By Allison Don
Two alumni of the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA), Roberto Alcantar (Class of 2012) and Mark Leo (Class of 2013) have been appointed to the City of San Diego’s International Affairs Board. The board aims to foster friendly relations, better understanding, economic cooperation, and cultural interchange between the U.S. and other countries.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve our great city of San Diego as a member of the International Affairs Board for the City of San Diego,” says Alcantar. “I look forward to working with the other board members and our City Council to grow our City’s international presence and further develop our binational region and economy.”
Says Leo: “I believe that there aren’t enough AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] people serving on boards for the city of San Diego and other surrounding municipalities in the region. Councilwoman Cole has said that we need these boards to represent the city that we serve. As a Filipino American, my opportunity to serve does not just meet that goal, but it also allows me to help build bridges between all of San Diego’s diverse communities as we seek to grow San Diego’s international presence in the global community. The populace of San Diego is tied to so many different nations that we would be remiss to not engage in projects/collaborations with that would lead to more economic cooperation and cultural interchange between our city and one abroad.”
Mark Leo was born in Baguio City, Philippines in 1984. He immigrated to the United States at the age of one, after his father had joined the Navy. After a brief stint in Oregon, his father was stationed in San Diego, California. As a “native” San Diegan, Mark grew up in Paradise Hills and attended Morse High School. Mark has a BA from UC Santa Barbara in History and Asian American Studies, and an MA in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. He has worked for the San Diego County Office of Education and the Center of Policy Initiatives. Mark is presently a worksite organizer for SEIU Local 221, representing employees from the San Diego County, City of Chula Vista, National City, and Imperial Beach.
Roberto Alcantar was born and raised in the South Bay region of San Diego, where he presently resides with his wife and daughter. After graduating from Southwest High School, Roberto received a BA from UC Berkeley in Political Science with a Minor in Public Policy. He has worked for the U.S. State Department in Perth, Australia, on a project funded by the Department of Justice to battle Human Trafficking in San Diego County, in higher education, and at Feeding America San Diego. Roberto serves on the SD County Young Democrats board, the SD County Democratic Party Central Committee, the SDLA board, and the League of Conservation Voters of SD board. He is presently a Field Representative for California State Senator Marty Block.