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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on Advancing Global Collaboration at the Local Level

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
November 16, 2012


Photo showing Special Representative Lewis (S/R Lewis) collaborating and participating in the U.S. China Governor's Forum in Beijing, October 11, 2011.

Special Representative Lewis (S/R Lewis) collaborates and participates in the U.S. China Governor's Forum in Beijing, October 11, 2011. Department of State/NGA

Pioneering Subnational Opportunities

As the United States builds 21st Century partnerships, countries the world over are recognizing that subnational engagement -- building ties between states and territories, cities and counties, and tribal communities -- broadens and deepens their bilateral relationships. The U.S. Department of State's (Department) Office of the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs (S/SRGIA) is engaging the world's current and next generation of leaders at the subnational level. To expand and strengthen these efforts, S/SRGIA, in conjunction with our embassies and bureau/office teams, has led the negotiations and engagement to finalize the following collaboration frameworks:

  • U.S.-Brazil MOU to Support State and Local Cooperation (April 2012)
  • U.S.-India "Conversation among Cities" announced at the Strategic Dialogue (June 2012)
  • U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Interregional Cooperation (September 2012)

In addition, the U.S.-China MOU to Promote Subnational Cooperation (January 2011) was reaffirmed at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, China in May 2012.

Results for the American People

The establishment of these cooperative frameworks for subnational engagement provides opportunities for state and local leaders to increase exports, foreign direct investment, tourism and other economic activity to support job creation and global competitiveness. Additionally, these cooperative frameworks allow subnational leaders to form innovative partnerships for education and sustainability. Advancing global collaboration at the local level, the Department is a catalyst for positive economic impact in communities across the nation.

Partnerships Promote Global Opportunities for Job Creation

Local economies are the building blocks of our nation's economy. The Department's engagement with elected officials at the state and local levels, and public and private stakeholders, supports the formation of critical partnerships that promote economic development and job creation. The Department has been a value-added partner to U.S. governors in the design and execution of their international trade and investment missions that expand export and investment opportunities and educational ties.

For example, SRGIA's advance visits to over six Indian cities meeting with mayors and Chief Ministers laid the groundwork for subnational cooperation in India, contributing to the success of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's historic India trade mission, with over 100 delegates in November 2011. S/SRGIA, in collaboration with the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, led an interagency team that provided pre-travel briefings for the delegation, facilitated discussions with U.S. Charge d'Affaires Peter Burleigh and key members of the Mission India team, and convened meetings in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad with key Indian stakeholders, including Chief Ministers and private sector leaders. After Maryland's successful mission, the Governor announced over $60 million in business deals for Maryland companies, which are expected to generate hundreds of jobs for the state's citizens.

Subnational Engagement: Permanent Foreign Policy Tool

U.S. state and local leaders are trusted partners in the Department's 21st Century diplomacy as we strive to make America more competitive in the global marketplace. Today's subnational leaders are the global leaders of tomorrow. S/SRGIA will continue to leverage its resources and relationships to support economic development at home and abroad and to build stable, secure and prosperous societies.


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