On Wednesday evening, June 25, Dominican alumni of the Global Dominican Academic Exchange Program (GDAE) and current international students and researchers of the InteRDom and Fellows programs came together for the first-ever networking mixer at Café Filo in the Juan Bosch Library in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Participants were able to network with one another, share their international education experiences, discuss programs, form friendships and learn about future GDAE activities. Attendees enjoyed a full program with words of welcome from InteRDom representatives, a slide show of photos from past programs, and a special presentation by Yohara Caraballo, participant in the second GDAE trip, to Harvard University.
Following a film screening of highlights from the National Dominican Student Conference at Harvard, alumni of that program were recognized and received certificates of participation. InteRDom representatives also promoted the next GDAE, which will be hosted at the University of Pennsylvania in September, and encouraged students to spread the word and apply.
“InteRDom has always existed to open doors for international students to learn about the richness of Dominican culture and to contribute to the country’s economic and social development,” said InteRDom and GDAE Manager, Mandy Sciacchitano, in her words of welcome, “however a true exchange program does not exist without reciprocity. With the first GDAE trip to Yale University last year we saw the InteRDom program come full circle… and we are here today to keep sharing ideas that one day may convert in great projects that make a difference in the country!”
She went on to say that InteRDom thrives because cultural exchange has a way of changing those who participate through meeting new people and learning about cultures and ideas that are different from their own. Exchange has the objective of making people think, learn and grow as people with a global vision.
This successful mixer is the just beginning, and future networking opportunities between InteRDom and GDAE programs will continue to nurture relationships among the programs’ participants and strengthen cross-cultural understanding by continuing to foster the space for their participants to share ideas and discuss projects that address the challenges that global societies face.
“Participating in the 8th National Dominican Student Conference at Harvard University gave me the opportunity for cultural and intellectual exchange with students from different universities in the United States and the Dominican Republic, and also helped me understand the difference in our education systems. It was a really wonderful experience!” – Yohara Mabel Caraballo Morel, Harvard University GDAE Alumni, 2014.
The Global Dominican Academic Exchange program, a project of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), an extension of their internship, research and study program,InteRDom, aims to introduce Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourage dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions, thereby encouraging and inspiring partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which will foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.
InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.