NOCDC "Public Health" Visitors LIVE on WHIV FM

NOCDC Visitors on WHIV 102.3 FM - Live from NOLA, May 9, 2017

On Tuesday, May 9, Dr. MarkAlain Dery, founder of WHIV 102.3 FM in New Orleans, interviewed six of NOCDC's "Public Health Infectious Disease" visitors live on the air. Mr Younes Yatine (Morocco), Ms Neshaan Peton (South Africa), Ms Tafadzwa Goverwa (Zimbabwe), Dr Golden Owhonda (Nigeria), Ms Nonkululeko Hlongwane (South Africa), and Ms Moitshephi Kerobale (Botswana) spoke with Dr. Dery about the very impressive and groundbreaking work they do in their respective countries. Use the player above to listen.


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State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, recently met international diplomats to discuss human trafficking legislation, specifically House Bill 1105 from Louisiana's 2014 legislative session. The five countries represented were Greece, Brazil, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone and Denmark.

The diplomats were invited to the United States as part of the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, a news release said.

The project’s objectives include a review of U.S. government strategies to combat international human trafficking by examining the formulation, administration and enforcement of U.S. policy on all levels, as well as examining the roles governing bodies play in detecting, preventing and prosecuting these crimes.

The program will explore initiatives to recognize, protect, and assist victims of abuse and trafficking with recovery and reintegration programs, and investigate international law enforcement cooperation in trafficking cases.

Their discussion with Hodges focused on legislation to combat human trafficking. Hodges said, “While human trafficking has been an issue plaguing our country and our world for decades, we have made important strides, especially over the last six years. The existence of this international program proves we need to work together, all across the globe to deal with this crisis."

She added, "Our efforts will not stop here. We will continue to fight for change to end human trafficking.”

The five participants of the program are Murshid Zahan, of Bangladesh, senior assistant superintendent of police, special branch, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Immigration; Adriano Pelusio Melgaco Jr., of Brazil, director of education and graduate studies, Civil Police Academy of the State of Rio Grande do Sul; Michael Skafsgaard Klausen, of Denmark, detective superintendent of the Organized Crime Unit of the Copenhagen Police; Marina Ntonopoulou, of Greece, director of Abolish Slavery in the 21st Century; and Evelyn Yeama Mannah, of Sierra Leone, parliamentary counsel of the Law Officers’ Department of the Ministry of Justice.

Baton Rouge groups sharing best urban revitalization practices with South African delegation

By Caitie Burkes SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

A delegation of five urban planners, architects and developers from South Africa are coming to Baton Rouge tomorrow to learn best practices from the LSU AgCenter, the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority and the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance..

By Michael Duffin on May 14, 2019

France and the United States know the threat and impact of terrorism all too well. Despite our global efforts to defeat and degrade terrorist organizations, groups like ISIS and al-Qa’ida will continue to attempt to carry out attacks and inspire others to violence.

To bolster the United States’ partnership with France to counter terrorist radicalization and recruitment, the State Department has encouraged policy makers, researchers, and practitioners from both countries to exchange good practices and lessons learned. Included in these efforts are traditional speaker programs and the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), and also new innovative initiatives such as the Strong Cities Network, and the City Pair CVE Partnership Program, which is a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Beginning in 2015, our key engagements have led U.S. and French participants to develop new programs or update existing ones to counter the terrorist threat:

  • The State Department helped establish the Strong Cities Network, which includes Bordeaux, Montreuil, Paris, and Sarcelles. Through this global network of local governments, French members have been able to share best practices with other members around the world. Bordeaux, for example, has presented on its Center for Prevention of Radicalization (CAPRI) at Strong Cities Network events in Australia, Lebanon, and Turkey.

  • The U.S. Embassy Paris facilitated the first visit of homeland security expert Dr. Erroll Southers of the University of Southern California (USC) to France several years ago to share his knowledge on terrorist radicalization and recruitment and soft targets protection. Subsequent visits to France by Southers led to USC’s Price School of Public Policy signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas for their Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Studies degree program. In November 2017, USC’s Price School and its Safe Communities Institute hosted a Global Summit on Homegrown Violent Extremism featuring French experts that Southers met through previous engagements.


    Bordeaux Deputy Mayor Marik Fetouh addresses participants of a workshop in Paris on April 5 for alumni of the City Pair CVE Partnership Program and other State Department-sponsored exchanges.

  • Marseille participated in a City Pair with Orlando and Tampa in December 2016, six months after the Orlando Pulse nightclub attack in which an ISIS-inspired terrorist killed 49 people. The Marseille delegation met Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, the Orlando Police Department, and community leaders to hear firsthand accounts of their response to that incident. Marseille had its own encounter with terrorism in October 2017 when an ISIS-inspired man murdered two women at the central train station.

  • Toulouse participated in a City Pair with Atlanta in November 2017. One of their stops included Clarkston, Georgia, which serves as a model on how to build the resilience of new communities. The exchange provided Toulouse delegates with new approaches on how local governments can work with civil society organizations on countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment.

  • During a City Pair in December 2017, a delegation from Lyon learned about New Orleans’ efforts to promote resilience in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, after-school programs, and the protection of soft targets in the French District. Based on the exchanges, delegates are developing programs to engage vulnerable youth in Lyon.

  • Strasbourg visited Boston in May 2018 through the City Pair and learned about local government and community responses to the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, including the One World Strong organization formed by survivors, as well as programs to address gang violence and youth delinquency. One World Strong has subsequently worked with survivors of terrorist attacks in Nice and Paris. Based on their exchange, Strasbourg delegates are organizing an international conference this fall to discuss ways to promote community resilience and counter terrorist radicalization and recruitment.

  • The U.S. Embassy Paris in April 2019 partnered with the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) to organize a workshop for City Pair alumni and other State Department exchanges from Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants shared lessons learned from their exchanges, including how Vilvoorde, a Belgian municipality just north of Brussels, reduced foreign terrorist fighter departures by developing programs to engage vulnerable youth. A member of Manchester’s City Council talked about how they took lessons from their exchange with Boston into account for the planning of the one-year remembrance of the June 2017 terrorist attack by an ISIS affiliate that killed 22 people.

The attacks in Marseille, New York, Nice, Orlando, Paris, San Bernardino, and Strasbourg over the past four years are examples of how lethal even one or a few determined individuals can be. Exchanges between France and the United States on countering radicalization and terrorist recruitment remain timely and important – for all of our national security.

About the Author: Michael Duffin serves as a Policy Advisor in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State.

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Rep. Hodges Hosts International Entrepreneurship Program

As part of a U.S. State Department program, State Rep. Valarie Hodges Tuesday hosted 12 prospective entrepreneurs from separate nations. “Yesterday, we met with 12 amazing women from all over the world,” Hodges said. “These women were specially selected by the U.S. Department of State to participate in a specially designed three-week Women in Entrepreneurship training program.” The women are from Australia, Barbados, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Namibia, Romania and Russia.

The women were selected for having the best prospects for success in their own countries and being entrepreneurs who would most benefit from this program, said Hodges, R-Denham Springs. They work in private and public sectors in their home countries and hope to apply the things they learn in the program to encourage economic growth in their counties. Rep. Hodges spoke of her own personal experience as a female leader, as well as a woman entrepreneur. She co-owns a business with her husband and knows many of the challenges faced by small businesses.April Wehrs of the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce and Rock Ete of Louisiana Economic Development shared information from programs and tips on entrepreneurship. Ete touched on state programs that offer incentives for working with women-owned businesses as well as minority-owned businesses. Wehrs spoke on how a chamber of commerce promotes and supports local businesses. Hodges hosted the program in her legislative District 64 office.

International delegates tour Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge

Twenty-six delegates from around the world participated in a guided tour of Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge on Friday, September 2, as part of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership program. The delegates were interested in the restoration projects at Bayou Sauvage and learning about how community partnerships assist with the refuge’s projects.

The delegation included legislators, national park directors, biologists, conservationists, business people, and liaisons who are a part of a multi-regional project focusing on parks and protected area management. The countries represented were the Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Hungary, Libya, Malaysia, Montenegro, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Slovakia, Slovenia, Suriname, Thailand, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.


A group of international visitors met with Rep. Hodges on August 16, 2017 to discuss state-level legislation that provides support for victims of human trafficking.   Their objective was to examine local and international laws on human trafficking and global efforts to fight such issues.  

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