Breaking Bread, Breaking Down Barriers

May 12, 2007

Author: Della Pacheco

Source: Indianapolis Business Journal

When a group of Iraqi editors and writers visited Indianapolis last summer as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, they learned about American journalism and Hoosier hospitality.

Florence May, a member of the International Center of Indianapolis’ board and president of Simply Hospitality—an Indianapolis-based special-event planning company—hosted the group for dinner in her home.

May grew up in a military family and has lived throughout the world. During the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, she served as an air logistics and parachute operations officer in the U.S. Army in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Having the opportunity to host this group of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds together in her home and hear their perspectives on the profound changes in their country was an amazing opportunity, she said.

The International Visitor Leadership Program identifies up-and-coming leaders from countries throughout the world, bringing nearly 5,000 of them each year to the United States to meet with their professional counterparts and interact with average Americans.