12 weeks. Three programs. 24 fellows.
Reflecting on the world of fellows and programs at San Diego Diplomacy Council over the past few months, no one can deny that we embraced the return to in-person with open arms!
What programs are we referring to?
Fellowship programs are typically month-long professional exchange experiences, designed to enhance mutual understanding, exchange and collaboration, and leadership and entrepreneurial skill development. During this experience, participants, selected after a rigorous and competitive process through the U.S. Department of State, are placed with a local organization to learn, collaborate and create enduring professional connections and relationships.
Recent Fellowship Programs in San Diego
The past few months have seen three separate, month-long fellowship programs take place in San Diego.
Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative (YLAI)
In June, fourteen Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative (YLAI) fellows arrived to San Diego to participate in month long fellowships with our wonderful host partners. These partners include Sew Loka, Old Town Soap Company, Stella, ISOS Group, Hera Hub, Elementary Institute of Science, Mujeres Brew House, Kitchens for Good, IRC Small Business Development Center, Connect ALL, Jai Jus, and Bilingual Kids. In addition to YLAI fellows working with these host organizations during the week, their professional Friday sessions were guided by us and fellows had the chance to meet with a variety of entities.
Their first Friday featured a Pitch Training led by Karen Henken and Casey Myers (One Digital World), then they visited and toured Art Produce with Lynn Susholtz. The following week, they practiced their business pitches at the Basement at UCSD and met with the Institute of the Americas. The third Friday took them to the Burnham Center for Community Advancement and after attended our Partner Appreciation Event where their dancing and energy were the life of the party. On their last Friday in San Diego, fellows had a site visit at Qualcomm where they learned about new technologies and the international development work of Qualcomm. The day ended with a final happy hour at Karl Strauss to commemorate the fellows time in San Diego.
We then made our way to Arlington, Virginia for the YLAI Closing Forum where fellows from the other 19 participating cities. The week was filled with activities, talks, meetings, and celebrations to close out YLAI 2022. Debriefing with our San Diego fellows after their 5 weeks of the fellowship, they shared their successes in networking and finding opportunities for their businesses to grow, the nice time they had living in San Diego but most importantly their biggest take-away is the friendships they made in San Diego and with each other.
Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)
In July we said goodbye to four amazing emerging leaders from Southeast Asia, who were in San Diego for four-week fellowships under the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellows Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by our national partners at American Councils for International Education. In addition to making meaningful professional contributions to the work and missions of their host organizations, these Fellows spent their time volunteering at local non-profits and forging enduring connections and friendships in our communities.
A heartfelt thank you to their wonderful hosts: Kitchens for Good, Exodus Volleyball Club, Access Inc., and the International Rescue Committee Small Business Development Center, all of whom wholeheartedly welcomed the Fellows into their organizations, and made their time in San Diego especially meaningful.
Young Transatlantic Innovative Leaders Initiative (YTILI)
In May and June the San Diego Diplomacy Council was privileged to host six fellows through the YTILI Professional Fellows Program, through the use of entrepreneurship as a tool for economic empowerment. sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented nationally by World Chicago, YTILI promotes mutual understanding, enhances business and leadership skills, and builds lasting partnerships between business leaders from Europe and the United States. Over the course of one month, the YTILI Fellowship Program engages young European entrepreneurs in a series of professional development and leadership activities with their US counterparts. This year, San Diego welcomed six European entrepreneurs through YTILI. The fellows return to Europe with a fresh, accomplished, and innovative perspective of their businesses.
The six fellows were in San Diego for four weeks and enjoyed many social, community, cultural, and professional opportunities, including:
- Volunteering at Feeding San Diego to package meal boxes for underserved families in San Diego
- A discussion on what it means to be a pillar of community development with San Diego Pride
- A pitch competition with a judges panel including Adriana Taboada, Rasty Turek, and Danea Ramos
- Lunch with Alex Montoya
- Workshop at Hera Hub with Rhonda Brown exploring how to position yourself as a Thought Leader, and increase your digital presence
- A tour of UCSD’s Design Lab
- An exploration of how business growth can have positive social impact with David Ferran at Torrey Project
- A San Diego Harbor boat tour
- Watching the San Diego Padres at Petco Park
- Home hospitality dinner with SDDC partners
Thank you to all San Diego host organizations who hosted a YTILI fellow, including South San Diego Small Business Development Center, The Burnham Center for Community Advancement, Mixte Communications, Resource Conservation District, Leah’s Pantry, and Vivacity Advantage.