Last week, San Antonio welcomed four visitors from Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam to interface with city leaders about modern political issues as part of the American Council of Young Political Leaders' (ACYPL) Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). Last Friday, May 18th, these leaders from a variety of backgrounds were able to exchange ideas and best practices with many figures from around San Antonio before getting a chance to see all of the wonderful cultural attractions San Antonio had to offer on Saturday.
Although they were not here long, the visitors were able to meet with many organizations. They began by visiting representatives of the City of San Antonio. In addition to members of the International Relations Office, City Attorney's Office, Economic Development Department, and Public Information Office, the visitors were also able to learn from Councilman Rey Saldaña. These meetings with many members of city government allowed an impressive exchange of policy solutions and perspectives across a wide array of topics, including ethics, transparency, community engagement, small business advocacy, and economic incentivization.
Next, they were able to meet with Lauren Browning, Executive Director of Growing Empowered Together (GET), who explained GET's mission to empower young people and get them involved in their communities and societies. MOVE San Antonio, who our visitors also met with, similarly works to engage young people in the political system and ensure that their voices are heard at the ballot box. On the other hand, the New Leaders Council was able to showcase their Institute program which allows emerging progressive leaders the opportunity to develop fundraising, advocacy, and organization skills through a rigorous five month training program.
Our visitors also engaged with other civil society fora in the form of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF). SAEDF aims to develop and diversify the regional economy around San Antonio. Their efforts have afforded SAEDF with a unique perspective on the local business community as well as the effects of international trade on San Antonio. These insights were very much appreciated by the four visitors.
Overall, the delegation of YSEALI fellows was a tremendous success, and the exchange of policy ideas proved fruitful and engaging for all.