From July 12th-18th, we were lucky enough to welcome a delegation of international leaders from all across the world. The five of them came from Tunisia, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, and Nepal to learn about global economic cooperation including areas like emerging markets, links between financial systems, and the effect of the global economy on local businesses.
They began with a meeting at the North American Development Bank with Dr. Calixto Mateos who described in detail their work on cross-border infrastructure and development. All of the visitors were fascinated by the model the NADBank provided for international cooperation on economic projects. Later that Friday, the visitors were also able to meet with Ruben Linder from the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos (Mexican Entrepreneur Association). The appointment gave the visitors some insight into transnational work patterns and encouraging small business networking.
Over the weekend, the visitors were treated to the delights of Texas Hill Country with stops in Gruene, Fredericksburg, and Bandera. They loved the Grist Mill restaurant and found the time exploring the local countryside absolutely terrific.
It was back to work for them on Monday, though. Our five guests made a stop at the Bexar County Office for Economic Development and spoke to Pooja Tripathi about how the county tries to bring in foreign direct investment and new economic resources to the community. They then learned about business development programs, especially in enhancing import and export arrangements, from the UTSA Institute for Economic Development. Our visitors were all very impressed by the presentation from Assistant Director Doug Smith. Lastly, they concluded the meeting with a stop at Port San Antonio. As a leading platform for industry, technology, and import/export expansion, Port San Antonio was able to explain how their model for redevelopment had turned into a primary economic engine.
By that point, there was only one day left for our visitors. On Tuesday, they were able to meet with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for an engaging discussion that covered much of the city’s economic activities as well as some transnational partnerships the SAHCC has sponsored. The five and their liaison also stopped at R&I Solutions where CEO Alejandra Bueno elaborated on the unique structure of R&I that allowed them to work in the United States and Mexico to support energy-related projects across borders. Before joining the SACIV Summer Membership Mixer that evening, they also stopped at the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. Since merging with the Free Trade Alliance, SAEDF has improved its ability to help local businesses cultivate an international presence while bringing more foreign investment to San Antonio.
Each visitor seemed impressed with the resources San Antonio had to offer, but they were also struck by the hospitality of the SACIV Summer Membership Mixer where SACIV members, professional resources, and IVLP participants from our Youth and Civic Activism delegation were able to mingle. All of the diverse participants lent their backgrounds and unique perspectives to an eminently enjoyable evening.
Throughout their stay in San Antonio, these selected leaders achieved their professional objectives to learn more about global economic cooperation, but they also witnessed first hand San Antonio’s vibrant culture as well as its welcoming population.