City Spotlight Series
The Foreign Press Centers’ City Spotlight Series is an ongoing program of on-the-record press briefings for credentialed journalists featuring U.S. city, municipality, county, and state leaders. Each briefing serves to deepen understanding by the foreign press of domestic policy, U.S. society, culture, and values. Localities are selected that have a particular local issue with global interest.
The Foreign Press Centers have long recognized the importance of bringing foreign media to U.S. cities and states via in-person press tours and virtual briefings. Our most recent briefings include:
The City of Seattle, Washington is the site of the third Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ and Ministerial Meetings, including the Women and the Economy Forum, during the U.S. APEC host year in 2023. Washington State and Seattle have long been at the center of U.S. engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and play an important role in U.S. trade and other engagement with the region. In 1993, the United States hosted the first APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Blake Island in Puget Sound. On Thursday, July 19, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell spoke about the important ties between the two locations as Washington State is one of the largest exporting states to the Asia-Pacific region, managing nearly $110 billion worth of imports and exports between the U.S. and other APEC member economies.
Detroit Mayor Michael E. Duggan briefed press on May 12 on his city’s role as host to the May 14-26, 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. He explained why Detroit is a natural host for these meetings as a city that has a tremendous story to share related to its economic revitalization, transformation, and resilience. The city showcases the United States’ substantial cross-border trade with Canada, worker-centric trade policies, and advanced manufacturing base, making it a perfect venue to highlight economic inclusion and innovative growth.
On May 11, the NY Foreign Press Center organized a virtual press conference with Josh Teigen, Commerce Commissioner for the State of North Dakota. Commissioner Teigen spoke about his state’s role as the “Silicon Valley of Drone Innovation.” North Dakota is home to one of seven conducting vital research for integrating uncrewed aircraft into the national airspace and has invested $77 million in capital and infrastructure, with $39 million in new funding for cutting-edge technology for uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS). The commissioner explained why the industry is so strong and how the state’s innovation in autonomous systems dovetails with its ambitious talent attraction and workforce initiatives. The state’s economy is rated in the top-5 for growth in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
On November 1, 2022, Kenny McDonald, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership and David Roberts, Chief Innovation Officer of Indiana Economic Development Corporation updated U.S.-based foreign media on regional developments to build the economy of the future, including the microelectronics and the semiconductor talent pipeline. The region, also known as “Silicon Prairie,” is on the forefront of this growing strategic industry for the United States – from collaborating with the education sector to strengthening the semiconductor supply chain following the signing of the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act. President Biden attended Intel’s groundbreaking in September 2022 of a new $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing facility in Central Ohio. Journalists reporting for audiences based in Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Switzerland, and Taiwan as well as globally through Al Jazeera English, participated in the virtual press briefing.
Tim Kelly, Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, joined the FPC for a conversation on his city generally and specifically its digital infrastructure and commitment to sustainability. Chattanooga is home to fast, cheap, and widespread internet service and reportedly America’s first citywide gigabit network. The high-speed broadband network built by Chattanooga’s electric utility has generated nearly $2.7 billion in economic benefits since it was built more than a decade ago, according to an economic analysis. It helped generate an estimated 9,516 jobs, helped attract $110 million in research projects and has lured an extra $244 million in business ventures to Chattanooga using the fiber-optic network.
Tim Cowden, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council and Justin Meyer, Deputy Director of Aviation of the Kansas City Aviation Department, briefed FPC members on Kansas City, Missouri and the greater Kansas City region in the heart of America’s Midwest. Briefers provided an overview of Kansas City, Missouri and the region and brief press on economic development and some major infrastructure projects underway, to include a new $1.5B airport slated to open in March 2023, a $350M extension of its downtown streetcar system, and the KC Current’s $70M soccer stadium – the first built for a women’s team (and led by a female construction team).
The NYFPC hosted Houston International and Trade Director Christopher Olson and Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. Olson spoke about the Mayor’s leadership of the Climate Mayors and Houston’s Climate Action Plan to make the city carbon neutral by 2050.
The Port of Long Beach, California is the second-busiest port in North America, with 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports and handling $200 billion in trade annually. Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, California, discussed the recent completion of the Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) at Middle Harbor, one of the most advanced cargo facilities in the world, and how the Port of Long Beach has tackled increased shipping traffic, the challenges of operating safely in a pandemic, and LBCT’s role in alleviating global supply chain challenges.