Global Connections help promote the cultural opportunity to international students

Global Connections connected a school group from Altoona with the Hubert Humphrey Fellows program, resulting in a stimulating day at Penn State University. The coordinating teacher, Diane Hayes, has participated many times in cultural luncheons in the past, always bringing a group of students from her World Cultures class at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School, in Altoona.

On December 8, Diane and 26 students explored the Matson Museum of Anthropology. They also met with current Humphrey Fellows for presentations, group discussions, and a wonderful lunch at the Indian Restaurant Kaarma. They ended the day with a visit to the Palmer Museum.

“My students had a wonderful time learning about Angola, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, and the Philippines… as well as exploring the two museums. So, thank you for thinking of us and making the recommendation”, said Diane.

This is a good example of how GC can be a facilitator for community involvement in international understanding.

Bob Persiko reelected Global Connections’ president

Robert (Bob) Persiko was unanimously re-elected president of Global Connections at the general membership meeting held on November 30th. Bob has been a member of GC since late 2017, has volunteered in and managed numerous activities of the organization, served as vice president in 2020, and was elected to his first term as president in November 2020. 

During the meeting, Bob told the members that he hopes GC can restart in-person meetings and activities in 2022. He also encouraged individual members to become active and consider initiating new projects that support GC’s mission. Since the beginning of the pandemic, English lessons, book clubs, and discussion groups have moved to an online format. While GC principally serves the American and international residents of central Pennsylvania, Zoom has made it possible for people in other countries, like Spain, South Korea, and Brazil, to participate regularly in activities. In 2021, some in-person social gatherings did actually happen, always with safety precautions in place. A good example is the general membership picnic in September. According to Bob, for 2022 the plan is to revive cultural luncheons and other activities that would engage members in person.  

In the elections, Sabrina Lima was chosen to represent Global Connections as public relations officer. Maryam Barzegar is the new secretary. Melanie Foster was re-elected as a former president, and Kieran Holland will continue as vice president. Bruce Truitt remains the treasurer. The service of all of these volunteers is greatly appreciated.

Global Connections online activities engage internationals and Americans

The members of the discussion group “Making Sense of the American Experience” meet faithfully every Tuesday at noon. In the final week of October and the first weeks of early November, we explored cultural differences around Halloween, the notion of cause and effect/randomness in our lives, and racial tensions. The group will gather in December at the home of one of the members for a potluck dinner to celebrate the year-end holidays.

The members of the English class are a lively group of men and women from 13 countries. In the past few weeks, we learned about “digraphs” and talked about the confusion between written letters and sounds. We’ve done lots of vocabulary building. We had a great discussion around a TED talk about the relationship between language and how we think. For written English, we examined word order and subject-verb agreement. This activity is as much about community building as it is about language learning.

Do you want to be part of one or all of these activities? Contact Bob Persiko to have more information ([email protected]).

You are important to Global Connections

Global Connections believes that every person is amazing and every history is inspiring. Let us know your trajectory and help other people to find a good way to improve skills and make new friends.

Share your history with Global Connections. We would feel delighted to show it to other GC members on our Facebook page.

This month we talked a little about Carl Hill. He moved to State College with his family in 1994 and soon started helping the organization that, years later, came to be Global Connections. Between his work as pastor at Mount Nittany United Methodist Church and his enthusiastic participation in the Rotary Club, he extended his hands to lots of international people. He made the difference and helped make our community a better place to live.

You are also a wonderful member of this team. Please send an email to Sabrina Lima and she will contact you.

Invitation to General Membership Meeting

All registered members are invited to participate in the annual general membership meeting, which this year will be held on November 30 via Zoom, at 7 pm. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Elect officers to the executive committee – the slate of candidates will be provided before the meeting, as required by our bylaws.
  • Learn about what GC has done in the past year and what our hopes and plans are for 2022.
  • Seek to engage members more actively in the work and activities of Global Connections, including new opportunities to serve our community and ensure a financially healthy organization.

Please mark your calendars for the November 30 virtual meeting. We look forward to seeing you there. A Zoom link will be provided closer to the event.

Global Connections needs you

Consider lending your time, vision, and leadership to have a more active role in helping our community. Become an executive committee member for Global Connections! 

Available positions include:

  • President (Term Expiring in 2022)
  • Vice President (Term Expiring in 2022)
  • Public Relations Officer (Term Expiring in 2022)
  • Past President (Term Expiring in 2022)
  • Secretary (Term Expiring in 2023)

Additional information about each position is noted below. The Elections for the positions will take place in November. If you are interested to secure your spot on the ballot, please reach out to the Nominating Committee Chair, Melanie Miller Foster at [email protected] by October 8, 2021.


The description of duties for each of the positions, as described in our bylaws, can be found below:

  • Duties of the President – The duties of the president include presiding at the business meetings of the organization, presiding at the meetings of the executive committee, appointing standing and special committees and taking any other action necessary to carry out the mandate of the membership. The president will be an ex-officio member of all committees.
  • Duties of Vice President. The duties of the Vice President include serving as chair of the program of activities standing committee and assuming the duties of the president in the absence of the president.
  • Duties of Secretary. The duties of the secretary include keeping the minutes of all organization meetings and transmitting such minutes to the membership. The secretary shall be responsible for organization correspondence including, but not limited to, the organization’s official electronic mail. The Secretary shall also serve as secretary to the executive committee.
  • Duties of Public Relations Officer. The duties of the Public Relations Officer shall be marketing and advertising all organization activities and opportunities as deemed appropriate.
  • Duties of the Past President. The duties of the immediate past president include serving as an advisor to the president and chairing the nominating standing committee.

Picnic brings together new and long-term GC members

Global Connections celebrated a return to in-person activities with a catered picnic on Sunday, September 19.

At Holmes Foster Park, 38 people attended the event, including 12 who registered to become dues-paying members. Many of the attendees have been associated with GC for years, who expressed their happiness to see the organization thriving. American and international residents of the community sat and ate together and kept up a lively conversation.

Duplicate images of the welcome sign posted in University Park Airport were on display as a banner at the picnic as well as on the cake baked for the occasion. In the end of the catered picnic, the participants were gifted with a delicious take-home “Welcome to the community” Apple pie compliments of Gemelli Bakers.

Global Connections at Lion Bash

Global Connections at Lion Bash

Global Connections had a table with interactive activities as part of the annual LION (Living in One Neighborhood) Bash, hosted by the Borough of State College, on Thursday, September 9th.

The table was located at a wonderful location on the corner of College and Allen. Hundreds of State College residents interacted with the Global Connections mission that collaborative interaction can help develop inclusive, enriching groups. The Global Connections table had two “challenges”: The Chopstick Challenge inviting individuals to move a variety size of beans from one bowl to another with chopsticks and a Language Challenge where individuals had to identify the languages indicating “Welcome” on our new Global Connections Welcome Sign.

Special thank you to Membership Committee Members who helped staff and create the table including: Daniel Foster, Rita Graef, Shannon Holliday, Heyseon Kim, Melanie Miller Foster, and Bob Persiko.

Keystone Culture: Back to School!

Keystone Culture: Back to School!

Come join us for our next installment of our Keystone Culture series!

The event will occur in Zoom. The registration email confirmation will include the link.

The August 2021 installment explores US School Culture with State College Area School District Educators Andrea De Carle and Kizzy Nicholas.  Kizzy Nicholas is a parent at Easterly Elementary, and Andrea DeCarle is a second grade teacher at Easterly Elementary School.  In the session we will be talking about best practices for preparing to go back to school, including how parents can find out important information, dialogue with teachers, getting to know your child’s teacher, and the logistics of lunchtime. 

Register today to reserve your spot!

We look forward to seeing you!