We were very glad to be able to welcome a delegation from India this week. SACIV hosted Indian journalists who were participating in an IVLP program to examine the causes, impacts, and actors involved in U.S. foreign policy through the lens of those in the United States. It afforded these reporters, editors, and researchers the chance to deepen their understanding of international relations as it relates to the United States.
The group began by touring the WOAI/KABB newsroom where they were able to see what an American journalistic outlet looks like. They were also able to ask questions of the reporters and staff who worked there to compare news media practices across hemispheres. Additionally, the group had a good time experimenting with the green screen and posing at the Fox 29 news desk.
As they began diving into U.S. foreign policy, they began by speaking with the City of San Antonio Office of International Relations and the Head of Protocol there, Sherry Dowlatshahi, who leads the International Relations Office. Together, they learned about San Antonio’s efforts to cultivate person-to-person and city-to-city diplomacy through IVLP, Sister City, and delegation projects. In this way, a community can bypass larger geopolitical quandaries and forge transnational connections on its own.
The next day, visitors met with several groups interested in border-related issues. To begin with, they met with representatives of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office to discuss how they deal with border-related crime. Given that the international border between Mexico and the United States is only a few hours from San Antonio, the Sheriff’s office often encounters situations that involve border crossings.
After being heavily publicized in the news of late, our visitors from India were lucky to get a meeting with Refugee And Immigrant Center for Education and legal Services, RAICES. There they learned about their efforts to provide support for migrant families and ensure oversight of detention processes.
On the other hand, Mexicans and American Thinking Together works to transcend the international border to ensure the success of joint economic and cultural projects between citizens of Mexico and citizens of the United States. These projects span a variety of topics, but they help to strengthen bilateral ties between the two North American countries. Our visitors were very interested in the work they do to foster fruitful international relations.
As an extra cultural activity, the visitors met with members of Anuja San Antonio who sponsor San Antonio’s Diwali events and who are active participants in San Antonio’s Sister City relationship with Chennai, India. The meeting was a great opportunity for interested people from the U.S. to talk to our Indian IVLP visitors about their experience in the United States and cross-cultural differences.
Overall, the delegation was an incredible success. All of the visitors were very happy with the information they were able to learn about U.S.-Mexico relations and the role of local communities in shaping U.S. foreign policy.