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Abramson Honors Local Organizations for Multicultural Work

Friday June 16, 2006

Mayor Jerry Abramson has recognized four local organizations and Louise Schulman for their outstanding contributions to Louisville’s multicultural community through leadership, education, community relations and workforce diversity.

Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Unit, Jewish Family and Vocational Service, Office of Multicultural Ministry and Passport Health Plan were honored at a ceremony at the Frazier International History Museum.

Louise Tachau Schulman received the Mayor’s International Award for Lifetime Achievement for her leadership and volunteer work with local international groups.

“We’re proud to honor individuals and organizations that have made Louisville a welcoming place for new immigrants and the international community,” Abramson said. “These organizations help our new neighbors feel more at home as well as teach our community about the diverse cultures that exist in our hometown.”

In addition, the WorldFest souvenir poster was unveiled. Nico Jorcino, a local artist originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the winner of the first poster competition. WorldFest is an annual festival celebrating international culture held on Labor Day weekend at the Belvedere

The Mayor’s International Awards are sponsored by the law firm of Middleton Reutlinger. The awards are coordinated by the Louisville Metro Office for International Affairs (OIA), and winners were selected from a pool of 19 applicants by an independent judging panel consisting of last year’s award winners and other individuals with a strong knowledge of Louisville’s international communities.

OIA is dedicated to supporting and promoting a vibrant, successful multicultural community through referral, awareness and advocacy. The office focuses its efforts on economic and workforce development, immigration, social services, language assistance, youth development and international protocol for the Mayor.

OIA is the recent recipient of the National League of Cities’ Cultural Diversity Award. Over the past 15 years, immigrants and refugees account for more than 50 percent of Louisville’s total population growth. Currently more than 80 languages are spoken in the Jefferson County Public Schools.

For more information on Louisville’s efforts to support diversity, enter the keyword “International” on the city’s website, LouisvilleKy.gov, or call MetroCall 311.


Mayor’s 2006 International Award Winners

The Mayor’s International Awards were created in 2004 to honor organizations and individuals for outstanding contributions to Louisville’s multicultural community through leadership, education, community relations and workforce diversity.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Adult and Continuing Education Unit serves more than 25,000 people annually in the Louisville Metro area. In addition to lifelong learning classes, its offers English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED classes that help immigrant and refugee populations from 90 countries with 70 native languages achieve independence. JCPS’s Adult and Continuing Education Unit is a national model and has received numerous national awards.

Jewish Family and Vocational Service (JFVS) wasfounded in 1908 as the Federation of Jewish Charities to provide assistance for immigrants. The organization annually assists a global mix of more than 7,000 individuals from diverse, ethnic, social economic and religious backgrounds. In the 1980s JFVS became one of the first local agencies to provide multicultural mental health services to refugees. JFVS has programs that train refugees and immigrants on America’s financial and medical systems. The Career Academy program helps clients acquire skills to select viable career goals and plans.

Office of Multicultural Ministry was created in 1997to give direction and leadership to the development of our growing and diverse communities within the Archdiocese of Louisville and expanded community. They provide programs and sponsor events that teach diversity and tolerance. Workshops, seminars, celebrations and educational enrichment programs are sponsored throughout the community. Some events include cultural diversity days and round table dialogue groups to foster unity among the Vietnamese and African American communities, in addition to a Haitian Support Group and the Hispanic Leadership Enrichment program.

Passport Health Plan (PHP) is a Medicaid-managed-care plan that serves the Medicaid and KCHIP populations in Kentucky. The program currently serves approximately 141,000 people in Louisville and fifteen surrounding counties. PHP has developed a Cultural and Linguistic Services program that assists refugee and immigrant populations as well as healthcare providers who serve these groups. They provide diversity training, community outreach and interpreter resources for members. They have produced several documents in a variety of foreign languages and the website also provides information in Spanish.

2006 “Mayor’s International Award for Lifetime Achievement”

Louise Tachau Schulman is an advocate and volunteer for several international organizations in Louisville. A native of Louisville, Louise had a career in public and community relations, working for a variety of local non-profit organizations. She has been a volunteer tutor for Jefferson County Public Schools and an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor for the Jewish Family and Vocational Service Program. She and her husband have mentored several new American families. She earned a "Volunteer of the Year" award from the Kentucky Association for Continuing Education. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Louisville Metro Office for International Affairs.

WorldFest Poster Competition Winner

Nico Jorcino will receive $500 as the winner of the first WorldFest poster competition that celebrates multiculturalism and diversity. Nico is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and has been a Louisville resident since 2001. He is a founding member of The Adorno Studio in Louisville. Inspired by his experiences as an American immigrant and his interest in architecture and urban planning, he has created a body of work where he explores relationships as a means of humanistic forms of art. He has studied art and architecture at numerous schools in Argentina - including The School of Architecture and Urban Planning at The University of Buenos Aires.

An independent panel of local artists selected his design. The panel included artists Julius Friedman, John Begley, Susan Coleman, Bob Markert and Monica Key from Adhawks Advertising. Local international artists who have worked with the Office for International Affairs were invited to submit designs for the contest.