image description

Ambassador Visits Massachusetts and Rhode Island to Expand Colombia-New England Business Ties


Go Back
September 11, 2014

Ambassador Visits Massachusetts and Rhode Island to Expand Colombia-New England Business Ties

Announces Boston and Medellín to Become Sister Cities

Boston, MA – This week Colombian Ambassador to the United States Luis Carlos Villegas visited cities and towns throughout New England to promote the expansion of business, investment and cultural ties between Colombia and the region. In addition, during his visit, the Boston City Council and its counterpart organization, the Council of Medellín, announced their intent to make Boston and Medellín sister cities.

In its announcement, the Council of Medellín stated: “The Council of Medellín manifests the interest of establishing the city of Boston of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States of America, as a sister city of Medellín in the Department of Antioquia, Republic of Colombia. [A partnership] that may lead to permanent goals for collaboration in the financial, cultural, social, university, science, technical and business field, as well as a common international solidarity.” In its resolution, the Boston City Council echoed this message and also noted, “The City of Medellín, Antioquia, Republic of Colombia, is a city of 2.5 million people, which has many similarities and shares a common bond with the city of Boston.”

“Our two cities are leaders in the area of innovation and technology, and we are excited to launch this newest phase of our partnership. Strengthening the ties that bind Medellín and Boston, and more broadly Colombia and New England, is critical to our shared goals to increase economic growth and create jobs,” said Ambassador Villegas. “Colombia has experienced record levels of investment and growth, and key to our success has been the expansion of not only our commercial ties throughout the world and across the United States, but also building common ground on issues like innovation and technology, education and culture.”

In meetings with government officials and business leaders in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Ambassador discussed the many opportunities that exist in Colombia for local companies and industries, with a particular focus on the transportation, technology, innovation and banking sectors. The Ambassador’s visit, which began on Monday and concluded yesterday afternoon, is part of his months-long effort to visit all 12 U.S. cities where Colombia has consulates. The visits have two primary objectives – to maximize outreach to Colombians in the United States, as well as to raise awareness about the realities of today’s Colombia, including the country’s vibrant environment for doing business.

Here are the highlights of his visit:

 Monday, September 8: The Ambassador spoke with students and academic leaders at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and then met with members of the Colombian community living in Central Falls and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. While in Central Falls, Ambassador Villegas met with Mayor James Diossa and discussed issues of importance to the local Colombian community, as well as strategies to expand commercial ties. Following his visit to Rhode Island, the Ambassador participated in a meeting with the New England Association for Colombian Children, a non-profit organization that supports social initiatives for local Colombian youth.

 Tuesday, September 9: As a follow-up to the February 2013 Massachusetts–Colombia Innovation Partnership Mission, Ambassador Villegas met with Governor Deval Patrick, who led the delegation of the commonwealth’s leading business, academic and government officials. The trade mission has already helped to increase opportunities for entrepreneurship. For example, Innpulsa Colombia and MassChallenge join forces to run intensive boot camps for Colombian entrepreneurs annually, and last year five Colombian startups were accepted into the MassChallenge accelerator. With a focus on innovation, the Ambassador also spoke with the Governor about Colombia’s Vive Digital (Live Digital) II Plan – a $10 billion nationwide effort to propel Colombia forward in becoming a world leader in the development of applications to reduce poverty and increase transparency and efficiency in government. The Ambassador also met with leaders of MassTech and the Clean Energy Center and Life Sciences Center, as well as with the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and MassPort.

 Wednesday, September 10: The Ambassador’s visit concluded with a series of meetings, including with John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the city of Boston, and startups at MassChallenge. He also spoke before a group of business leaders during an investment lunch organized by Proexport, Colombia’s export, tourism and foreign investment agency.

###

Get to know Colombia.

Learn more at www.colombiaemb.org.