I just returned from an incredible two-day event in New Orleans, the first-ever World Cultural Economic Forum, hosted by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu.
The forum featured 83 different international ambassadors and diplomats, all of whom convened with Louisiana officials to discuss the economics of culture and the ways in which Louisiana can create international alliances to spur growth and development.
Kudos to Mitch Landrieu, and thank you for the opportunity.
Yesterday, Daniel and I, along with Mayor Roy, had the unique privilege of engaging in direct bilateral talks with the Deputy Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China (thankfully, Daniel speaks fluent Mandarin) and, most incredibly, the Ambassador of Iraq, who shared some astounding knowledge with us. To be sure, Daniel and I listened; the Mayor actually engaged.
Iraq, said the Ambassador, needs printing presses. They need to rebuild their libraries. He mentioned that, until very recently, not a single book had been imported into Iraq in decades. And importantly, he noted that Americans need to begin translating Iraqi (Arabic) books into English. We need to learn everything we can about their culture, if we are to understand the dynamics of the situation on the ground. An obvious truth that must be taken seriously.
This afternoon, while the Mayor had lunch with a contingency from Mexico and Haiti, Daniel and I had the chance to speak with a Deputy Consulate of France, the Ambassador to Grenadines and St. Vincent, and a dignitary from Brazil. We discussed everything from the production of biofuels and the Port of Alexandria to the economics of Mardi Gras and Carnival.
Notably, this wasn’t some type of exclusive event (tickets were $100 and open to the public), though because Mayor Roy was a co-chair and assisted in planning, we probably were afforded a closer look.
Again, a great opportunity and a fantastic start to what should become an annual event.