City councillor Leland Cheung has been selected as a 2012 recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship and will travel to Basel, Switzerland, next summer to study innovation, technology and economic development strategies. (Photo: Liv Rachelle Gold)

City councillor Leland Cheung has been selected as a 2012 recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship and will travel to Basel, Switzerland, next summer to study innovation, technology and economic development strategies to keep Cambridge in step with emerging global competitors, said Megan Montgomery, Cheung’s legislative aide.

Cheung, who is among seven fellows selected nationwide, will take part in an individualized program that will hone fellows’ leadership skills, build lasting partnerships and promote international understanding. After an intensive application and interview process, Cheung was selected based on his demonstrated leadership, vision and work on issues that are critical to Cambridge’s urban challenges and growth, Montgomery said.

The purpose of the fellowship is for recipients to study best practices abroad and bring what they learn back to America to improve their home communities. Cheung chose Basel in part because of their renowned success in promoting economic development while valuing and supporting existing community and culture, and in part because of Cambridge’s ties to Switzerland. (The Swiss consulate in New England is at 420 Broadway, across from the Cambridge Main Library. Many of Cambridge’s largest biotech employers also have offices in Basel.)

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship and have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with international leaders,” Cheung said. “Cambridge is an unparalleled global heavyweight in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, academia and technology and it is an exciting time to connect with an intellectually rich, globally diverse group of emerging leaders to continue to compete on an international level here at home.”

Cheung will meet with top international leaders in technology, innovation and economic development, government officials and policy experts, and visit with local citizens to enrich his perspectives on how Cambridge can continue to thrive in a globally competitive world. Details will follow as Cheung’s travel itinerary becomes finalized.

Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes international understanding and leadership through the exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives of emerging leaders throughout the world.