Faces of American Spaces – Alfredo Giraldo
We sat down with Alfredo Giraldo, American Spaces program specialist in Peru, during a recent training visit to Vienna. We are excited to share what Alfredo had to say during our Q&A (questions and answers) session with him. Alfredo has been working at the U.S. Embassy in Lima for 15 years and oversees the partnership between the embassy and the American Spaces in Peru (also known as binational centers) across the country.
Q: Tell us about your job
A: I oversee the development of partnership between the us embassy and the American Spaces network in the whole country. They are binational centers – that’s the model in Peru and in a lot of Latin America. There are eight binational centers in the country, each with various locations, bringing the total to 30 locations. I work with my colleagues in the Public Affairs/Public Diplomacy section to oversee the American Spaces programming, like EducationUSA, cultural programming, English teaching and learning, etc. It’s a cross-section approach to binational centers and I also lead the development of the partnership with the binational centers.
Q: What’s a recent program that you’re most proud of?
A: We did a market research audience analysis that we did with the whole network of American Spaces. It wasn’t a program per se focused on the audiences to deliver a program, but it was an audience analysis that allowed us to understand in depth the characteristics of the audiences of the whole country. We got a lot of very valuable information for the embassy and the binational centers and our partnership to realign the work that we were doing. As a result of that there were various programs that were realigned and implemented. One of them was a program we implemented during the pandemic, a virtual library. Since the binational centers were closed during the pandemic shutdown this allowed us to still provide information about the U.S. and skills building resources through this virtual library. Other countries are also implementing this model – we have been doing so for a year. I have to say I am proud of that effort.
Q: What advice do you have for others in your position working with large networks and with dynamic audiences?
A: To really work before developing the programs it’s important to develop the partnership between organizations like the binational centers and the U.S. embassy. The partnership needs to be beneficial for both.