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Strategies for Fostering International Linkages by Chris Whatley Former CSG Washington Office Director
Overview • State International Engagement • Models for Building & Maintaining Partnerships • Best Practices
International Engagement (funding) • States spend roughly $200 million each year on international programs, up from $20 million in 1980. • Half is spent on trade and investment promotion, with the rest consumed by a wide range of educational exchanges, arts programs, and other small scale international activities. • State support for international engagement is extremely volatile.
International Engagement (activities) • States maintain 245 trade offices in 34 countries around the world, up from four in 1980. • State legislature consider roughly 1,000 resolutions or bills on international topics each year. • States are increasingly entering into international partnerships, through sister state agreements or other informal relationships.
International Engagement (motivation) • Economic development is the driving motive. • Creating and retaining high quality jobs requires international insight. • Cultural and historic ties between communities also play an important role.
Iowa Sister States • A public-private partnership receiving the majority of its support from the Iowa Department of Economic Development. • Provides a central secretariat with two full-time staff to oversee eight sister states. Maintains one of the highest levels of exchange activity in the U.S. • Costs the state approximately $150,000 per year from a modest economic development budget, perceived by some as a drain on state resources. • www.iowasisterstates.org
Maryland Sister States • The Maryland Secretary of State overseas a sub cabinet on international affairs and employs a full time international affairs specialist. • Provides a platform for building synergy between ten volunteer- led sister state programs while also coordinating all international activities in the state. • Costs the state approximately $100,000per year. While the program is highly successful in coordinating activities it is less successful in building a broader strategy for engagement. • www.sos.state.md.us/international
North Carolina Center for International Understanding • The largest state international exchange program in the U.S. , with 14 fulltime staff and a $1.1 million budget ($400,000 in state funds the rest from grants and fees). • Focused on creating opportunities for policy makers and opinion leaders to be exposed to international issues. Is developing a state-wide international strategy in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Commerce. • A relatively expensive model. Does not serve as a central coordinator the state’s international activities. • www.ciu.northcarolina.edu
Best Practices • Successful state international programs are grounded in an economic development motive and closely coordinated with existing state agencies. • Public private partnerships are great for rallying support and expertise, but are limited as a fundraising mechanism. • Sister state relationships offer great benefits for cultural interaction, but are less effective as an economic development tool. • Developing a clear international strategy outlining the state’s core international interests, strengths, and opportunities, is essential for seeking federal or foundation funding.
Contact Information CSG Washington Office Director 444 North Capitol, NW, Suite 401 Washington, DC 20001 Tel: (202) 624-5460 Fax: (202) 624-5452