International Connections: Where Are They Now?

Mrs. Kara David – Peabody Award Winning Documentarian

Every year, the Seattle World Affairs Council hosts hundreds of current and emerging leaders through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). These talented and driven individuals are chosen by U.S. embassies to travel to the United States and participate in professional and cultural exchanges. These visitors return to their home countries with new connections and deepened knowledge to aid in their professional development. In this “Where Are They Now?” feature, the World Affairs Council highlights successful alumni of Seattle’s past IVLP programs in celebration of IVLP’s 75th Anniversary this year! This week, the World Affairs Council is featuring Ms. Kara David, a prominent Filipino documentarian, news host, and founder of Project Malasakit, a foundation that funds education for impoverished children.

In February 2009, Ms. David traveled to the United States on an IVLP kara2program entitled “Managing Public Health,” along with health care professionals from Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Taiwan. At the time of the trip, Ms. David was the Senior News Producer at GMA News TV, a major Filipino network, and had written and hosted documentaries about Filipino politics and social issues. A few years prior to her arrival in Seattle, she won the UNICEF Child Rights Award for a documentary about children born and raised in prison. Ms. David came the U.S. while working on a new project about the medical services available to rural communities in the Philippine’s. Her participation in the IVLP program exposed her to the challenges of managing public healthcare systems, a subject which would be prominently featured in her upcoming documentary.

While in Seattle, Ms. David and the other delegates met with PATH’s Vice President of Global Programs, the Director of Seattle and King County’s Public Health Department, and a panel of regional healthcare experts. Kara and her fellow visitors learned about epidemic surveillance programs, contagious disease prevention, and the effects that community healthcare systems have on international development efforts. The visitors also met with the News Planning Manager of KING 5 Television to discuss how the station informs the public of healthcare emergencies and advisories.

After leaving Seattle, Ms. David returned to her project on rural healthcare. She released her new documentary under the title “Ambulansiyang de Paa,” which translates to “Ambulance on Foot.” The documentary focused on the public health care system of Bansud, a remote village in the Philippines. The village has no doctor and is hours away from competent medical care. Community members must carry the sick or injured to clinics in a hammock slung from a bamboo pole, often hiking for hours on end. Often times, patients die during this trek, because only the most severe cases are offered this basic transport. Ms. David interviewed regional officials who acknowledged the problem, but pointed to lack of aid from the national government as the barrier to providing more comprehensive care. For demonstrating the need of rural Filipino community members to a television audience, Ms. David won a Peabody Award in 2009. Ms. David is the second Filipino to be honored with this award. Currently, Ms. David continues to work for GMA News TV, anchoring “News to Go,” a weekday morning newscast, and “Power House,” a weekly lifestyle and talk show.

The World Affairs Council congratulates Ms. David on her impactful work as a documentarian, and looks forward to following her future career! We also look forward to another 75 years building global connections through citizen diplomacy via the IVLP program.


-Cory Rand, International Visitor Program Assistant