On Wednesday, February 6, 2013, SDLA Board members Shane Yonston and Will Moore, along with NLC 2013 Fellow Sadie Brinton had the privilege of meeting with seventeen rising leaders from the Middle East and North Africa. The meeting was arranged by the San Diego Diplomacy Council under the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
Under its IVLP program, the State Department brings current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields to the U.S. for short-term visits. They travel to several American cities to meet with American counterparts in fields similar to theirs. The goal is for both the visitors and their American counterparts to learn about new techniques and strategies in their fields and to cultivate lasting relationships.
At the meeting, the SDLA's representatives shared, through an interpreter, the breadth of SDLA's programming in training young leaders and encouraging greater civic engagement among broad segments of the community. The Visitors were professionals in fields related to community development so, among the SDLA programs, they were most interested in the New Leaders Council Institute. Will and Shane, as longtime board members, explained the value of the NLC Institute program in identifying and training new progressive leaders with diverse policy interests and backgrounds, as well as creating an enduring network of leaders that will stand the test of time. Sadie Brinton, a current NLC fellow, shared the value of the Institute's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in helping her better focus her career and personal goals.
The visiting leaders were very enthusiastic about the possibility of creating similar programs once they returned to their home countries. They asked many thoughtful questions, such as: How are the fellows selected? How does the Institute decide upon its curriculum? How are the instructors recruited? Yonston and Moore were careful to note that NLC programs likely differ by location, but they were happy to share their personal experiences in hopes that the visitors can create programs that will serve their communities as adeptly as the SDLA is serving San Diego.
Shane, Will and Sadie had the opportunity to talk informally with the visitors after the formal session ended. They exchanged contact information and hope to keep in contact. In fact, one of the visitors invited them all to Algeria!
The SDLA is grateful to our hosts, the San Diego Diplomacy Council, for offering us the opportunity to meet with this group of rising leaders.