Calgary’s place on the international stage – it is ours to claim, if we want it…
March 30, 2011
The past week marked a significant week for Calgary from an international perspective.
The Inter-America Development Bank (www.iadb.org) Annual conference was in Calgary last week. This saw hundreds of delegates from across Latin America and the Carribean come to Calgary to discuss the affairs and issues of development lending in the Americas. We were truly in the spotlight internationally and gained significant profile. Calgary’s place as a global financial centre is growing and we have opportunity to capture an even greater range of activity.
In conjunction with the IADB conference, a conference of Mayors from across Latin America and the Carribean was formed, hosted by Mayor Nenshi. It was the launch of the IADB Sustainable Cities program. It again, saw Calgary being the host from an urban sustainability perspective and enabled us to speak to our efforts, as well as to convene international expertise on the topic.
Just prior to the IADB start, the Chamber supported Agrium in its lunch presentation by John McArthur, CEO of Millennium Promise (www.millenniumpromise.org), the lead organization dedicated to the achievement of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. John spoke about the need for developed countries and companies within those countries to assist in the reduction of extreme global poverty. The opportunity to reduce poverty is immense, but technologies and resources are needed. Individuals like Bill Gates, George Soros and numerous celebrities have endorsed this plan and approach. So the question is, what role does Calgary, its companies and its citizens want to play in such an important global initiative?
Finally, the proposed merger of the TMX and the LSE came to Calgary and through the Chamber doors earlier this week, with TMX CEO Tom Kloet and LSE CEO Xavier Rolet meeting with a small, member only group to discuss the merger and answer questions and feedback. Discussions were wide ranging and it showed the role that the Calgary Chamber and its members can play in informing and debating nationally significant issues.
Through all this activity, it becomes apparent that Calgary is poised for a more significant international role. Whether it is as a financial centre, energy centre, centre in support of achieving global causes, reaching new international markets for our companies or being a leader on any range of topics and issues. It is a rather un-Canadian thing to do to claim a space as our own and focus on it. We have the people, the talent, the resources and the ability to “own the podium” across a significant number of global arenas. But we have to be purposeful about going there. I hope we do.