Pitkin County is hosting two emerging leaders from the country of East Timor in Southeast Asia for three weeks in May. Director of the Timor-Leste Action for Change Foundation, Jose de Jesus and sub-district Administrator of the Ministry for State Administration, Luis Lopes are participating in the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program. This is the same program that hosted Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock in an exchange to Thailand last year.
Pitkin County’s participation in the program has been arranged by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the organization that develops and advances professional local government management worldwide.
“We are honored to host the government officials from East Timor,” said Pitkin County Manager, Jon Peacock. “They are very interested in how we govern, how we engage the public in what we do, and in the variety of programs we facilitate. They are particularly interested in economic empowerment, legislative process, governance and rule of law,” Peacock said.
During their three week placement with Pitkin County, Jesus and Lopes will gain first-hand experience working alongside their Pitkin County counterparts. They will spend time touring county facilities and being immersed into the Pitkin County Social Services, Health and Human Services and Community Development operations. Their experience will also take them to the Eagle County Government operation in El Jebel. While in Aspen they will tour the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, participate in a “Community Listens” intensive, meet with Aspen Skiing Company officials, tour the Aspen Elementary School and meet with local school children there.
“I believe there is great value to exchange programs like this one,” Peacock said. “They help to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. These young leaders get a chance to discuss best practices, meet with other young leaders in their profession, and hopefully develop projects that they will implement upon their return home.”
At the conclusion of their fellowships, all participants will travel to Washington D.C., where they will take part in the Professional Fellows Congress, June 4 – 6, the culmination of the exchange program in the United States.
The public is invited to a reception to welcome the fellows at the Limelight Lodge on Monday, May 12th from 3 to 5 pm.