St. Louis must be 'globally fluent' to remain competitive

This month, as many as 40 professionals from around the globe will visit St. Louis as part of their seven-week tour of the United States, facilitated by Philadelphia-based Eisenhower Fellowships.

Why is this important? We seemed to have forgotten that what happens across the oceans affects us across our rivers. According to the Heritage Foundation, overall international trade and investment support more than 800,000 jobs in Missouri, representing nearly a quarter of overall employment in the state. To remain competitive, St. Louis must be “globally fluent” and be ready to work with people of different countries and cultures.

An underappreciated regional resource at our disposal is the alumni of Eisenhower Fellowships who live and work in St. Louis. These are 28 people who, over the course of the past 10 years, were selected to travel to more than 30 countries across the world to learn from the experience of others who were in similar fields or pursuing analogous projects. The fellowships, which annually include 10 Americans going abroad and about 40 international leaders traveling to the U.S., stem from a birthday gift to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who longed to achieve peace and prosperity through international cooperation and collaboration.

The result was Eisenhower Fellowships, and every year the organization tasks the American fellows to return from their travels and create consequential impacts for their region and beyond. Not surprisingly, the St. Louis fellows are leaders in business, civic, academic and cultural institutions, including the chief operating officer of Emerson, the president of Ameren Missouri and the chief executive of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.


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