I attended the reception heralding the opening of the two-month – September 15-November 15—Global Philly™ 2015 Exposition. During this time, there will be over 150 events celebrating the multi-cultural diversity and “global impact of Philadelphia and the region.” The biennial event is being presented by Global Philadelphia Association and its members. Events are associated with 12 categories – Advocacy, Arts, Commerce, Cuisine, Education, Family Friendly, Global Events, Heritage, Nation Days, Science & Technology, Sports and Project World Heritage City.
I was happy to represent the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia, but found myself proud of my city. While I have an affinity for Norway as a non-Norwegian, I was born and bred in Philadelphia. I have endured many losing sports seasons and disappointing ends to winning seasons, with a couple of championships thrown in there. I’ve heard the jokes about Philadelphia and criticisms of Philadelphia sports fans, many of which the statute of limitations should have run out long ago. I’ve also felt Philadelphia is underrated.
Philadelphia is on the move in the international stage. Pope Francis will visit in a few weeks, and next summer the Democratic National Convention will come to town, two major coups. The expo is a lead-in to a Nov. 6 vote in Peru on whether to designate Philadelphia a World Heritage City. If successful, Philadelphia will be the first
American city to receive the honor.
In his remarks, Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce, said Mayor Nutter has been traveling extensively in his second term, attempting to set up sister relationships with foreign cities and expanding the visibility and awareness of Philadelphia. During the Mayor’s first term, Greenberger made many of these trips. Erik Evjen, Director of Research at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (and a native of Norway), told the crowd more than $500 million in tourist dollars were spent here last year, a steady increase.
A light and fun atmosphere pervaded the reception held at WHYY, one of the media partners. I met an official from the Netherlands
and a graphic designer from the same country. Hats representing different countries were on a table and guests were encouraged to try one and have their picture taken next to a cut out figure of the Pope. “I’m not Catholic,” I told the photographer, Alfred B. For. “Neither am I,” he replied. A wall allowed attendees to post “I am Offering…” and “I Am Seeking…” services.
The city is a lot more multi-cultural than we thought. Global Philadelphia members include Honorary Consul Generals from Sweden, Panama, Lithuania, Korea, Sierra Leone, Italy, El Salvador, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Mexico, Ghana, Belgium, Brazil, Pakistan, Denmark, Chile, Uruguay, Poland, Finland, Latvia, Haiti, Austria, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Malta, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Guatemala, France, Romania, Israel, Norway and Germany. German American Chamber of Commerce, Middle Atlantic Eurasian Business Council, Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce, Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, Alliance Francaise de Philadelphie, Asia Society of New York, Brazil Cultural Center of Greater Philadelphia, China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, Citizen Diplomacy International, Flemish in the World, Global Education Motivators, Global Interdependence Center, Lithuanian Music Hall Association, Main Line Chinese Cultural Center, Mexican Cultural Center, Multicultural Art Exchange, National Hispanic Institute, Pan American Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia are among the business and cultural association members. The Chambers want to attract business interests from their countries to Philadelphia. They feel Philadelphia has much to offer.
Global Philadelphia has broad-based membership and support, including the City, colleges, historical sites, hospitals,individual members and more. Sponsors of the expo include PCVB, Lockheed Martin, Progressive Business Publications, Connelly Foundation, gphomestay, and Team Pennsylvania Foundation, while media partners include Center City Film & Video, Al Dia News Media, The Inquirer/Daily News/philly.com, WHYY, WPHL 17, 95.7 BEN FM, I Heart Media and EveryBlock.
The brochure of events is called Passport. For more information about the expo, click here.