Global Philadelphia Association IDEAS SUMMIT - 9 Dec. 2013

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Members of the Global Philadelphia Association took part in a “Global Ideas Summit,” a first for the Association, on December 9th, 2013 at the International House Philadelphia during the Annual Gathering of Members. The Summit was to be a meeting of the minds for GPA stakeholders to share ideas of how to address major issues, topics and decisions facing the Philadelphia region as it becomes more globally recognized and seeks greater recognition. 

This report is a summary of the discussions that took place during the Global Ideas Summit. The views expressed in this document are not necessarily those of the Global Philadelphia Association nor of all Association members. Discussion subjects:

1. Immigration & National Origin
2. Knowledge & Culture as International Assets
3. Educating Citizenry & the World
4. International Journalism
5. Attracting Big Things to Philadelphia


1. Immigration & National Origin

The Current Landscape:
The immigrant population increase in Philadelphia creates the need for more integration. Fixing immigration law is key to addressing issues of access to housing, employment, healthcare, and education.

Philadelphia's immigrant population faces 4 easily identifiable challenges for successful integration:
1. Immigrants often come from traumatic situations (i.e., war and major conflict) and suffer from culture shock when they arrive in the U.S.
2. There are not enough ESL classes available, nor are such classes easily accessible
3. Immigrants face many misconceptions that make integration into U.S. Society difficult (e.g. landlords are not comfortable with renting to immigrants, …)
4. Access to healthcare and education can be difficult due to language barriers and lack information or knowledge of services

Focus on Immigrants and the Law:
• For low-skilled immigrants, the law does not provide a clear route to come work in the U.S. even though there is an economic basis and need for such people
• High-skilled immigrants are often underemployed, as they face difficulty in transferring their skills from their previous countries to the U.S.
• Lack of legal services are a barrier to citizenship for many low-skilled immigrants - in the case of undocumented immigrants, there is no legal pathway to citizenship.

Ways to help immigrants in Philadelphia and American society:
• Acknowledgment of the importance of immigrants to Philadelphia society through education about various ethnic populations of the Philadelphia region
• Better communication to immigrant populations about English language programs
• Community building between locals and immigrant populations
• Social services to help in adapting to the English language and American culture
• Less geographical segregation as fluency in English is easier to achieve through integration
• Creation of a larger pool of attorneys that can work in immigration law pro-bono and/or at a lower rate

2. Knowledge & Culture as International Assets

The Current Landscape:

Institutions of research, education and culture attract investors and help achieve greater visibility for the Philadelphia region.

Ideas to foster citizen awareness about the wealth of being a global region:
• Educate Philadelphians about creating a more welcoming environment for international students and people
• Bring international cultural figures and involve them in our education
• Create educational programs (more than just study abroad) for more international exposure
• Build opportunities for more cross-disciplinary educational & cultural events (i.e., Arab music education)
• Encourage international guests (e.g., international scholars & musicians) to spread the word of Philadelphia in their home countries, thus promoting the names of Philadelphia institutions.
• As global players in the region, GPA members could create a "cross-disciplinary partnership" to facilitate attracting international guests and building relationships
• Create new initiatives for students and professionals to travel abroad, and the host-regions will thus become more familiar with Philadelphia institutions and businesses.
• Establish a foundation of knowledge and background with each Philadelphia cultural event to spread international knowledge and awareness.

3. Educating Citizenry & the World

The Current Landscape:

At the Federal level, there have been huge cuts - up to 47% in global education budgets. Hopefully this will be reversed in the next round, but in the meantime the entire GPA membership has a part to play in the theme of supporting global education.

Numerous global education programs already exist and need to be acknowledged:
• There are several IB schools and other global schools in the PHL area. They need to be better highlighted.
• There are many local global resources in the region. We need to use them more effectively. A few examples:
 Swedish Museum has a full segment on Science and the Nobel Peace Prize
 The Chemical Heritage Foundation is a mine of information on the development of chemistry worldwide
 And many more: Penn Museum, Mutter Museum, Wagner institute, Free Library, etc.

Ideas to develop a population of Global Citizens:
• Remove obstacles to foreign travel for youth and even teachers.
◦ Taking local kids overseas – a game changer for them. Some organizations already do it, such as PanAmerican Charter and ICS. We can start by helping kids learn to use telecommunication technology such as Skype to become friends with kids around the world and raise global awareness.
◦ Some universities such as Temple give a scholarship to all Freshmen who need to get a Passport to go abroad. Encourage this to be emulated regionally.
• GPA World Heritage City bid could allow us to connect to other global schools in other WHCs
• UN learning does not stop when we graduate from college e.g., issues about water, globalization, nuclear development – these are all global issues that affect our adult lives. Engage more people around such issues
• The same teachers go to global education workshops. Such workshops should be recorded and made available online for the teachers who couldn’t make them
• We need to create a strong branding for Philadelphia – the city that creates the global student. This could be part of a video series
• There is maybe a GlobalPhilly 2015 overseas opportunity to initiate for the GPA Education Cluster Conversation

4. International Journalism

The Current Landscape:

International news is extremely lacking in America compared to other parts of the world and this is mainly due to the “seclusion factor” - The U.S. only touches Canada and Mexico, and is itself so vast. In Europe, Africa and Asia it's more common to visit surrounding countries, sparking interest and making people more "worldly."
In the Philadelphia region, there's no real outlet for international news in our local sources.
Most news today is commercial or based on entertainment, because that's where the largest audience is.

Ideas to develop International Journalism in Philadelphia:
• What you're exposed to growing-up matters. It's up to people to instill this “international” interest in themselves and their young. Refer to the Education and Knowledge/Culture notes above
• Figure out where the connections are between the local and the global and spot them first
• Develop how international news is presented by mixing mediums of short video & text
• Use social media with the largest popular audiences
• Universities are a good hub for the international realm
◦ Higher education = higher demand
◦ Best place to develop interest in the world
• People need to want to learn about each other, so always promote the "global citizen" idea
• Social Media is a way to interconnect and build global collaborative communities, but we also need to be respectful of other cultures/ communities' comfort zones, what's appropriate, and what everyone could be engaged by

5. Attracting Big Things to Philadelphia

The Current Landscape:

GPA was founded after a failed Olympic bid. The dream of hosting the Olympics has not faded, and ambitions for even more major international events have grown as the reality of Philadelphia hosting such happenings becomes more viable.

There are 3 easily identifiable dimensions to attracting big things:

1. Grow organically what we already have and get the events publicized regionally, nationally and internationally:
July 4th celebration, The Pope in 2015, Quaker 100 year anniversary in 2017 (engaging with orchestra, global competition for musical peace, Nobel peace laureates in 2017, …), anniversary of Declaration of Independence in 2026, Made in American Festival, global events at the convention center, etc.

2. Import big events that already exist elsewhere to Philadelphia:
sports events (Olympic games, World Cup, etc.), political conventions, cultural festival (fete de la musique, like the Chicago humanities festival), business conferences and meetings that can take place in our convention center.

3. Create new events and activities based on our local resources (beer, gardens, education, etc.): international beer week, global energy conference, attracting foreign business looking for low cost energy - it costs 1/5 of EU prices.

- get Union reps to help attract big international events to the Philadelphia region
- have an open referral method from communities/ GPA members and individuals to connect with the right people locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.




The Global Philadelphia Association would like to recognize the following organizations that were represented at the 2013 Annual Gathering of Members and who contributed to the Global Ideas Summit. 

African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
American Friends Service Committee
Alliance Francaise
Alois Global Trade Strategies, LLC
American INSIGHT
Berlitz Learning Center Philadelphia
Cardenas Grant Communications
Chemtech International Inc.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
City of Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia
Consulate General of Mexico in Philadelphia
Department of Community & Economic Development
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
Drexel University - Office of International Programs
Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
Econsult Solutions Inc.
Global Education Motivators
HIAS Pennsylvania
Honorary Consulate of France in Philadelphia
Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Philadelphia
Hoy en Delaware LLC
Independence Charter School
Independence National Historical Park
International Opera Theater
International Visitors Council of Philadelphia
Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia
Library Company of Philadelphia
Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Mayor's Office of Immigrant & Multicultural Affairs
PA Council on International Education
Philadelphia Bar Association
Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
Philadelphia Global Water Initiative
Philadelphia International Medicine
Philly PR Girl
PI-Philly (Italian Professionals in Philadelphia)
Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
Rough Cut Productions
Temple University Boyer College of Music & Dance
United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia
University City Science Center
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania
Villanova University School of Law
Visit Philadelphia™
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
Women's Campaign International
World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia

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