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This US State Department-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is for ten community advocates from Poland and their U.S. State Dept. interpreters, who visited Detroit to examine Civic Engagement in Small and Medium-Sized Cities.
The delegation's program in Detroit, MI will provide security leaders an opportunity to learn from and network with organizations/institutions/individuals working in the USA on development of communities.
The delegation started the week off meeting with Mayor Karen Majewski of Hamtramck to talk about innovative ways to immerse several different cultures in one small community. They spoke about language and religion differences that create coercion within political views in the City of Hamtramck-- which currently holds only 25,000 citizens. Mayor Majewski discussed optimal options to try and create and stronger unity within the population in order to continue revitalizing the city.
Next, the delegation met with Dr. George Swan III, Ms. Allandra Bulger, and Mr. Edward Lynch of Detroit Future City (DFC).
Dr. George Swan III and current staff members discussed the Detroit Future City project, also known as Detroit 2.0, which was launched in 2013 with support from private-sector funders and assistance from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Ms. Amy Kaherl, the Executive Director of Detroit SOUP met with the delegation and discussed their mission to promote community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy trust and fun!
Phew, what a Monday this delegation had! The fun isn't even close to being over- Tuesday was also a full day!
They started off the day meeting with Jerry Paffendorf, CEO and Founder of Loveland Technologies. The delegation was shocked to learn about the housing situation in Detroit- how the people of the city struggle to stay in their homes due to the financial crisis Wayne County is struggling to fix. They focused on discussing interactive city mapping and crowd sourcing and how it would be beneficial for small communities all over the United States and Poland-- not only in Detroit. Jerry spoke about the success Detroit has had with the Urban Innovation Exchange and how they work with governments, developers, neighborhood groups, and passionate individuals to support small-scale projects.
Thank you Jerry for inviting us and giving us your time!
After lunch, the delegation met with Mr. Sean Everett, the operations Coordinator and representatives from the HYPE Teen Center and Technology, Literacy, and Career Center. The delegation was given a tour of the Detroit Public Library which showed how it enhances the quality of life for the diverse and dynamic community in the City of Detroit. The library enlightens and empowers its citizens to meet their lifelong learning needs through open and equitable access to information, technology, and cultural/educational programs.
Last but not least, the pol's were able to get some fresh air and were given a tour of RecoveryPark and met with Mr. Gary Wozniak, President & Chief Executive Officer, of whom is very active with us here at Global Ties Detroit (Thank you Gary!) and Ms. Anna R. Kohn. RecoveryPark was established in 2010 with a mission to create jobs for people facing barriers to employment by leveraging the city's underutilized assets: a large available workforce, abundant open space, access to fresh water, extensive infrastructure and a wide array of manufacturing and technology companies. Their first food businesses was incorporated in 2012 and has since run successful pilot farms, selling fresh produce to many of Detroit's restaurants.
We had a lovely time getting to know this Polish delegation- they were truly a wonderful group of people full of energy and wanting to get the most out of every moment spent in Detroit. Thank you!
A lot of people spend half their lives to get the opportunity to meet the people that we met in just 10 days [in Detroit]. This concentration of knowledge and resources brought me one step closer to being global.
The opportunity to welcome and work with international delegations visiting Detroit provides a very rich experience. To be engaged in this work is significant and very rewarding. The world is becoming smaller every day and Global Ties Detroit contributes greatly in building strong bridges with people and nations across the globe.