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Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita has been selected by the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) to serve as a delegate to Vietnam for a two-week program this month. Rokita will join eight other young political leaders from across the United States to study the Vietnamese political system, engage in dialogue on bilateral issues and forge professional relationships.
"ACYPL targets young political leaders likely to assume future leadership positions in their national governments," said Brad Minnick, ACYPL Executive Director. "Our international exchanges build bridges between emerging leaders in the U.S. and other countries."
Today, Secretary Rokita and other delegates are in Washington, D.C. attending briefings by the U.S. Department of State and the Embassy of Vietnam before flying to Hanoi on Friday. The delegation will be hosted in Vietnam by the Vietnam-USA Society (VUS). The program will provide the delegates opportunities to travel within the country and interact with rising local, municipal, and national leaders, business communities, and civic groups.
Meetings are currently scheduled between Rokita and the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, the Vice Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Trade. Rokita will also meet with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam as he moves through Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
"I am honored to represent Indiana and our Hoosier values as we work to achieve mutual understanding with leaders in Vietnam," said Rokita. "This will be a chance to better understand the current political and social dynamics there and help people there better understand the United States. I intend to use my presence there as well as the contacts and the experience gained to help advance Indiana."
Secretary Rokita's participation in the ACYPL program is another effort to gain perspective on the rapid globalization that affects Indiana. "We need to understand that competition in today's economy is not between Fort Wayne and Lafayette," said Rokita. "Today our economic relationships are between our cities and places like Juarez, Mexico; Shanghai, China; and Hanoi, Vietnam." This is Secretary Rokita's second trip to Asia; he was previously part of a delegation of American Secretaries of State observing elections and economic development efforts in Taiwan. Both the ACYPL program and the Taiwan trip have been organized without the use of state funds.
Since 1966, ACYPL has conducted bilateral exchanges to promote awareness and understanding of the common problems, opportunities, and challenges facing the international community. Over ninety nations in Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific Rim have participated in exchange programs with ACYPL. ACYPL receives partial funding from the U.S. Department of State and has been endorsed as an important source of education on key foreign policy issues for rising American and foreign political leaders.
ACYPL delegates are chosen from a competitive, bipartisan field of candidates between the ages of 25 and 40 who have exhibited strong leadership during their careers in public or private service. Former ACYPL participants include current members of the U.S. Congress, state governors, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, and foreign prime ministers.