On August 3, professionals, academics, and thought leaders came together to examine and better understand the unique and burgeoning economic, cultural, and global position of the historic trading route El Camino Real. The day was filled with presentations, panels, and, most importantly, the exchange of ideas among the community.
The event was a part of the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summits that, in partnership with the Department of State and Global Ties US, have traversed the country. These Regional Summits have become a pillar of citizen diplomacy and have fostered the connections of the international exchange community throughout the Nation.
In Albuquerque, attendees had a full day, rich in New Mexican culture, as anyone would expect. In the morning, dancers from Acoma Pueblo gave a welcoming performance and started the summit in true New Mexico spirit. Speakers touched on the complexities and importance of the Camino Real region, the so-called enchantment economy, the importance of building bi-national relationships, and the power of international exchanges. In the afternoon, expert panelists delved into the creative economy, social entrepreneurship, indigenous entrepreneurship, and the pathways into international entrepreneurship. The evening was spent networking, watching beautiful flamenco performances, and reflecting on the day’s insights.
Gerladine Mlynarz, CEO of ActivaQ and ICTIO Biotechnologies S.A and a star alum of the International Visitor Leadership Program, spoke of the importance of women in entrepreneurship, saying “investing in small and medium-sized enterprises is the best way to grow a country’s productivity.”
Morning keynote speaker, Patrick Schaefer of the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, encapsulated the vision of the Summit in his presentation. “Diplomacy begins with the individual. Diplomacy begins with the idea. And, as such, the Camino Real as a whole stands to play a leading role in global affairs,” he said.
Our local sponsors, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Roadrunner Shuttle, Arrowhead Center Inc., Peacock Myers P.C., and BBVA Compass Bank made it possible to run a student track for high school and university students. In the morning, students participated in a simulation on entrepreneurship for newcomers to the U.S. The simulation featured three Refugee Entrepreneurs who spoke to students about their challenges with starting a business in such a new world. The afternoon session featured panelists who had real life experiences with working, studying, and volunteering in Latin America.
Of course, the event could not have been a success without the strong network of attendees who dedicated their day to advance international diplomacy. It is through the dedication of the community that we are able to advance our vision and promote a more peaceful and prosperous world through international and cultural exchanges. We felt that we truly celebrated that vision at our Diplomacy Begins Here Summit.