April 25, 2008

International Officials Visit the Legislature

A delegation of governmental and business leaders from Colombia was welcomed to the state capitol and the House of Representatives on April 17 by Representative Steve Pugh from Ponchatoula, District 73. Their day in Baton Rouge capped a week-long economic development program organized by the Latin American Business Development Initiative at the College of Business, Southeastern Louisiana University. The program's agenda stated that "the Colombia Government Officials delegation to Louisiana is designed to facilitate and improve business, political and social development opportunities between Colombia and the State of Louisiana under the vision of the Free Trade Agreement. The program offers participants a comprehensive schedule that includes opportunities to meet and interact with Louisiana business leaders and government officials from different sectors." These 34 individuals from Colombia – representing business, state government, and local government – met with the mayor's office in New Orleans; the mayors of Hammond, Mandeville, Ponchatoula, and Baton Rouge; the state Department of Economic Development; and specialists in the fields of economic development, organizational management of municipalities, international cooperation, e-learning and technology, immigration law, and export/import policy. They also visited the Port of New Orleans, TEMPICO, Ferrara Fire Apparatus, and the Mall of Louisiana. Following a presentation on how the Legislature works, Representative Pugh gave the officials mementoes of their visit to Louisiana at a special luncheon in Baton Rouge. The delegation returned to the capitol to be presented to the House of Representatives. Gloria Lilian Uribe RĂ­os, Presidenta Concejo Municipal, thanked the House for Louisiana's hospitality.

Participating agencies in the program include the College of Business at Southeastern Louisiana University, the World Trade Center of New Orleans, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, the Inter-American Development Bank, Microsoft, and several businesses and business leaders.

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