The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the January 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
After the modification and approval of the November 2021 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for November and December 2021.
Following the treasurer report, Scott Thompson presented changes to the bylaws that included a new membership category, Associate Member. The Associate Member is an individual recognized by the Board who serves in a voluntary adjunct or auxiliary capacity and represents the OKGIT for a mutual benefit to both the individual and the OKGIT (e.g. OKGIT Student Ambassador program participants). Associate Members shall not be entitled to vote and shall not be required to pay dues. This category was approved by the team
During the Marketing Committee report, Executive Director Jared Scism reported that new Marketing Chair Jason Baffrey scheduled an in-person meeting to create a marketing vision plan. Jason decided to postpone the meeting until a later date when COVID cases are lower.
After the Marketing Committee report, Executive Jared Scism informed the membership that the Culture and Education Committee would meet in February to discuss International Education Week. Past Chair Douglas Price concluded the report by announcing that International Recognition Day at the State Capitol would be held sometime at the end of March. More details will be shared soon.
Following the Culture and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Enrique Villar announced the Peruvian education committee may send a delegation in February or March which may provide opportunities for universities to participate. Enrique also informed the membership about green energy opportunities with Uruguay and that he would be presenting to the Lima Chamber of Commerce next month.
Jim Collard closed the committee reports by leading a discussion regarding the current state of Trade and Foreign Direct Investment. The discussion included input from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce who reported they had not had much traffic other than the Minister for Trade Policy from the United Kingdom who came to Oklahoma to meet with several cabinet secretaries. Chuck Mills reported international trade continues to be booming as his company has been selling all over the world due to the broken supply chain, regardless of price. Ben Gottch added to the conversation by mentioning there is a continued demand from U.S. importers and many people are trying to use air freight, but air freight has decreased with Omicron. Furthermore, there is anticipation of further congestion due to the upcoming Chinese New Year. Kevin Chambers also mentioned a lot of companies are trying to shift to Vietnam, India, Mexico, and this side of the Pacific. Treasurer Andrew Ranson concluded the report by inviting the group to a NABISTE Exporter Roundtable webinar and that the Oklahoma State University Center for International Trade Development would be releasing a supply chain report soon.
At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus reported that he and Chuck spoke at the Regional District Export council meeting (Southern Network) over best practices of leveraging resources. Marcus ended his report by sharing a few events coming up that the membership may be interested in. This list of events can be found on the OKGIT website events page.
Executive Director Jared Scism reported on behalf of Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education (ODOE) following the USDOC report. During the report Jared shared that ODOE is currently reviewing Oklahoma Academic standards for world languages which will go before state board of education next month. These standards are renewed every six years. Jared continued the report by sharing there have been a lot of absences among teachers recently. Jared ended the report by telling the group that the ODOE is holding their third summit to find ways to support students with high levels of trauma.
Despite there being no report for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Randy Kluver from Oklahoma State University informed the membership that refugees from Afghanistan who are moving to Oklahoma and wish to study in universities here are being classified as “out of state”. Oklahoma State University is currently working with Oklahoma University to try and work with the Regents to see if they can revise the language to include refugees and requested support from UCO.
Following the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education report, Executive Director Jared Scism also shared updates from Jamie Cummings at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture (ODOA). In her report, Jamie mentioned the PLMA show that was scheduled at the end of January was to be the first live buyers’ mission, but was cancelled due to COVID-19. The event has been rescheduled to take place in November at the regularly scheduled meeting. Jared concluded Jamie’s report by informing the group The Cattlemen’s Congress show was held January 1-15. During the event, the ODOA held their first international hospitality room. Several canceled due to new travel restrictions, but had a good turnout from Canada, Mexico, South America and Dubai. ODOA plans to build on this project next year with possible farm tours and education.
At the conclusion of all the reports, Honorary Consul of Switzerland Rico Buchli updated the membership regarding happenings in the Oklahoma Consular Corps. During his report Rico highlighted the Consular Crops reception organized by Oklahoma City Sister Cities Organization where New Honorary Consul of Japan in Oklahoma Dewey Bartlett was introduced. Honorary Consul of France Grant Moak concluded the report by announcing the new Consul General of France in Houston, Valerie Baraban, and the new Vice Consul and executive assistant.
During the program portion of the meeting, the group shared personal success stories from 2021.
Chairperson Cathy Webster concluded the meeting by inviting the membership to our in-person meeting on March 8 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Following the meeting, the annual gavel ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capitol. We hope to see you there.