2013 Youth Leadership Summit


At the 2013 Sister Cities International Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, over 50 students from around the United States participated in the Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit.  The Summit was designed to engage youth in the Sister Cities International network while exposing them to important international challenges and the ways in which different national experiences drive international cooperation on critical issues. The Summit culminated with a simulation intended to explore possible solutions to the critical environmental issues they had been exploring throughout the weekend. The simulation illustrated both the challenges and importance of international cooperation in tackling some of our most pressing global challenges.

Featured Guests and Speakers

  • Mayor Julián Castro, City of San Antonio
  • His Excellency Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesia’s Ambassador to the United States
  • His Excellency Klaus-Jochen Guhlcke, Consul General of Germany in Houston
  • His Excellency Hideaki Mizukoshi, Minister and Head of Chancery, Embassy of Japan
  • His Excellency Jostein Mykletun, Consul General of Norway to Houston
  • His Excellency Alexander K. Zakharov, Consul General of Russia in Houston
  • Steve Diminuco, Deputy Director, Global Intergovernmental Affairs, US Department of State

Special Sessions

  • “A Conversation on Youth Activism and Engagement” with Ambassador Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, of Indonesia
  • “Entering the Shift Age” with David Houle, America’s Leading Futurist and Author
  • “Sports Diplomacy” with 2-time Paralympic Gold Medalist, Ross Davis and former US Foreign Service officers
  • “100,000 Strong Foundation” with Director Carola McGiffert
  • Tour of  the University of Texas at San Antonio, with international students, study abroad advisors and international programs faculty

Model United Nations Simulation

Students participated in an environmentally-focused Model United Nations simulation in which students debated different proposals and formed resolutions that required passage by each committee. The final session provided an opportunity for each country to present their resolutions to the crisis and defend their positions. The simulation allowed for negotiations, critiques, and compromises so that a mutually agreed upon decision could be produced. After the final session, prizes were awarded to best delegations and best overall delegate.

Country Groups

China - Germany - Japan - Kenya - Mexico - Norway - Russia - USA


  • Food Security – How can we avoid conflict and encourage cooperation to ultimately secure a sustainable water future?
  • Disaster management – Following a tsunami in Southeast Asia, delegates needed to evaluate current health related responses to natural disasters. What are some long-term projects to re-build and/or stabilize health facilities?
  • Climate change – What are some ways to foster cooperation between developing and developed countries and fix new emission goals?
  • Deforestation – How can the General Assembly encourage UN member states to stop and reverse deforestation instead of moving it from one country to another?

Youth Leadership Summit in the News!

San Antonio Express News, July 13, 2013: “Young people grapple with global issues”

Click here to download the 2013 Leadership Summit Flyer.

Youth Leadership Summit Participants with Mayor Julian Castro

Youth Leadership Summit Participants with Mayor Julian Castro

Participants in a session

Participants in a session

Participants with the Consul General of Norway

Participants with the Consul General of Norway

JohnMichael Gonzales         ‏@GuitarOGonzales (San Antonio, Texas): #SCISanAn was pretty beast today, met a lot of important and amazing people. Can't wait for tomorrow. :)

Jen Jones @jen_jones13 (Tempe, Arizona): The goodbyes :( it was such a great trip with an amazing group of people #SCISanAn #Texas

Belen Hernandez Garcia (San Diego, CA):  “It [simulation] forces you to think differently about the world”

Ron Norman (father of participant) (Scottsdale, AZ): “She [Ashley] really had a great time and is already trying to talk me in to letting her participate next year!”

Caleb Allen (Starr, SC): “I enjoyed everything about the conference. Meeting new people and being able to meet the mayor was an experience of a lifetime.”

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This year marks a pivotal moment during which Sister Cities International is celebrating 60 years of peace through people. Get involved in this momentous year.
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As the world becomes smaller, and connections online become more frequent than face-to-face interactions, multicultural understanding at the community level is more important than ever. Sister Cities International enables citizen diplomats in communities across the world to develop relationships with communities in other countries that are based on cultural understanding and mutual cooperation.Donate