GPA's Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh attends the USGLC's State Leaders Summit

Stephanie Huang for GPA From June 16 to 17, the US Global Leadership Coalition held its annual State Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. Present at this convention were businesses, NGO’s, universities and governmental entities interested in advocating for a robust US International Affairs Budget.

Of the many NGO’s that were in attendance the Global Philadelphia Association had the privilege of serving as the non-profit that represented Philadelphia as an actively international city. GPA’s Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh met 18 congressman and legislative directors from across Pennsylvania, as well as the leaders of other non-profits such as Red Cross, to discuss the potential Philadelphia holds as an international hub.

The 2-day summit was packed with activities, campaigns and seminars to ensure that all aspects of global development were examined. Upon arrival on June 16th, a plenary discussion entitled How Will America Lead was led by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Kailash Satyarthi. Following his speech were 5 other speakers known for their leadership in global affairs, including Liz Schrayer, President & CEO of USGLC, Dana Hyde, CEO of Millennium Challenge Corporation and Mike Johanns, US Senator.

After the opening plenary, a series of development seminars were scheduled. The topics discussed included Aid and Trade: Competing and Succeeding in Todays Global Market, US Investments in Africa: The Next Great Economic Success Story, Empowering Women and Girls: Educating through innovative partnerships and From Ebola to Syrian Refugees: Leading the Response to Humanitarian Crises. Especially pertinent for Global Philadelphia was the Aid and Trade Seminar led by Chris Bulllinger, Chief Operating Officer of Hectate, Leslie Griffin, Senior VP of UPS, Leocadia Zak, Director of USTDA and Greta Lundedberg, VP of Boeing. Additionally, Zabeth was pleased to meet Peter YEP, VP for Public Policy & Advocacy of the UN Foundation from the Empowering Women and Girls seminar.

Next on the USGLC agenda was the discussion, Combating Global Threats: Keeping America Safe. Among the honorary speakers were General Michael Hagee, Commandant of US Marine Corps ’03-’06, Kathleen Hicks, Director of Policy Planning of the Department of Defense’09-’13, and Ambassador John Negropont, US Deputy Secretary of State ’07-’09. An Insider Briefing followed shortly after, in which the directors of USGLC including Lindsay Lee Plack and Meghan Simonds spoke of preparing for Capitol Hill.

To end the busy day, Zabeth attended the campaign for Foreign Policy Matters, followed shortly after by the closing plenary America Leading the World. The two key speakers of the closing Plenary were Tony Blinken, Deputy of Secretary of State and Will Davis, Executive Director of USGLC.

Equally as dynamic, July 17th was the widely anticipated for Capitol Hill Day. Attendees were divided by their respective states to meet the Senate and House of Representatives to lobby for the 1% international budget. Leading the Pennsylvania delegation was former Lieutenant Governor Mark Schweiker and Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.

With the exit bank three days away from shutdown, all representatives were interested in the PA delegation messaging. The delegation included Lisa Worden, Regional Director of the Department of Community and Economic Development, Stephen Madvick of Holy Family University and Andrew Lubinn, Defense and Foreign Policy Analyst. In the morning the PA delegation met with the Office of Representative Chaka Fattah and in the afternoon they were received by Offices of Senator Toomey and Casey. Zabeth recalls two important comments made by the group as they traversed Capitol Hill:

“In main stream media, we rarely hear success stories of US companies doing business overseas at the local level, and yet, in a place like Philadelphia there are many such companies, many of which are Global Philadelphia members. They include H2L2, a global architect company, National Label Company, doing business in Singapore, and Chemtech International, a global chemical solutions exporter.”

Zabeth also feels strongly about increasing international awareness in schools across the nation:

“We all feel that children need to be educated at the grade school level with regards to why US foreign investment is important to them and to the future of the world they would be operating in”.

This was Zabeth’s second visit to a USGLC Conference. The State Leaders Summit was not only beautiful organized, but it also allowed for tremendous networking opportunities. Zabeth was delighted to meet former Minnesota Representative Mark Richie, currently working on an expo, with whom she had been acquainted with from USA250.