Ambassadors visited Austin as part of Experience America program

May 20, 2013

by Richard Whittaker
[posted May 19, 2013 on austinchronicle.com]

Many Austinites already know that their city is one of the more truly international urban centers in Texas, but a visit by 26 ambassadors last week re-enforced that idea.

The trip was part of the US State Department's Experience America program, and was the 11th such visit to a major US city since the program was set up in 2007. Organized by the Diplomatic Partnerships Division of the Office of the Chief of Protocol, its purpose is very simple: To get ambassadors from a multitude of countries (currently 100 participants and counting) away from DC and out into the rest of the country. It's not all Chicago, New Orleans and LA: Last October, ambassadors from 45 nations got to take in the sights of Bentonville, Arkansas (coincidentally, home of WalMart.)

This time, the assemblage of 26 ambassadors visiting Texas came from established powers like Germany and Ireland, rising nations like the Philippines and Ukraine, and smaller, often more troubled countries like Kazakhstan and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Theirs was a two-day whirlwind tour of the Hill Country on May 13-14, taking in the LBJ Presidential Library with Luci Baines Johnson, a trip to the Chestnut Community Redevelopment Project and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and finally a lunch, hosted by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce at the Driskill Hotel. read more