ORLANDO, FL, August 28th, 2013 — An experienced international community leader, Stephen Lavalah from Monrovia, Liberia, has officially joined the IDEAS For Us team, and will be contributing to the local and international IDEAS movement through a four-month fellowship funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and implemented by IREX. Stephen will be applying a global lens to issues facing Central Florida through practical work experience at IDEAS For Us, while gaining transferable leadership and management skills he will later will apply back in his home country.

The IREX Community Solutions Program has matched 58 global leaders with American organizations in more than 20 U.S. States and the District of Columbia. Through hands-on collaboration, more than 55 American organizations, including IDEAS For Us, were vetted and selected to provide their leaders with community development experience in the U.S. on environmental issues and sustainability.

Prior to becoming a Community Solutions Fellow, Stephen has been a leader in Liberia for nearly 7 years through his experience working on Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), a nonprofit he founded in Liberia in 2007 to educate and empower youth to develop local solutions to challenges faced in his country. At IDEAS For Us headquarters in Winter Park, Florida, Stephen will work with Chris Castro (IDEAS Executive Director) and Clayton Ferarra (IDEAS Regional Director) to organize local IDEAS events, Hive Orlando think tanks, network with community organizations, collaborate with IDEAS Africa Regional partners, and develop resources and toolkits to benefit YES and the IDEAS movement internationally.

In addition to working with IDEAS For Us, Stephen will participate in an online Community Leadership Institute, a web-based leadership course developed by IREX that focuses on key leadership and organizational management skills. At the end of his time in the U.S. in December 2013, Stephen will create a plan for a new initiative in their home communities, in partnership with IDEAS For Us, and spend six months implementing that project throughout Liberia.

Stay turned for updates from IDEAS Fellow, Stephen Lavalah, and the IDEAS For Us team as we begin our IREX journey together. For more information, please visit IREX

IREX is an international nonprofit organization providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally. We enable local individuals and institutions to build key elements of a vibrant society: quality education, independent media, and strong communities.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, and peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961.