12:45pm | The International Visitor’s Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA) has announced the launch of “Grassroots Democracy and Citizen Participation in the Political Process: A Regional Project for the Western Hemisphere,” which is a project of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.
The U.S. Embassies throughout Latin America selected eighteen politicians, journalists, academics, and community organizers from eleven different countries to participate in this three-week professional exchange program to examine grassroots democracy in the United States. Participants include a Congresswoman from Mexico, a Vice Minister from the Dominican Republic, a Parliamentary Advisor from Costa Rica, a Judge from Panama, and the Mayor of Yamaranguila, Honduras. They will arrive in Los Angeles on January 30th, where they will meet with community leaders to learn about civic participation, grassroots democracy, and the diversity of political viewpoints in the U.S.
On Thursday, February 9th the Long Beach Community Foundation will host a panel with the international delegation to discuss the Connected Corridor Project—a grassroots community program that has increased connectivity amongst its diverse population, lowered crime rates, and improved education. During their visit, the delegation will also meet with various community organizations, student groups at UCLA, and local elected officials. They will participate in dialogue on a variety of issues such as anti-obesity campaigns, social media as a tool for civic engagement, and sustainable community development.
This opportunity for intercultural exchange will provide a fundamental understanding of grassroots democracy in the United States for these leaders to return to their home countries and share this information with their fellow countrymen.