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Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship: A Forum presented by Partners of the Americas and Stetson University.*

Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship: A Forum presented by Partners of the Americas and Stetson University* will be held Friday April 4, 2014, 9:00am to 5:00pm at the Rinker Environmental Learning Center in DeLand, Florida. Come join us for a day of learning, sharing, and fun!

*Sponsored by the Florida-Colombia Partners and Partners of the Americas to mark 50 years of “Connecting, Serving, and Changing Lives in the Americas.”

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INTRODUCTION

Although the Florida/Colombia Chapter is the oldest of all the Partners Chapters and has accomplished much over the 49 years of its existence, it is the future which presents our greatest challenge, and we are committed to the ongoing process of finding ways to remain relevant and successful in a rapidly changing world.

HISTORY

The Florida-Colombia Chapter was born in 1963 as the “Florida-Colombia Alliance”, but shortly thereafter absorbed into Partners of the Americas when POA was created in 1984. Thus the Florida-Colombia Chapter enjoys the status of being the most senior of the Chapters in the Partners of the Americas family. It started as the result of a goodwill meeting between the Florida Secretary of State and the President of Colombia, an initiative sponsored by the Organization of American States with the purpose of stimulating economic assistance and social and cultural understanding. Over the years, the “headquarters” of the Chapter has been located at Stetson University in DeLand, where most regular meetings are held.

From the beginning, this people-to-people endeavor has sustained a key relationship with a counterpart Chapter, the Colombia/Florida Chapter for Central and Eastern Colombia in Bogota. A few years ago, a parallel relationship was established with a new Chapter created in Barranquilla at the university of UNINORTE.

Our mission is epitomized in the following observation made in 1996 by founding member and first President of the Chapter, Dr. Jerome Keuper:
Florida Colombia Partners of the Americas “For thirty-three years, the Florida-Colombia Partners…has utilized, brightened and solidified people-to-people relations between Florida and Colombia with hundreds of devoted volunteers exchanging training, know-how, assistance and achievements in many areas of life and human endeavor.”
So approaching the close of 2012, we continue with this on-going mission.

WHO WE ARE NOW

The women and men of our membership reflect diversity:

  • College and University professors
  • Elementary and high-school teachers
  • Artists in various fields
  • University students
  • Returned Peace Corps volunteers
  • Lawyers and legal professionals
  • Medical field professionals
  • Agricultural professionals
  • Business and Management professionals
  • Retirees
  • Elementary, middle, and high school students
  • Biologists, ecologists, climatologists, and other science-related professionals
  • IT specialists
  • Consultants

RECENT ACTIVITIES

In recent times, volunteers from our Chapter have initiated, organized, and supported numerous Partners-related activities, including:

  • Youth Ambassadors program
  • Youth Sports Management Exchange program
  • Climate Change Fellows program
  • Bi-national and International POA Conferences
  • IAVE Youth Conference in Barranquilla
  • “Our Birds are Your Birds Too” school-to-school environmental exchange program
  • Hip-Hop artist exchanges
  • Various POA Fellowship programs
  • Member and Counterpart Chapter member visits to Colombia-Florida to collaborate planning and execution of projects of mutual interest
  • Fire-fighting equipment donation to Colombian fire departments
  • Student interchanges with featured Colombian guests
  • Partners Campus Program facilitation
  • Bi-lingual Education programs support
  • Computer-based and internet learning programs support
  • “Framework for Empowering Mujeres” (FEMS) project