GFDD Global Foundation for Democracy and Development


Executive Director Welcome
Natasha Despotovic Executive Director Welcome
GFDD is making great headway in 2012 in the areas of education, information and communications technology, environment, culture, international affairs and labor force capacity. What is more, the Foundation is increasingly working to establish new partnerships with institutions across the United States and around the world, broadening the geographic reach of our projects and programs.

Participation in Virtual Educa 2012 in Suriname provided GFDD with an opportune platform to present six years of accumulated experience and know-how in education and technological innovation before representatives of universities, multilaterals, nonprofits and private-sector leaders in information and communication technologies. The valuable relationships cultivated in Suriname will undoubtedly strengthen the ongoing work of the Foundation in this critical area of development.
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Dominican Get-Togethers Go to Miami
Dominican Get-Togethers Go to Miami Dominican Get-Togethers Go to Miami  

On March 21, GFDD's initiative Dominican Get-Togethers headed south to the city known as the "Capital of Latin America," Miami, Florida to add its own dose of Dominican culture.

GFDD hosted a screening of the film Sugar, followed by a question and answer session with the protagonist of the film, Algenis Pérez Soto, at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus Auditorium. This event was organized in collaboration with Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives, Consulate of the Dominican Republic in Miami and the Dominican Student Association.

Sugar is the moving portrait of Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a 19-year-old baseball prodigy struggling with the isolation and culture shock that come after he's drafted into the minor leagues, placed in a small Iowa town without knowing English and yet remains desperate to succeed. It is a well-known fact that the Dominican Republic is the country that contributes the greatest number of baseball players to the Major Leagues -- but this movie revolves around what happens to the vast majority of those that don't make it and what befalls them. In the film, Sugar ultimately lands in New York, where life takes him on another path entirely.

The striking parallels between the script and Pérez Soto's own experience are palpable as we learned during the Q and A. Like the movie in which he plays Miguel "Sugar" Santos, in real life, professional baseball was Pérez Soto's dream. He grew up in Quisqueya, a suburb of San Pedro de Macoris, home to many a famous baseball player including Sammy Sosa, George Bell, Rico Carty and Julio Franco.

The film's directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, discovered Pérez Soto playing baseball with friends, and interviewed him for the role. He was one of about 500 actors interviewed for the part. The charismatic actor lauded the directors, saying that making the film was an organic experience in that they spent a lot of time communicating and putting him at his ease. Aware that he and some of the locals had never acted before, they allowed them to amend the script and use colloquial speech to give the film an added layer of authenticity.

The young actor said the movie's message to have education or a "Plan B" in place is very clear. Starring in the movie changed his life - he has learnt English, met a lot of interesting people on his travels, and now feels prepared to take on more acting roles. Pérez Soto knew little English until he prepared for and starred in the film, which was shot in the Dominican Republic, New York City, Arizona and Iowa. He had never pitched before and faced months of intense and grueling training to successfully pull off the part. Ironically, he had dreamed of visiting the US to play baseball, but never imagined that he would do so as an actor playing a baseball player.

He is currently doing a film short and is in talks with a Director at the NYC Film School about a movie project this fall.

Dominican Get-Togethers are part of GFDD's mission to promote appreciation of Dominican culture and to create opportunities for discussions on contemporary issues relevant to Dominican society in the homeland and abroad. Every three months, GFDD creates opportunities to come together and meet a prominent Dominican figure, enjoy a Dominican-themed movie, and/or engage in conversation on topics of importance to the Dominican community. Watch the video here»

DR Environmental Film Festival Will Organize Educational Expedition to Pico Duarte
Santo Domingo, April 2-5, 2012
GFDD Will Organize Educational Expedition to Pico Duarte
The Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF), in partnership with Dominican mountaineers Karim Mella and Federico Jovine, will organize the first-ever educational expedition to Pico Duarte in the Dominican Republic from April 2-5, 2012. The innovative initiative seeks to provide young Dominican students the opportunity to become familiar with the summit and the mountain habitat. Forty students and nine teachers in total will participate in the expedition.

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Get-Together in the Big Apple with Dominican Professional Swimmer and Humanitarian, Marcos Díaz
New York, April 19, 2012
Get-Together in the Big Apple with Dominican Professional Swimmer and Humanitarian, Marcos Díaz
Join us for a Dominican Get-Together in the Big Apple on April 19 and meet Dominican Professional Swimmer and World Humanitarian, Marcos Díaz. Learn about the man who has made a splash across oceans, connecting continents, and making a difference in vulnerable communities.

The "Swim Across the Continents" campaign has been described as the most successful to promote the MDGs to date. Discover how this incredible journey has inspired the global community to demand change and put the MDGs on the world stage.

Date: April 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Location: The Silberman School of Social Work Building, Hunter College, Room SB 201, 2180 Third Avenue (at 119th Street), New York, NY 10035
RSVP: send email confirmations to or call 212.751.5000

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GFDD Will Bring Acclaimed Photo Exhibit to Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, South Korea, May 15-June 12, 2012
GFDD Will Bring Acclaimed Photo Exhibit to Seoul, South Korea Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) has been invited by the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Seoul, South Korea and the Korea Foundation to exhibit its acclaimed photography exposition New Perspectives: Dominican Republic." The exhibit will be part of a larger program titled: "Photography and Identity... A Look towards Latin America and the Caribbean." The prominent initiative will celebrate fifty years of diplomatic relations between the Dominican Republic and South Korea. The event will take place May 15 to June 12 at the Korea Foundation in Seoul, South Korea. Read more>
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