VASJ student leaders hold international panel

Student leaders at VASJ hosted a panel of individuals from Ethiopia, Japan, Guatemala, India, Iran and Israel, along with the Consul General of The Republic of Slovenia in Cleveland, on Thursday, May 17.

“The World Next Door” was the theme of the student leadership assembly, which is a part of the Get To Know Our World initiative at VASJ. The assembly focused on the ways in which VASJ students can get to know the world next door by exploring the many cultures represented in Northeast Ohio. Venues of exploration included Ethiopian food, Japanese Taiko music, cultural artifacts and flags, and dance.


Cultural artifacts and flags decorated the Ministry Center


Japanese Taiko music opened the assembly

A roundtable including a Roman Catholic and an Orthodox Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu and a Shinto from seven nations identified local international resources. Their discussion gave testimony to the fact that people from different nations, faith, and cultures can indeed get along, and in fact impact the world with greater harmony, equity, and creativity as they live and work together.

Moderating the panel was Dr. John Lecky, former executive director of the International Community Council. The panelists and the nations they represent included:

  • Consul General Jureck Zmauc, Republic of Slovenia.
  • Aklilu Demessie, Ethiopia.
  • Lydia Fernandez, Guatemala.
  • Avraham (Avi) Goldman, Israel.
  • Arash (Ari) Ghahremani, Iran.
  • Dr. Surinder Bhardwaj, India.
  • Kazumi Glomb, Japan.


Dr. John Lecky introduces the international panelists, representing seven different regions of the world

Bringing these leading personalities to VASJ and aligning them with student leaders in this global education initiative demonstrated the way in which collaborative engagements can result in positive outcomes that benefit our individual lives and the wider world. VASJ was excited to be a part of such an important initiative.



VASJ student ambassadors with the international panelists