In March, a delegation of visitors from Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Morocco, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories were welcomed in San Antonio for a program examining women’s leadership in community-based organizations & as elected officials, leadership in diverse communities, women & law enforcement, and empowering women & girls in under-resourced communities.
They met with staff and volunteers from the Martinez Street Women’s Center, which strives for empowerment, equity, and justice for women & girls through services, service learning, leadership development, academic excellence, and community building. Staff members discussed initiatives, such as the Girl Zone Program, which provides free after school sessions and summer camps that enhance academic potential, nurture high self-esteem, and support the healthy development of girls. The visitors also participated in a roundtable discussion on issued affecting local women and girls and how MSWC plans to approach these issues and empower women & girls while strengthening communities.
The University of the Incarnate Word’s International Affairs Department hosted the visitors for a meet-and-greet luncheon. Visitors had the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff from the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership, International Student & Scholar Services, and the Department of Government & International Affairs.
Visitors met with Former Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, who served as Bexar County’s chief law enforcement officer from 2012-2016 and was the first women elected to the post. They learned about how Sheriff Pamerleau began her 32-year career in the United States Air Force when less than one-percent of the Armed Forces were women, and rose to the rank of Major General and how during her Air Force career, she served in the Pentagon developing plans, programs, and budget requirements for personnel programs, and base realignment and closure actions. She discussed how as part of the international Military Staff for NATO in Brussels, Belgium, she advised the NATO Military Committee and the North Atlantic Council on topics regarding strategic and force planning, nuclear policy, and arms control and disarmament and her time as Senior Vice President at USAA, a Fortune 150 company. Sheriff Pamerleau shared her story as a woman in historically “male” fields such as the military and law enforcement. She also discussed issues including public safety, mental health, and domestic violence, which she is passionate about. Many of the visitors also shared these passions and had similar experiences to discuss which created a productive and open dialogue.
Visitors also enjoyed an opportunity to meet with members of Bexar County Republican Women, the first Women’s Republican Club in Texas and the third oldest Women’s Republican Club in the United States, which encourages informed and active participation in government via voter education and advocacy. Representatives will highlight their various activities, events, and special project, as well as discuss how they work to promote an informed public through political activity and to increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government.