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US Institute of Diplomacy and Human Rights Team returns from successful working visit to the Dominican Republic

We are grateful for the warm welcome and open dialogue we received from the national government in the Dominican Republic”
— Isabelle Vladoiu, USIDHR Founder
WASHINGTON, DC, USA, August 17, 2022 / -- A team of US Institute of Diplomacy and Human Rights (USIDHR) officials has returned to the United States after a successful working visit to the Dominican Republic. The team, led by Founder Isabelle Vladoiu, met with high-level government officials from the Administration of President Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona to discuss human rights issues in the country and ways that the USIDHR can further assist in their promotion given the recent application of the Dominican Republic to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. “This trip was an important opportunity for us to better understand the situation on the ground and identify concrete areas where we can provide assistance," said Ms. Vladoiu upon her return. "We are grateful for the warm welcome and open dialogue we received from the national government in the Dominican Republic." The team's visit included meetings with members of civil society organizations, veterans associations, visits to several centers, and tourist attractions. This was the first official visit by a delegation from the USIDHR since the pandemic and reflected a renewed commitment to strengthening ties and cooperation on human rights issues.

On August 9, 2022, USIDHR participated in a press conference held at the House of Retired Veterans in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The delegation was invited by Chaplain Marisa Estrella and her organization Worldwide Veteran Affairs Inc based in New York City and was also joined by Rosa Ayala, Dr. Luis Manuel Flores, and Gloria Conroy, Human Rights ambassadors from Mexico and Colombia. There, USIDHR Founder and President Manuel Oancia met with government officials, civil society organizations, and retired veterans who fought in Iraq alongside US troops to discuss ways to continue to promote respect for human rights and dignity.

The next day, the USIDHR team and Executive Director of Humanitarian Focus Foundation Ms. Andrise Bass visited the Credit Union of Doctors (Medicoop). During their visit, they met with Dr. Hugo Bautista Martich, the current President of Medicoop, and former president Dr. Edisson Féliz Féliz, currently the General Director of the Metropolitan Health Department. The team also participated in a ceremony honoring veterans, doctors, and community leaders from Santo Domingo. This was part of an ongoing effort to learn more about the work being done to advance human rights in the Dominican Republic.

The USIDHR delegation then visited the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo at the invitation of the President of the Dominican Republic. The delegation was given a tour of the government facility and met with President Abinader's staff. Later that day, they met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the newly appointed Director of Human Rights, Negra Paulina Estevez. Officials from the United Nations and National Anti-Drug Council from the Dominican Republic were also in attendance. The group discussed the human rights vision under the new administration and mutually agreed on the importance of human rights education that must be accessible to every person.

After spending time in the capital, the USIDHR delegation moved on to the city of Puerto Plata, where they met with the Regional Director of Tourism, Ms. Stephanie Kfouri, and a delegation of community leaders from the private sector such as Ashonorte and journalists from Miavision TV. On this occasion, Ms. Kfouri was presented by the President of USIDHR, Mr. Oancia and Founder Vladoiu with the Gold Pin of USIDHR. This honorary decoration is usually awarded to diplomats, human rights consultants and distinguished leaders for their meritorious service in helping the community. The lapel pin is 24k gold plaque and is detailed with embossed symbols such as a world globe, a dove, and two five-pointed gold stars. The bearer that uses it sends a strong message of peace in the world.

Overall, the trip was a wonderful opportunity for the USIDHR team to communicate with the country leaders about the importance of Human Rights Education in creating long-term peace. From experiencing the rich culture to understanding the country's goals in terms of advancing human rights for all, the delegation gained valuable insight. The USDIHR team will continue to work alongside governments like that of the Dominican Republic to support the implementation of human rights education around the globe.

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