Omar N. Ayyash, Office for International Affairs
Omar N. Ayyash is executive director of Louisville Metro’s Office for International Affairs. The OIA “supports and promotes a vibrant, successful, interconnected, multicultural community through awareness, advocacy, and referral,” acting as a clearinghouse of information for immigrants and refugees, educators, businesses, and international visitors.
Among the most notable projects of the OIA are an international cookbook (titled Round Trip Fare), the annual WorldFest on the Belvedere, and the Roads to You celebration of cultural diversity through music.
More notes about the OIA, its partners, and their accomplishments:
- Louisville is one of just a few cities with a government office dedicated to raising awareness of the international community and encouraging growth on a global scale.
- In March 2006, the National League of Cities named Louisville Metro the winner of its City Cultural Diversity Award.
- The Jefferson County Public Schools Adult Education program offers free ESL classes to adults throughout Louisville.
- Local service providers have established Building Futures, a volunteer tutoring and mentoring program designed to help international children read English at higher levels.
- Louisville has several successful federal resettlement agencies that serve the immigrant and refugee populations. They include Catholic Charities of Louisville, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and the Jewish Family and Vocational Service.
- OIA produces an annual International Directory. This resource guide is distributed free of charge.
- Program 125
- The restoration of the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana, the Crusade for Children telethon, historic Locust Grove, Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, and Louisville Metro’s Office for International Affairs. (#125)