Ivan Silva: A voice on the air

Ivan Silva broadcasting for the Organization of American States during his first year in 1957. (Photo courtesy of Ivan Silva)

By Bob Merikangas

Resident Writer

Many of us at Riderwood found a variety of ways over the years to share our voices, our words, with others, going beyond our daily conversations. We wrote articles and books, gave talks, put messages on the web, sent emails, and more. Now we are discovering that one of our recently arrived neighbors had opportunities well beyond the experiences of most of us, and shared his voice on radio and television, often not just locally but internationally. Ivan Silva started broadcasting in Latin America, and then came to the United States to continue speaking to the world.

Starting in 1945, at the age of 15, Ivan began working in radio when living in Santiago, Chile. Over the years his voice was heard by shortwave radio in the Philippines, and broadcast by the Voice of America around the world. After a short time with TV Caracas, in Caracas, Venezuela, he and his family came to Washington in 1957, invited by the Organization of American States (OAS) to be a voice for their broadcasts. His program was heard by over 500 radio stations in Latin America.

With OAS he was a narrator of documentaries, including those by the National Geographic television network and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). He also spoke Spanish for programs of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, and for WorldNet Television and Film Service. He was a voice for a report on a space flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida in 1961. He once provided a voice for Omar Sharif, in a documentary on the pyramid in Egypt.

Ivan retired from the OAS after 32 years in 1989. In retirement he has contributed to the OAS Association of Retirees newsletter. He provides short, funny entries called Stupidities.

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