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Spring 2014 Newsletter

Citizen diplomats illustrate there are many ways to build peace

Wherever you go in the world — whether halfway around it or halfway around the block — opportunities for citizen diplomacy are everywhere. And this year’s World Services of La Crosse Citizen Diplomacy Celebration honorees show there are many ways to make a positive difference.

Citizen Ambassador of the Year Charles Hanson has focused on advancing peace through La Crosse's Sister Cities program. He was the founder and first president of the La Crosse-Dubna Friendship Association which led to the La Crosse-Dubna sister-city agreement, founding president of the La Crosse-Luoyang Friendship Association which established the sister-city relationship with Luoyang, China, in 1997, and founding president of sister-city relationships with Bantry, Ireland, and Forde, Norway. Today, he serves as an advisor to the mayor on the International Committee of the city of La Crosse.

Lee Rasch, honored as Citizen Diplomat of the Year, has played a significant role in promoting health care technology in Cameroon, Africa. In addition to chairing the citizen-based La Crosse Friends of Cameroon, Rasch has also been very involved with the education and follow-up activities of sister students from Cameroon obtaining nursing degrees at Western Technical College where he services as president. He has visited Cameroon twice, hand-delivering supplies to assist Cameroonian sisters in health care and technology projects.

Student Ambassador of the Year Chad Seitz, a senior at West Salem High School, is a young man who has brought international understanding to his school. Having lived on three continents and traveled to more than 40 countries on five continents, Seitz has amassed a vast network of friends representing numerous cultures and nationalities. He keeps regular contact with international friends, seeking input and perspective on issues at home and abroad and then bringing that broader view to classroom discussions.

If you’d like to explore new ways you can promote peace in the world, please contact us. We offer a number of ways for you to make a positive difference.


Changing the role of nurses in Russia

World Services receives major grant to replicate cancer care approach in Russia

World Services of La Crosse has been so effective in its work to enhance nursing practice and cancer care in Russia, that the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Foundation this winter awarded a “Center of Excellence” grant, asking World Services to replicate its work for expansion into a larger region and ultimately into the Moscow Oblast.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Russia. Care for cancer patients is a problem exacerbated by economic issues but care can be dramatically improved with better patient education, prevention and screening to achieve earlier diagnoses.

Through its Bridging Cancer Care program, the BMS Foundation originally provided a grant to World Services in 2011 to enhance nursing practice in two Russian cities—Saratov and Balakovo—as a strategy to improve cancer prevention, screening and community awareness.  Nurses and physicians from these Russian cities and the La Crosse, Wis., area collaborated in professional exchanges to improve nursing curriculum at the Balakovo Medical College and to share experiences with contemporary models of nursing practice.

World Services partnered with Gundersen Health System to execute the project. Nursing curriculum at the Balakovo Medical College was enhanced to strengthen pre-service and in-service nursing education for nursing students as well as nurses receiving continuing education at the college. As a result of collaboration with Gundersen professionals, a nurse care coordinator role was devised to improve continuity of care for cancer patients in the Russian health system.  Ultimately, the two local organizations helped the Russian cities restructure and improve the skills of nurses working in community clinics, improving patient education and prevention.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation announced their decision to expand the program in December, funding a two-year $350,000 grant to World Services. The local organization will again partner with Gundersen Health System to establish the Cancer Care Nursing Practice Center of Excellence in Saratov Oblast, Russia, and replicate this model in the Moscow Oblast.


Thank you Table Sponsors

World Services of La Crosse’s 2014 Citizen Diplomacy Celebration was once again a special gathering of people who share our goal of promoting peace in the world. We thank all of you who supported the evening by attending, donating and sponsoring.

We extend a special thank you to our event sponsors Don and Roxanne Weber, our media sponsor Mid-West Family Radio and major sponsor Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare for making the celebration possible. Thank you, too, to table sponsors: Mary and Jim Anderson; Kelly and Brian Barton and Annette and Rick Mikat; Coulee Bank; Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration; Gundersen Health System; Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik; Rev. Mark and Sharon Jolivette; La Crosse Dubna Friendship Association; La Crosse Friends of Cameroon; Linda and John Lyche; Sandra and Dick McCormick; Dr. Cheri Olson and Dr. Doug Nelson; and Marti and Jack Schwem.

Point of Protocol

When greeting Russian guests

Upon meeting a Russian man or woman the first time, a handshake between men or a simple nod is standard. While at first Russians may seem reserved, later greetings will be physically friendly. They greet acquaintances with three kisses on alternating cheeks and tend toward much less personal space than Americans. Be sure not to whistle indoors or greet someone across a threshold as both are believed to bring bad news. And, as is the case globally among the wise, avoid discussing politics. Source: Frommers