Washington Update: International Exchange in the Trump Era
Ilir Zherka – Executive Director, Alliance for International Exchange
Mark Overmann – Vice President of External Affairs, InterExchange
One year into a new American administration, challenges emerged for the exchange community. Those challenges include steep proposed budget cuts, increased visa screening procedures, and potential restrictions on privately-funded exchange programmes. This webinar by the Alliance for International Exchange will provide policy updates.
Ilir Zherka joined the Alliance for International Exchange as Executive Director in early 2016. Ilir is a life-long human and civil rights leader. He has served as the Executive Director of three other organizations, where he worked on a bipartisan basis to help end ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, advance DC representation in Congress, and increase civic engagement. Ilir gained policy and political experience working with Congressman George Miller, serving as an advisor to four presidential campaigns, and as a political appointee in the Clinton Administration.
Ilir is the author of Winning the Inside Game: the Handbook of Advocacy Strategies. He has testified before Congress and has appeared on a wide-range of television and radio news programs. As a recognized community leader, Ilir has received numerous awards including the Whitney M. Young Jr. Leadership Award and the John F. Kennedy Public Service Award.
Ilir has personal experience with exchange programs. He was an IREX fellow in Albania and helped to create the Hope Fellowship program. Ilir is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Ilir is Albanian-American. He immigrated as a child with his family to the United States, speaks Albanian, and grew up in New York City.
Mark Overmann has worked in the international educational and cultural exchange field for more than 12 years. Prior to joining InterExchange in April 2016, Mark worked for seven years at the Alliance for International Exchange (most recently as Deputy Director). Previously he was the Director of College Communications at Georgetown University, and a Program Associate for Communications at the National Council for International Visitors (now Global Ties U.S.). Mark made his first substantive trip abroad during college to study in Angers, France. Following his graduation with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, he taught English and studied Chinese in Northeast China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region. He then earned his M.A. in International Communication from American University’s School of International Service. He is coauthor with Sherry Mueller of Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development (Georgetown University Press, 2014 and 2008). He speaks French and Chinese, and is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio.