IPM's 40th anniversary will draw experts and celebrities from around the world

What does a renowned television host and travel writer have in common with the mother of a 2014 Academy Award winner recently featured on a Vogue magazine cover?

Rick Steves, host of public television’s “Rick Steves’ Europe” and public radio’s “Travel with Rick Steves,” and Dorothy Nyong’o, director of the Africa Cancer Foundation and mother of Lupita Nyong’o of Kenya, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” are among the speakers and panelists coming to Northeast Ohio in October to celebrate the 40th anniversary of IPM (International Partners in Mission). The nonprofit organization is headquartered in the historic Rockefeller Building in Cleveland Heights.

IPM works with women, children and youths across borders of faith, culture and economic circumstances to build justice, peace and hope. What sets IPM apart from many agencies that provide international assistance is its emphasis on partnership—it supports programs initiated by program participants themselves to tackle problems identified by them and community-based organizations, improve living standards and address social injustices.

Since its founding in 1974, IPM, which moved 13 years ago to Cleveland Heights, has joined with 306 grassroots organizations to implement 348 Project Partner initiatives in more than 40 countries, primarily in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2013 alone, IPM helped 60,000 of the world’s most marginalized people by facilitating technical training and providing financial assistance to 60 projects in 20 countries.

One example of IPM’s tremendous work around the world is the Kandula Community Project in Machados, Kenya, where, with donor support, IPM has purchased land and helped fund the construction of a primary school, which now supports a growing enrollment. This year IPM is continuing its work by helping to finish school toilets, connecting a pipeline to provide running water, and mobilizing resources to expand the school and establish a food program. In addition, through the Kandula Community project, IPM has provided training in basket weaving to women as an income-generating activity to help support their families.

Apart from supporting local projects, IPM offers an immersion experience program that provides short-term trips to IPM-supported communities. Participants engage with residents and learn about the projects. More than 1,600 people, including many residents of Greater Cleveland, have participated since the trips began in 2003.

From Oct. 13 through Oct. 17, IPM will host a weeklong series of public luncheon and evening presentations in the Cleveland area featuring national and international experts and IPM Project Partners. In addition to Nyong’o and Steves, who has written the books Travel as a Political Act and Europe Through the Back Door, participants include Jay Friedlander, director of a sustainable business program at College of the Atlantic in Maine, and Judith Ranger Smith, executive director of Jimmy Buffett’s Singing for Change Foundation. About 10 of IPM’s Project Partners from various countries will be panelists for the evening events.

On Oct. 16, IPM will host its 12th annual gala and fundraiser Namaste! One Night for One World, which will feature world music and dance, a variety of foods and wines, a silent auction and fair-trade handcrafts from around the world.

To find out more about IPM, its work, the immersion experiences or upcoming events and ticket prices, contact Raluca Besliu at rbesliu@ipmconnect.org or at 216-932-4082.

Raluca Besliu

Raluca Besliu is a member of the IPM staff. 

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:17 AM, 08.29.2014