Exchange DetailBACK TO MAP
In March, ACYPL sent an 8-member delegation to the Philippines and Indonesia for a 12-day exchange. During the course of the trip the delegates spent time in the Metro Manila area, visiting Manila, Makati City, and Taguig City before traveling to Negros Occidental, where they visited Bacolod City, Victorias City, and Silay City. The group’s time in Indonesia was split between Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The delegation included mayors from cities in Iowa and Maine, a member of the Cleveland City Council, and a representative from The Boeing Company. The program in the Philippines was organized by the National Movement of Young Legislators, with whom ACYPL has worked for almost 25 years, and the program in Indonesia was organized by the US-Indonesia Society, our Indonesian partner since 2008.
Before departing the US, the delegation attended a briefing day in DC where they were warmly welcomed at the Embassies of the Philippines and Indonesia. The delegates also met with the new Indonesian Ambassador to the US who discussed Indonesia’s economic developments and the upcoming Presidential Election, which provided some excellent context for future in-country meetings.
The program in Manila focused heavily on national government policies, where the delegation had a series of discussions with the Presidential Communications Operations Office about the Philippines’ “Gender Fair Policy” and freedom of information. One of the highlights in Manila was a forum with students and young professionals where the delegates shared their expertise on politics and business. They also had the privilege to meet with The Honorable Sung Kim, US Ambassador to the Philippines. In Negros Occidental, the delegates learned about provincial and city governance from several mayors and members of the Provincial Board. They also had an in-depth discussion about the upcoming local elections with one of the Bacolod City mayoral candidates. A highlight in Negros was a visit to the “The Morning Show” on the ABS-CBN Bacolod network, where several of the delegates were interviewed about the exchange. Notable cultural activities included a visit to the National Museum of Natural History, the historic Intramuros area in Manila, plus visits to the Victorias Milling Company and the Balay Negrense Museum in Negros Occidental. The delegation also attended receptions in both provinces with ACYPL Filipino alumni.
In Jakarta, the delegates enjoyed a fruitful dialogue with the Governor Anies Basweda, where topics discussed ranged from local governance, the upcoming Indonesian Presidential Election, issues pertaining to religious and ethnic minorities, and combating government corruption. An additional highlight was a visit to the office of President Joko Widodo to discuss transparency and open governance. Yogyakarta presented an excellent opportunity for the delegates to compare and contrast their experiences in Jakarta. They attended discussions on women in politics with representatives from several civil society organizations and participated in a roundtable about religious conflict and peacebuilding with faculty and students from the Universitas Gadjah Mada. The delegates also explored Indonesian culture with a visit to the ancient Borobudur Temple, the largest Buddhist Temple in the world originally built in the 9th century, and shopping for local Batik cloth, which several delegates proudly wore during a farewell dinner with alumni of ACYPL’s Professional Fellows Program exchange.
After the program, one delegate remarked, “I’ve always been very globally minded and had a heart for public service, but I have lost that to an extent over the last several years. This trip and getting to know my fellow delegates really re-inspired those passions and re-ignited my intellectual curiosity for what is happening around the world. I’m so thankful for that and think this trip will have a long lasting impact on my heart.”