Kittitian Sharon Rattan on U.S. Government Sponsored Program

US Embassy, Bridgetown, Barbados – Feb 6, 2012 – Sharon Rattan will be heading to the United States later this month as the latest Eastern Caribbean Fellow of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

Ms. Rattan, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs will take part in a three-week Multi-Regional Project on ‘Women and Justice’ with 23 other candidates from around the world.

The program, which begins on February 20, will take Ms. Rattan to five cities across the United States: Washington DC, New York, Syracuse, Salt Lake City and Dallas.

Ms. Rattan and her colleagues will explore how the justice system and non-governmental organizations protect women, looking in particular at anti-domestic violence initiatives and programs. They will meet with federal and state justice officials, including a stop at the local Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) office in Dallas to discuss human trafficking cases.

Like Ms. Rattan, the participants in this program are all women who work on gender equality and anti-domestic violence in their own countries. They are government officials, legal advocates and researchers.

United by their professional pursuits, the participants are a varied group, hailing from as far as Moldova, the Philippines, Pakistan and Nigeria. The program offers the opportunity for this diverse group of women to create professional linkages with each other and with American officials during the program to promote international cooperation in strengthening women’s access to justice.

Embassy Bridgetown’s Counselor for Public Affairs, Ms. Rebecca Ross said that Ms. Rattan’s nomination to the program is a continuation of the Embassy’s work with local and regional partners in the Caribbean to combat domestic violence.

“Ms. Rattan is dedicated to implementing a coordinated, multi-sector approach to protect victims of sexual violence in St. Kitts. By including local partners like her in our programs, the U.S. Government can help support the region’s capacity to address key issues and help increase the security of our citizens and our shared region,” said Ms. Ross.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. The program brings together emerging leaders in their respective professions to learn from how U.S. experts in this profession operate, and to share best practices with the other program fellows who hail from the same region and across the globe.

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