2 Zamboangueños join US exchange program PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 June 2016 11:57

By JASMINE MOHAMMADSALI

Two Zamboangueños joined the Philippine delegation to an exchange program spearheaded by the US State Department for young leaders and professionals held from April 26 to June 2, 2016.

Jessie Christopher Lapinid of the City Planning and Development Office and Atty. Alexis de Lima, OIC of National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Satellite Office in Zamboanga City, were among the 14 Filipino young professionals who were chosen to participate in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a 5-week educational and cultural exchange engagement program which aims to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia.

The exchange program involved a week-long orientation in Washington D.C., followed by the training proper which placed participants with different host agencies and government units in the United States of America to observe best practices in engagement and governance, and participate in the planning and implementation of programs under the fellowship themes of civic engagement, environment and natural resources management, and entrepreneurship and economic development.

Capping off the exchange program was a three-day Professional Fellows Congress from May 31 to June 2 which featured panel discussions and open forums helmed by speakers from different US government departments, civil society and non-government organizations, private corporations, and the academe.

The YSEALI is spearheaded in partnership with several organizations, and in the Philippines, was facilitated by the League of Cities of the Philippines. Launched in 2013, the YSEALI is one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature programs that seek to “build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community”.

Both Lapinid and de Lima are expected to pursue projects in their respective fields in line with their fellowship themes in the exchange program as part of their outputs. Lapinid’s project will focus on civic engagement and participation following his experience with the local government in Kansas City, Missouri, while de Lima’s fellowship theme will emphasize more on legislative and governance thrusts. — Jasmine Mohammadsali