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Wed, 09/06/2017

Host a Fellow in Residence in your Business or Organization

News | International Visitors



The World Affairs Council of Oregon is pleased to announce that it will host participants from the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program in October and November 2017. As part of the Fellowship, 12 young business and social entrepreneurs from  the Caribbean and Latin America will travel to Portland, Oregon and build lasting partnerships with local entrepreneurial organizations and companies. 


The five-week YLAI Professional Fellows Program will place business and social entrepreneurs in relevant businesses and startups, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities in the Portland metropolitan area. The participants will arrive in the U.S. on October 3 and will further develop their business or social venture plans by engaging in skills-building workshops. They will also have the opportunity to learn from U.S. counterparts by participating in day-to-day operations at their U.S. host organizations or collaborating on a joint project. YLAI Professional Fellows will develop stronger ties with other participants from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as with their U.S. Fellowship Hosts. They will use the knowledge gained to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities.  


To complement the U.S.-based program, up to 45 Fellowship Hosts from across the United States will travel to the region in spring 2018 to learn from the Fellows’ businesses, share best practices, and participate in a project benefitting the local community. 


The World Affairs Council of Oregon is seeking area businesses, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations to serve as hosts for the duration their four-week Fellowship in the Portland metropolitan area from October 10 - November 2, 2017 for the following Fellows:


Kalene Hurdle (Barbados) is the Founder and Managing Director of Kalene Designs, a company that provides batik designs with deep narratives rooted in minority cultures. She is committed to producing products sustainably and creating local jobs. She received an award for Ingenuity in Art and has won several medals at NIFCA. She studied textile and surface designs, apparel manufacturing technologies, and business studies at Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and received her certificate in Fashion Design from Barbados Community College.


Jimmy Ruiz (Bolivia) is the Founder and CEO of Vioway, an educational and cultural exchange organization. Vioway hopes to make a change in the lives of young Bolivian people and create opportunities that help them make a difference across the world. Jimmy received his BA in Commercial Engineering from the Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo.


Jordana Mendonça (Brazil) is the Founder and President of ComAmor, a nonprofit in Brazil that installs community gardens to reduce food insecurity, foster environmental and nutritional consciousness, connect people, and generate income. Jordana works as a Judge Assistant at the Court of Justice of the State of Goiás, and was previously a Teacher at Alfredo Nasser College. She has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Law from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás.


Cristian Sáenz De Viteri Anzules (Ecuador) is the Founder and CEO of Iguana Bike Tours in Guayas. By giving bike tours to tourists, Cristian wants to raise ecological awareness, encourage local residents to use bikes, and create a city bikeway. He has worked as the Assistant Vice President of Ecuacoffee S.A. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Management from the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil and a Master’s Degree in Management and Educational Leadership from the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja.


Jorge Pantoja (Ecuador) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Latitude Aerospace Solutions, an Ecuadorian company that develops drones for specialized applications like topography, surveillance, agriculture, and surveying property. Jorge has worked as an aerospace engineer and has spent several years teaching at local universities. He was also a Project Manager for the Galapagos UAV Project, where he coordinated the design and construction of the first drone to patrol the Galapagos Islands. Jorge has a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.


Paula Rojas Villalobos (Chile) is the Co-Founder and General Manager of Nutrayeast, a company that seeks to reuse byproducts from the winemaking industry. Specifically, Nutrayeast separates the yeasts from the wine less, treats them with enzymatic protein hydrolysis, and obtains two final products: a food supplement and an organic nitrogen source for wine fermentation. Before this, Paula was a Research Assistant in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the Technical University Federico Santa María and an Intern at Unilever Chile. She holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University Federico Santa María.


Teddy Frederick (Grenada) is the Co-Founder of MUTEFX, a Grenadian art, photography, and video business. MUTEFX creates clear and simple visuals, using quality film techniques and production principles. Before starting MUTEFX, Teddy worked as a Visual Arts Teacher for the Government of Grenada. He has an Associate Degree in Industrial Engineering Technology from T.A. Marryshow Community College and a Diploma of Fine Arts from Cambridge University.


Stephany Davila (Guatemala) is the Founder and General Manager of Guatemalan coffee company La Morena. Unlike traditional coffee processing which uses large amounts of water, La Morena uses low water demand processes to be more sustainable. Previously, Stephany worked as a PR Manager at Energuate electricity company and as a Sales Manager at Unex, a coffee exporting company. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from San Carlos University in Guatemala, and a Master’s Degree in Coffee Science and Economics from the University of Trieste, Italy.


Frank Solorzano (Honduras) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Caité, a Honduran-made footwear company. Caité shows culture, tradition, and iconic sites through graphic design showcases in Central America from an innovative perspective. Frank has previously worked as a Manager at Commercial Los Gemelos, a company that sells used and imported clothing. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from UNITECH.


Maria José Luna (Nicaragua) is the Proprietor and Head Designer at MÜN Design Studio, which provides sustainable design and art pieces in the form of ornaments or furniture, many of which are made from recycled materials. She uses original and exclusive designs using sustainable techniques, promoting a more rational use of resources. She previously worked as an Architect and Designer at the Toolbox Design Studio. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture from the Universidad Americana UAM.


Maria Duarte (Paraguay) is the founder of Kove, an organization that seeks to decrease poverty and social inequality among the indigenous people in Paraguay. Its mission is to provide the indigenous population with the resources to become self-sufficient. Maria currently works as Manager at the UN Global Compact. María previously worked as a Creative Editor for Oniria/TBWA. She is also the volunteer Communcations Head at the Fundación Natan. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication from the Universidad Católica de Asunción.


Jose Manrique (Peru) is the Co-Founder and CEO of the education program Change. Change seeks to improve English teaching in Peru by training teachers in the use of educational technologies and new methodologies. The company also implements English programs that address students' needs. Jose has previously worked as an English teacher and teacher trainer at the Centro Cultural Peruano Norteamericano de Arequipa and with RELO Andes. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de San Agustín.


The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State funded this program. The World Affairs Council of Oregon is proud to work with grantee Meridian International Center, a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Meridian is also proud to partner with Atlas Corps and Entrepreneurs’ Organization for this program. The website includes information about the YLAI Professional Fellows Program.

For further information, please contact the program team at [amyatworldoregon [dot] org/(503) 306-5291].


About U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges, as well as public -private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit https://eca.state.govfor more information.


For information on the YLAI Professional Fellows Exchange Program, please visit


For press inquiries, please contact ECA-Pressstate [dot] gov.  

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