address key environmental and developmental issues, and promote and support sustainable environmental practices.  This marked the first IVLP exchange conducted primarily through video and web-based conferencing and sharing.

Maureen Hurley, Director of WACM’s International Visitors Program, had the privilege of being at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik, with counterparts from the Georgia Council for International Visitors, for the launch of this project.  While there, the Embassy hosted an American-style barbecue dinner which served as “home hospitality” for the 10 Icelandic participants, Embassy staff, and the American delegation. 

After returning from Iceland, Cultural Vistas contacted Maureen requesting a Maine-based non-profit participate in this project.  Friends of Casco Bay (FCB) in South Portland was selected and on January 2, 2015, Mary Cerullo, FCB’s Associate Director, and Peter Milholland, Citizen Stewards Coordinator, joined fellow panelists from the Anacostia Watershed Society (DC-Metro) and Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism (Oregon) to discuss the issues of  grassroots organizing and public mobilization with our Icelandic “visitors.”  


                Mary Cerullo and Peter Milholland speak with IVLP participants in Iceland

Additionally, U.S. cities involved in this project were asked to contribute small, lightweight items to “culture boxes” to be sent to the Icelandic participants.  Maine sent a variety of postcards depicting our natural resources and small magnets to be included with similar items from the other cities.  The delegation had already received Maine keychains from Maureen while she was in Iceland. 

In late June, Iceland reciprocated with a culture bag for us which included post cards, note cards, a book and travel brochures about outdoor activities in Iceland, the Icelandic  Times, a map, a pen, small products from the Blue Lagoon, and a small jar of geothermally-dried sea salt.

Culture box items received from Iceland

Virtual IVLP projects are a means to extend the reach of people-to-people interaction given that U.S. Embassies have a limited number of slots each year to send participants to the United States.

The World Affairs Council of Maine would like to thank Mary Cerullo and Peter Milholland of Friends of Casco Bay for their contributions to this project.


World Affairs Council of Maine Hosts Delegation from Afghanistan
March 26-31, 2015

From March 26 to 31, 2015, the World Affairs Council of Maine hosted a delegation of 11 government leaders from Afghanistan who participated in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.  Their program topic was “Effective Municipal and Local Government” and the specific professional objectives for the national program were to:

  • Learn about the U.S. federal system of government, division of powers, and interaction between national, state, and local government;
  • Explore laws and initiatives to promote government accountability, transparency and the ethical conduct of government officials;
  • Discuss citizen and civil society engagement with government and policy development officials; and
  • Explore trends such as economic development, environmental sustainability, public-private partnerships, and service provision for urban and rural areas.

On Friday, March 27th, and Monday, March 30th, the group participated in professional exchange meetings with officials in Augusta, Portland, and Brunswick.  During the weekend the delegation enjoyed an excursion to the Portland Head Light along with an afternoon of dining and shopping in Freeport.  An evening of home hospitality was provided in several local homes to round out their Maine experience.

In addition to Maine, the group visited Washington, D.C.; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Cleveland, Ohio.

Thank You

The Council would like to thank the following agencies, organizations, and families for supporting professional appointments and providing home hospitality for this project:

  • Maine Legislative Council (Grant Pennoyer)
  • Maine Municipal Association (Kate Dufour)
  • Office of the Attorney General (Attorney General Janet Mills and Detective Jim Gioia)
  • Maine State Police (Lieutenant Aaron Hayden)
  • Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices (Jonathan Wayne)
  • Maine Citizens for Clean Elections (Anna Kellar)
  • Portland City Council (Jill Duson, Jon Hinck, and Ed Suslovic)
  • Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (Jeffrey Jordan)
  • University of Maine School of Law (Professor Charles H. Norchi)
  • Kathleen and John Sutherland (home hospitality)
  • Peter Lindsey and Katie Murphy (home hospitality)
  • Carol Jenkins (home hospitality)
  • Lucy Sommo and Jean Geslin (home hospitality)


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