Connecting San Antonio to the World

SACIV Newsletter | July 2023

Dear Members and Friends of SACIV,

Welcome to the monthly newsletter of the San Antonio Council for International Visitors (SACIV), your local organization that keeps our city connected to the world.

Once a month, you can expect a gift of exciting stories about international visitors to our city, information on community events, upcoming membership opportunities, and a rich gallery of photos sharing our community engagement. 

To make our newsletter easy to read and follow, this month we've broken it down into 5 sections:

1. International Visitors: Meet the Global Leaders

2. Membership Opportunities: Join the SACIV Community

3. Community Events: Bringing the World to San Antonio

4. Our Global Network: Announcements from our Partners

5. Stay Connected: Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook!

In this month's newsletter, we revisit events at which our community has gathered in recent months and share about the inspiring international leaders we had the privilege to host in June.

International Visitors: Meet the Global Leaders

Building Strong Communities: 

Welcoming Inspiring Leaders from Across Africa

June was a month of cultural festivity as we welcomed inspiring community leaders from Benin, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Niger, and Togo who participated in the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on "Countering Violent Extremism - Community Strategies".

Armed with curiosity and a drive to create change, these ten emerging leaders from across Africa visited San Antonio to meet with their professional counterparts and dove headfirst into the rich tapestry of our community, exploring the vibrant blend of local educational programs, community initiatives, and faith-based projects. This delegation shared ideas, delved into the heart of social challenges, and discovered unique strategies to uplift at-risk youth and build stronger, resilient communities.

Transparency and Accountability in Government:

Welcoming a Delegation from Latin America

From June 19 to June 24, we were honored to host an esteemed delegation from Latin America, comprising representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Paraguay. These ten emerging leaders enthusiastically took part in a program exploring “Transparency and Accountability in Government" sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The visit aimed at understanding the underlying principles of ethical systems for accountability in government and business in the United States. Our guests had the unique opportunity to visit the Bexar County Elections Department, gaining insight into local election regulations and ethical standards in campaign financing and fundraising from the dedicated team led by Jacque Callanen. They even had the chance to use real voting machines!

The delegation also met with representatives of the Alamo Area Council of Governments to discuss their mission and the importance of transparency in local government. In addition, they had enlightening conversations on outreach and engagement in a digital age with community leaders in the nonprofit and media sectors, including with the San Antonio Report. A highlight of their visit was their attendance at the inauguration ceremony of the Mayor and the City Council at Municipal Plaza on June 21st.

Membership Opportunities: Join the SACIV Community

Home Hospitality

Picture this: You're at your company's Christmas holiday party and your boss stands and asks each team member to share their favorite moment of the year. 

Now, while everyone else shares a story from a favorite trip or a day at Fiesta, or maybe the Spurs getting the #1 pick in the NBA draft. The room is getting a little stale because, well, we've heard these stories before. Now you, with a big smile, jump in to liven up the room with a story about how you and your family not only hosted three visitors from different African countries but their visit was made even more special because you could speak to them in their language!

Pictured Above (Clockwise from Left to Right):

Doug Smith (SACIV Board Member),

Phillipe Chmy (Interpreter), Ayouba Orou Gounou (Benin), Rebecca Smith (SACIV Member), N'Famara Dan Soko (Guinea),

Abdoul Amadou (Niger)

This is a story that one of our Board Members, Doug Smith, will be able to share at the next holiday party. Through SACIV's Home Hospitality program, volunteers - or Citizen Diplomats - can host international visitors in their homes. Citizen Diplomats have the opportunity to build bonds and friendships with visitors while contributing to a positive San Antonio experience for them and playing a significant role in building positive diplomatic relations.

Here's what SACIV board member Doug Smith had to say about his experience:

"My wife, Rebecca, and I hosted three of the visiting delegation from Benin, Niger, and Guinea. They were really an amazing group of people and I hope to stay in touch with them. Abdoul made some wonderful tea for everyone. Two of the group spoke Hausa, and I once knew a little of the language. All I can remember now is a basic greeting, but I think that was a bit surprising to them."

Are you interested in building international friendships and connecting with global leaders?

SACIV offers a variety of membership options that provide unique opportunities to meet international visitors and participate in cultural events.

Learn more about membership opportunities here.

Community Events: Bringing the World to San Antonio

Join SACIV for cultural gatherings and social mixers that connect people from around the world. Meet new professionals, make global connections, and broaden your cultural horizons. Volunteer to escort international visitors or attend our speaker events to hear from experts.

As a SACIV member, become a U.S. State Department Citizen Diplomat representing your country and San Antonio, promoting cultural understanding and international friendships.

Learn more about events and how to get involved here!

 Our Global Network: Announcements from our Partners

Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) is looking for host families who can provide homestays for Japanese exchange students this weekend!

Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) will be hosting a group of students from Mishima Senior High School in Mishima, Japan for a 2-week English language and cultural exchange program. As part of this program, students participate in a homestay from July 28th-30th with a Austin or San Antonio area family to reinforce their English lessons and immerse in American and Texan culture. 

If you are interested in hosting, please complete this interest form.

This fall, the City of San Antonio’s Global Engagement Office will partner with Students of Service (SOS) to host the International Youth Orchestra of Darmstadt (IYOD) program with students from our Sister City in Darmstadt. This group will tour our city and participate in a joint orchestra concert with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) from September 11-16.

Students will stay with host families and SOS is seeking volunteers to provide homestays for the students during their five-night stay. Host families will need to provide a bed, breakfast, and morning & evening transportation.

Additional information and the host family application can be found on the SOS website here.

Stay Connected: Follow our Socials!

Stay up-to-date with our latest news and events by following us on 

InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook! We share photos and stories from our events, as well as updates on our international visitors and community initiatives.

Instagram      Twitter      LinkedIn      Facebook

Thank you for your support of SACIV!

We look forward to continue building aim to build international friendships, facilitate exchange of ideas, foster cultural understanding, and promote San Antonio as an international city.