On November 6th - November 9th, 2019, SACIV welcomed five international visitors from Peru for an IVLP project entitled “Digital Influencers Inspiring Youth Engagement." The main objectives of this program were to provide participants with opportunities to explore how digital tools have given rise to citizen journalists and have allowed young people to connect with each other, exerting an influence on their communities. It was helpful to set-up meetings with US counterparts who use YouTube channels, blogs, video games, and other platforms to make a positive contribution to their communities.
On Thursday morning, our visitors met with the founding partner and creative director, Mr. Sho Nakpodia, who runs two agencies: the MightyGroup and the DreamVoice. This meeting illustrated a unique event which is called DreamWeek. This annual summit of speakers, artists, and educators gathers everyone to promote tolerance, equality, and diversity and advance the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. He also shared engagement strategies for building partnerships and support for more inclusive communities and the role that media and communications strategies can play in promoting diversity initiative.
Later that day, our guests met with the faculty of Our Lady of the Lake University’s Mass Communication Department which prepares students for professions in film, television, journalism and public relations as well as for admission into graduate programs. The delegation learned about the program’s hands-on experiences in writing, directing, producing, digital editing, print editing, web publishing and more, preparing students for internships and jobs. They discussed the current trends in media education and also visited the Veronica Salazar Media Center, a new facility with state-of-the-art media production equipment that expands undergraduate and graduate program in communications, journalism, and digital media.
In the afternoon, the Peruvian delegation headed to the MOVE Texas headquarters, which stands for Mobilize, Organize, Vote and Empower. The group learned about many ways this organization ensures youth voices are heard and considered in the policy-making process. The representatives of this office described the events and programs they run in order to engage young voters to make a crucial decision for the future. Our group asked poignant questions about the organization’s effort towards civic mobilization among youth and how to make sure they are well informed. They also shared with the speakers that their problem was not the number of voters in Peru, as it is mandatory to vote in their country, but in fact the level of interest, engagement, and information shared, that they need to address.
On Friday morning, the delegation took part in the interactive roundtable with students and staff of Communication Arts High School. They promote rigorous, foundational learning in a personal, supportive environment where students develop skills in communications and technology and in which courses emphasize collaborative choice and fluidity between disciplines. The meeting room was filled with students who wanted to share their experiences in becoming responsible, accountable journalists and discerning consumers of media. Moreover, guests also shared their stories of working as journalists and shaping new generations.
In the afternoon the IVLP group met with the representatives of the Graduate School and the US Department of State for a Project Evaluation Session.
Overall, the group found the visit to San Antonio very supportive of their project objectives and appreciated the opportunity to meet with partners who are working with digital influencers to empower and engage youth. The visit made a significant impact on the visitors and their exchange experience. We greatly appreciate each partner, organization, and representative of San Antonio’s community for their collaboration and partnership in furthering our mission. #ExchangeMatters