The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) has invited City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian to participate in an international exchange program to South Africa and Namibia this September. He will be part of a seven-member, bipartisan delegation to South Africa and Namibia, serving as a young political leader representing the United States. Participants in the program must be nominated by a member of U.S. Congress or an alumnus of the program. Delegates have the unique opportunity to meet with elected officials at the national, regional and local levels, as well as policy makers, business and community leaders in the host countries.
“I have always had a strong interest and admiration for the election processes in South Africa, particularly in the post-Apartheid era,” said Kassakhian, who has a framed ballot from that historic election when Nelson Mandela ran for President hanging in his office at City Hall. “I am equally interested in the elections processes in a relatively young nation like Namibia which has only been a state since 1990,” he added.
Based in Washington, D.C., ACYPL is a nonpartisan NGO that is internationally recognized as the pre-eminent catalyst for introducing rising political and policy professionals to international affairs. Their mission is to promote mutual understanding, respect and friendship and cultivate long lasting relationships among next generation leaders. This upcoming exchange aims to educate the selected participants about American national and local governance and politics as well as explore the global issues affecting US-South African and Namibia bilateral relations. The Obama Administration has set forth four objectives for U.S. engagement in the region: (1) strengthen democratic institutions; (2) spur economic growth, trade, and investment; (3) advance peace and security; and (4) promote opportunity and development.
ACYPL conducts 25-30 programs annually around the world. Each ACYPL exchange includes a select group of 7-12 leaders between the ages 25-40, and is designed to reflect the broad diversity of the United States. The ACYPL’s visit comes on the heels of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic visit to the African continent and during a time of great economic promise for sub-Saharan Africa.
“The City of Glendale is proud to have City Clerk Kassakhian serving as a member of this delegation,” stated Mayor Frank Quintero. “His selection and participation brings positive awareness and attention to our city. The insight he will bring back to our community will strengthen our global understanding and mutual relations with our international partners.”