Upstate International thrives on making connections—reaching out to anyone interested in international culture, global issues and education, and fostering the dynamic exchange of ideas. UI Ambassadors are passionate about what Upstate International has to offer. They welcome, support, and celebrate the international diversity that makes this community such a vibrant place.

An Ambassador can help you get connected to programs, groups, and activities that will facilitate a deeper connection with other Upstate residents and cultures. Read the bios below to become acquainted with each of our UI Ambassadors. Let their passion for the world ignite yours.

Contact an Ambassador to learn about his or her experiences with Upstate International and how you can benefit through participation.

Kimi Husse

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Meet Kimi

Kimi initially joined Upstate International to take part in activities planned by the International Women’s Club (IWC).  She soon began French and Italian conversational language classes in 2006, which lead to a more active participation in the day to day activities of the center.

Kimi has always loved anything with problem solving and, of course, International!  She has taken her educational training in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University to various positions with Texas Instruments, SGS-Thomson, and Kemet Electronics, even spending a year in Singapore.  Her problem solving strengths were uniquely used with the 2016 Upstate International “Yarn Bomb” project, when a colorful patchwork quilt covered the front of the building! 45 people, 23 miles of yarn, and countless hours of ingenuity lead to the successful display on June 11, 2016.  Together we raised eyebrows, and more importantly, awareness of Upstate International and all its programs. Future plans will surely include advertising Upstate International throughout the community, meeting all the French and Italian expats, and bien sûr some sort of crafty project involving a crochet hook!

Carmen Gallagher

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Meet Carmen

Carmen moved to the United States 24 years ago from Monterrey, Mexico after meeting and marrying her American husband while he was working there in Mexico.

After living in several states, they and their two children made Greenville their home 11 years ago.  She became a member of Upstate International and began teaching the first Spanish class offered at the organization.  Carmen then became a relocation ambassador, helping families that moved to Greenville attain their licenses, Social security cards, etc.

Since then, she has been heavily involved in the International Women’s Club (IWC) and has found an amazing outlet for her passion of meeting the needs of those who move to the Upstate from all over the world.

She’s very involved in the Spanish community and is a current member of the AHAM (Hispanic American Womens Associaton) executive committee and works with several companies in the Upstate as a Spanish interpreter.

Mapitso Rivera

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Monique Glass

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Meet Monique

In 1998, Jerry Gibbins and Kip Seiber approached me, as president of the local Alliance Française chapter, to join them in creating an International Association for the Upstate. They needed existing international organizations to provide a base upon which further growth could be created. For the Alliance this would provide a site for our language and other cultural activities, a perfect fit. With the blessings of the Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor, we were fortunate to obtain our first home within Greenville City Hall. This was the beginning of the International Center of the Upstate, now Upstate International.

In 1999, I created our local International Women’s Club, an organization that had meant a lot to me in Pittsburgh when I was a newcomer to the States. Its purpose was to bring the local and International Community closer together. The leadership of Margo Pons and her team has provided energy, stability and many new ideas leading to the continuous growth and success of this organization. The benefits derived by membership in Upstate International are too numerous to list, but suffice it to say that I believe our shared experience of living in the Upstate of South Carolina is greatly enhanced and the world is a better place because of it.

Yuji Kishimoto

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Meet Yuji

Yuji Kishimoto’s background and experience has made him a perfect fit for the Board of Upstate International and the steering committee for International Month. After graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1965, teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Upstate of South Carolina got lucky when Yuji took a position at Clemson University in 1980. Acting as Special Assistant to the President for US-Japan relations in education, economic development and culture for 25 years until his retirement in 2011, Yuji’s passion for cultural exchange was able to flourish. Governor Carroll Campbell named him the 1989 Economic Development Ambassador and the Japanese Government also recognized him by awarding him a Special Commendation for Cultural Exchanges. Yuji also participated in the creation of the Japan America Association of SC and serves as a board member of Greenville Sister City International.

Needless to say, given Yuji’s interest in and experience as a cultural exchange ambassador throughout his career, he is a natural for the Upstate International Ambassador program. Yuji welcomes any chance to talk about Upstate International and will easily convince you of the many benefits you will derive by participating in our programs.