I’m often asked if I still maintain contact with my AFS host family in Ghana. The answer is yes, but it can be difficult to connect even when I’m in Ghana for a period of a few weeks.
October 20, 2010: US Ambassadors Visit Milwaukee
Omanhene, I’m proud to say, has tried to be an example of the positive side of globalism. We recognize the economic theory of the comparative advantage of international trade. That is, we understand that countries should focus on producing those goods and services for which they enjoy a competitive advantage; for all other items, they should engage in trade in order to acquire those goods and services. Our chocolate bars are manufactured entirely in Ghana because Ghana enjoys a competitive advantage in the cultivation of cocoa and by manufacturing in Ghana, we are not obliged to impose the considerable carbon footprint required to ship raw cocoa beans offshore to Europe or the US for final processing. At the same time, we export paper labels printed here in Wisconsin to Ghana because Wisconsin has a terrific printing industry — a legacy of craftsmanship that is well over a hundred years old. Simply put, we just can’t find this quality of printing in Ghana.
Omanhene’s efforts to showcase a new, mutually-beneficial side of global trade is one of the reasons we were contacted when the US State Department sent its first cadre of US Ambassadors on a “reverse trade mission” in order to promote trade from the US to North African and Middle Eastern countries. The concept for this reverse trade mission is to bring US Ambassadors to the Midwest instead of having Midwestern companies travel abroad to showcase their products and services. The goal is to double US exports within five years. In addition to a full plate of diplomatic responsibilities, US Ambassadors are advocates for US exports and this trip — the first of its kind — was a chance for our senior diplomats to meet with companies in parts of the country with export potential.
I was proud to serve as one of the volunteer hosts for this visit.
From left to right:
The Honorable Gordon Gray, US Ambassador to the Republic of Tunisia
The Honorable Margaret Scobey, US Ambassador to Egypt
Steven C. Wallace, President, The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company (volunteer host)
The Honorable Deborah K. Jones, US Ambassador to Kuwait
Christine Harris, President and Executive Director of The Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee
The Honorable Joseph Evan LeBaron, US Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Michael Pink, Artistic Director, The Milwaukee Ballet
Dawn Helsing Wolters, Managing Director, Milwaukee Repertory Theater
The Honorable Dr. Richard J. Schmierer, US Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman
Wade Hobgood, Dean of the Peck School of the Arts, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Peter Tichansky, President, Business Council for International Understanding
Daniela McFarren, Program Officer, Business, Council for International Understanding
Daniel T. Keegan, Director, Milwaukee Art Museum