I have been selected by the U.S. Department of State traveling to India for 14 days, as part of the Legislative Fellows exchange program. The Legislative Fellows program is a two-way exchange, sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of Citizen Exchanges, and managed by World Learning, meant to connect public policy professionals, in this case, from South Central Asia, with American counterparts. It is part of the public diplomacy effort of the U.S. Government and also serves the purpose of increasing the level of cooperation between our countries in a variety of fields.
During 2014, over 40 participants from the South Central Asia region came to the United States. Smart Chicago hosted one, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu from Hyderabad, India. The opportunity came to us through World Chicago, via their participation in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Professional Fellows Program.
During Rakesh’s three week in-home stay, he learned about some of Chicago’s civic technology work, of which Smart Chicago is at the center of, and met with other important members of the ecosystem. Rakesh and I worked on an action plan with the objective to influence open data policy and practice in India and make data available to the public. From that work, Factly, was released on Facebook as a first step to make the citizens of India more data literate.
I am one of seven Fellows from across the United States (California, Georgia, Ohio and Louisiana). We will spend our time in India visiting Delhi, Dehradun and Bangalore-Silicon Valley of India interacting with dignitaries, economic development and social enterprise stakeholders, as well as Fellowship Alumni. I specifically will be presenting 1-30-15 on the topic, “Framework for social enterprise and using business skills for public causes”. Smart Chicago through our guiding principles (Technology, Open, Everyone, and Chicago) as well as our three focus areas (Access, Skills and Data) have much to lend to this discussion.
Follow-up regarding my experience and learning opportunities are forth coming…