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Winter 2014 Newsletter

Building Peace
World Services partners to bring unique peace exhibit to La Crosse

Award-winning photographer and author John Noltner has spent the past three years exploring the meaning of peace. Amidst culture wars and political battles, Noltner has posed the question "What does peace mean to you?" to more than 50 ordinary people. Their answers have opened up an extraordinary dialogue that illuminates the common good that connects us.

Now, World Services of La Crosse, Viterbo University and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) are partnering to bring that exhibit to La Crosse, offering students, families and organizations an opportunity to explore the meaning of peace and how each person can convey peace to help transform the world.

"A Peace of My Mind" will be on display at the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center in La Crosse Feb. 23 through the end of March 2014. All are invited to view the exhibit throughout its run and to attend a free community presentation with exhibit creator Noltner in the Fine Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m.

"’A Peace of My Mind’ is designed to empower communities to collectively examine the ways we categorize one another and how we can bridge our differences by sharing stories," said World Services CEO and President Sandra McCormick. "We at World Services, FSPA and Viterbo recognize its tremendous potential to spark meaningful dialogue."

Also funded in part by the Rotary Works Foundation, the exhibit features 52 black and white portraits, each two feet wide by three feet tall and each including a brief bio and text. The subjects are ordinary people with extraordinary stories. They speak of spiritual peace, political peace and inner peace. They describe what peace means to them, how they work toward it in their lives and some of the obstacles they encounter along the way. The exhibit was presented at the 2011 Peace and Justice Studies Association National Conference and at the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

Viterbo University welcomes school and private groups to visit the exhibit at no charge at any time during the exhibit schedule. Area schools participating in the La Crosse Compassion Project may find the exhibit offers a rich resource for reflection and discussion among students.

To arrange an opportunity to visit the exhibit as a group, call or email Beth Franklin at 608-796-3735 or

Connecting Communities
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.

Sidebar/Call-out: Principals from World Services of La Crosse and Gundersen Health System will be traveling to Russia next month to begin establishing the Center of Excellence.

Call to Action
Citizen Diplomacy Celebration honors area diplomats

Many people are surprised to learn just how many global exchanges and partnerships occur in the La Crosse, Wis., region. Many are equally surprised to learn the power of the individual friendships that result, personal ties that collectively can be as powerful as any government efforts in achieving world peace.

Building awareness of that work and honoring local people who are making it happen will be the focus of World Services of La Crosse's Third Annual Citizen Diplomacy Celebration, an international evening. Scheduled for Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the Cargill Ballroom at the Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern, the event will celebrate the efforts and progress of local people reaching out in the world.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Charles Hanson, a La Crosse attorney, as World Services Citizen Ambassador of the Year;

  • Lee Rasch, president of Western Technical College, as World Services Citizen Diplomat of the Year; and

  • Chad Seitz, a senior at West Salem High School, as World Services Student Ambassador of the Year.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. and features an international dinner. Tickets are $50 each, with all proceeds going to further the citizen diplomacy mission of World Services of La Crosse, a nonprofit organization. Reservations are requested by March 7.

The event is possible through the generosity of event sponsors Don and Roxanne Weber, media sponsor Midwest Family Radio and major sponsor Mayo Clinic Health System, Franciscan Healthcare. Table and event sponsorships are still available.

For more information or to register, visit World Services online at or call 608-781-4194.

Worth Noting
International Women’s Day Celebration

Mark your calendar – Thursday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m. at UW-L’s Centennial Hall – Hall of Nations. The American Association of University Women-La Crosse Branch and other local organizations are planning an evening to explore personal experiences of women from different cultures in celebration of International Women’s Day.

For more information, contact Miranda Panzer,, 608-785-8016.


“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr.