International Volunteer Day Forum 2016

By , Promoting Prosperity Worldwide

Sen. Murphy, Rep. Garamendi, Sen. Wofford, IBM, VEGA, Honor Extraordinary Service—Tell Trump, Congress to Prioritize Volunteers

Congressional champions, government officials, nonprofit organizations, major corporations and thought leaders gathered to celebrate the vital role of American volunteers in effective global development

 Washington, D.C. — On International Volunteer Day, December 5, in Washington, D.C., a broad spectrum of youth and skilled volunteers, congressional champions, government officials, nonprofit organizations and major corporations gathered to celebrate the contributions of volunteers to effective global development.

At the International Volunteer Day Forum and Awards Celebration, thought leaders and doers celebrated the vital role of American volunteers, discussed the special value of volunteers in multi-stakeholder efforts to meet this century’s global development and security challenges and called for prioritizing effective volunteer programs and policies in the new Congress and Trump administration.

The heart of the day was an awards ceremony for remarkable volunteers with powerful stories of the impact around the globe and here at home. Awards were given for the exceptional service of seven volunteers who hail from California, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, D.C. and Wyoming.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., gave the keynote speech on the value of volunteers and prioritizing volunteer service in U.S. foreign assistance. Former Senator Harris Wofford presented the BBC Award to Steve Rosenthal. Justin Finnegan, USAID, Bureau for Food Security’s Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, offered remarks about the successful John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program and presented the award to Charlene Nash of Tennessee, who was also invited to join Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on Dec. 6 at the Tennessee Tuesday Breakfast co-hosted by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Later this week, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif. will present VEGA Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP Voluteer of the Year Awardee Neelam Canto-Lugo with a Congressional Commendation.

Read the full press release, with additional quotes here.

Check out the event’s agenda here.

Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) remarks

Check out all our photos from the exciting event!

International Volunteer Day 2016

Learn more about our VEGA Volunteers of the Year by scrolling through the gallery below and clicking on the link for each award recipient.

Lynda Swenson: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016
Lynda Swenson: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016

Lynda Swenson: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016

Lynda Swenson volunteers for many reasons. “The most important [reason] is to ‘give back’ some of the knowledge and experience that I have gained from a world-class education in the USA and throughout my career as a banker and finance professional,” she said. “I am not a wealthy person who can donate dollars; I can, however, donate my time and energy."

Lynda Swenson: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016
John Turner: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016
John Turner: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016

John Turner: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016

Mr. Turner developed an affiliation for the African continent at an early age, when he lived there as a child. Throughout his career and his life, he endeavored to be able to work to help the people of Africa, and his involvement with the FSVC program in East Africa has allowed him to fulfill that goal.

John Turner: VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016
Neelam Canto-Lugo: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer 2016
Neelam Canto-Lugo: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer 2016

Neelam Canto-Lugo: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer 2016

Neelam’s dedication to serving the people of Nepal has not gone unnoticed, especially by her own beneficiaries. She was recently notified that WDAC is creating a “Teacher of the Year” award and naming it after her. “They’re in love with me and I am in love with them,” Neelam said of the honor.

Neelam Canto-Lugo: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer 2016
Charlene Nash: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP 2016
Charlene Nash: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP 2016

Charlene Nash: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP 2016

Charlene Nash’s impact is not only in the number of assignments she’s completed, but also in her tireless efforts in the U.S. to educate her community about the important work the U.S. government is doing to promote sustainable international development through the F2F Program.

Charlene Nash: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP 2016

In the News

Articles featuring VEGA Volunteers of the Year:
Neelam Canto-Lugo in Appeal Democrat
Charlene Nash in The Daily Times

Here’s what was happening on social media

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