IVLP Alumnus Writes about the Diversity of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Host City

Gary Pieters (left) at USA Day
Gary Pieters (left) at USA Day

In his July 12, 2015, Huffington Post article, “The Pan Am Games Has Brought the City of Toronto to Life,” alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Gary Pieters, describes the rich cultural distinctiveness of Toronto that adds to the luster of the Pan Am and the Parapan Am Games. An educator, social-policy commentator, and a community volunteer, Pieters highlighted how the Pan Am Games have accentuated Canada’s diversity, bringing together people of all ages, cultures, genders, and nationalities. This diversity gives Toronto an ambience of warmth and hospitality as it welcomes the thousands of athletes and tourists arriving for the Games from all over the Western Hemisphere. Polyglot Pan Am volunteers, representing a rich array of cultural and ethnic traditions, add to the charm of the city, providing information and offering assistance to visitors from afar.

As part of the IVLP program, in January 2007, Gary Pieters joined the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto in hosting a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day program. IVLP is a professional exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, whose mission is to provide current and emerging international leaders the opportunity to experience the diversity of America on all levels, through professional exchanges, which build on the participants’ professional interests and overlap with the public diplomacy objectives of the U.S. Government. As a volunteer with a focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and human rights, Pieters continues to advocate respect for diversity. The Panam and Parapan Games have become a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the cultural richness of Toronto.

To read “The Pan Am Games Has Brought the City of Toronto to Life,” please click here.

This story was taken from the July 2015 edition of the U.S. Mission to Canada Alumni Newsletter. To view it, please click here.