December 24, 2018

Participating to the International Visitors Leadership Program – 2018 I enjoyed bright moments of my life and the awesome journey to the dream country, the USA. Being a member of IVLP – one of the great highlights of my life – gave me the most exciting journey.

It is extremely important to be acquainted with the mass media of this country with a unique school of journalism in the world, experience and practice, as well as to develop professional knowledge and skills.

Settled at the Dallas airport in Washington D.C and making the first step on this land, I felt some kind of freedom and tranquility. From the very first moment, it was easy to see clear expressions of human freedom, the principles of human interests and the creation of comfort.

The organizational moments of this program were so well planned and precise that no one of us worried about the need to use it every minute.

On the first day, was organized a special tour for travelers from 16 countries of the world to Washington. Introduced us to the country’s capital, emphasize the concepts and explained the American political process. Then we visited important historical sites and experienced many bright and beautiful cities.

The White House is the official residence of the Presidents of the United States, the US Capitol Congress, the historic grand hotel Willard, all people who fought for human rights, memorial complex of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the USA, built as a symbol of his faith. Washington Monument, built in honor of the first US President George Washington, counted as the highest tower in the world before The Eiffel Tower appeared in Paris.  Walking along the monument of Martin Luther King, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate, before Malala Yusufzade, a prominent public figure, a leader of equal civil rights, Air and Space museum, complete history of airplane development, the American History museum are the whole picture of the history of America, lifestyle traditions and values.

IVLP officially began on Monday 17th September in the States capital Washington DC. Topic of the week was “The First Amendment: Free Speech and Free Press” and “International and national Media Literacy Program”

During that week, we listened to a good number of professionals from different Federal Departments, notable partnered agencies and NGOs who gave an insight into their operations with particular focus on Media & Digital Literacy. They also shared their experience in handing media literacy via the various social media platforms. Tours to their institutions, agencies and organizations topped off the sessions.

The sessions themselves were interactive, allowing participants to ask questions related to the discussions or out of the proposed topics.

Each meeting in Washington gave me wide knowledge and concepts regarding US policy, historical development and media projects, both at the national and international levels.

Meetings with experienced specialists in the field included interesting topics. Lesson Learned from Media Literacy Projects, The Role of Association in Supporting Media Literacy, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), U.S. Federal Government Structure and Political Process, First Amendment Media Literacy and PolitiFact Structure and Methodology and, of course, lunch at the National Press Club, all of those gave us new knowledge and ideas.

Participants of the 2018 IVLP appropriately addressed as Visitors represented 16 countries: People’s Republic of China, Australia, India, Malaysia,   Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. All these visitors are either educators, communicators, public relation practitioners or practicing journalists. Communicating, sharing and exchanging of knowledge, experiences, ideas and opinions along with cultural exchanges is the basic aim of IVLP. And on the international aspect, cements further the Education and Cultural relationship between each of these countries and USA.

Another visit to Washington DC had a special meaning for me. Newseum – the journalistic world, its history, the hottest events of this universe, current trends and, as a rule, deeper understanding of the most important processes in the life of mankind.

Visit to the NEWSEUM was the epitome of new research and conversation.  Every news was reachable under one roof. A lifetime experience indeed. An in-depth news of The Berlin Wall, 9/11, major terrorist attacks and many more is on one exhibition. The power of journalism, its courage, consequences, fake news everything well explained. The news studio in Newseum was small yet it had everything to function as a newsroom. The broken tower and other ruminants of 9/11 attacks are preserved which brings backs the memories of the horrifying day. The memories of journalists who lost their lives for the press freedom. All this expanded the scope of my knowledge to teach my students as a teacher. They have expanded their ability to provide more and more information about American journalism and the global media in general.

New horizons, new experiences

New Hampshire is one of the most sincere and friendly states in the United States. Its unique and beautiful nature, the atmosphere of tranquility, the sincerity of the people, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere inspired me. In the state of New Hampshire, I had really calm and relaxed days. Visit to the apple orchid, like side hiking and travelling in a limousine… and seeing the largest textile mills of the state. New Hampshire is an extraordinary state, it is a US state in New England, and is defined by its quaint towns and large expanses of wilderness. This state does not lay any sales tax, hence a good place to shop. From the capital city to local state, I cannot express my emotions.

Visit to Concord High School also demonstrated the importance of media literacy in the education system of our country. Аn extensive discussion on media literacy at high school level, how it’s being implemented and how it can be made more effective. Indeed the teachers are taking many efforts to make the literacy happen. Also visited some of the classrooms and witnessed live classes. We liked the methodology that encourages students to work and think more independently. We studied the experience of introducing and teaching media literacy in schools.

The Penman Press, made up of students, from editors to marketers, and its diligent and intelligent stuff, boys and girls, made a big impression on us. An interactive meeting with the Editor of The Concord Monitor (A daily newspaper in Concord, New Hampshire) Mr. Jon Van Fleet gave us a good amount of courage to publish truth and not entertainment. Visiting his press, we were humbled to witness the power of journalism. The process of newspaper printing was exiting!

Session with the Media power youth organization, who are working on media literacy with middle school students was very interesting for me. It is great to see organizations trying to make kids aware of the consequences of the overdose of media and involving parents in their activities. Their curriculum on media literacy was well developed and thoughtful. We agreed to cooperate with members of this organization and do joint projects.

Home hospitality in New Hampshire was also fun and great. We enjoyed American hospitality. Sincere conversations about cultures and delicious cuisine, values and the latest sweets were wonderful.

The program, developed for us in Denver, Colorado, also played an important role in sharing our professional experience, defining new plans and ideas. Interactive session with Vanessa Otero, Founder of Ad Fonts Media, Inc. was one of the great parts of our program. She has designed some real constructive parameters to segregate fake information. These research methods are very productive and well thought.

Visit to Colorado Media School and to KOA news radio were also productive. Colorado Media School offers training programs for broadcast students. A visit to their lab was interesting. In addition, KOA news radio is one of the biggest radio station I have ever seen. This station has well established with modern equipment and studio. Was a pleasure to see live programming on such a large radio station.

An ultimate joy we had in the session with the POP Culture Classroom, I advise to every media educator to work with POP Culture websites…. I was spellbound and amazed at the level of dedication of the teachers and organizations. Comic books can also be a way of education. Looking forward to some important collaborations here.

Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California

Our program in Los Angeles and every moments of our life in LA were unforgettable. Full of fun, luxury and astonishing beauty. 

The city itself brings a life in you. A constructive visit and session with Tessa Garcia of Centre for Media literacy just got back to our school days with some constructive exercise and lessons on media literacy and her pedagogical skills.

A visit to the UCLA with Jeff Share was also an amazing session on Media, teaching media, literacy of media and methods of teaching. 

Inspiring session was the observation of Broadcasting Class at Mira High School. Was amazing to see 14-18 years old kids preparing a news bulletin… loads of good wishes to these kids for all the hard work and dedication.

And visit to University of Southern California, the center for Civic Education were also useful.

Our visit to Marlborough Girls High School was a great one. We have greatly appreciated the opportunities created for this school by the students, the curriculum, and the opportunities they have to develop themselves.

Walking on Hollywood Street, a small town – an exciting journey through Universal Studio has made all the volunteers excited.

The IVLP has helped me to identify exciting travels throughout the United States, dear friends, professional knowledge and experiences, but also new ideas and plans.

In general, the trip to America inspired me not only to increase my professional knowledge, but also to implement practical projects of media literacy. Having a lifelong dear friends, also allowed you to get to know the various education systems in the world. Meetings, questions, answers, discussions, jokes, delicious foods, interesting conversations … all sealed for life.

Started with the excitement and enthusiasm this program made all 16 country representatives to become lifelong friends, and it was too hard to say goodbye each other at the End…   I think everyone keep in the heart grateful moments and memories of this great program and trip to the USA.

Gulmira Rustamovna SHUKUROVA,
Director of e-journal and web portal
“Foreign Languages in Uzbekistan”

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