The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the November 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
After the approval of the September 2022 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 September and October 2022.
During the Membership Committee report, Past Chair Scott Thompson introduced Jarrett Jobe as the new representative in OKGIT for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education following the retirement of Debbie Blanke. After Jarrett’s introduction, Mike Troilo was approved by the membership as the newest member of the team.
Following the Membership Committee report, Cathleen Skinner informed the group about various virtual cultural events with representatives from four countries that were put on by the Cultural and Education Committee during International Education Week. At the conclusion of Cathleen’s report, Douglas Price introduced two new student ambassadors to the group: Lovette Mba from Langston University and Shannon Marcar from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Douglas also thanked student ambassador Steffi Silvera for her strong representation of the OKGIT.
During the Sponsor Relations Committee report, Treasurer Andrew Ranson thanked Chair Catherine Webster for her fundraising efforts during the Oklahoma Consular Summit by arranging sponsorship for the reception from the Oklahoma City Chamber and building a relationship with the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
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 commended everyone on the World Trade Conference. Topics at the conference included nearshoring, alternatives to China market such as South America, compliance issues, and global supply chain solutions. Following his report regarding the World Trade Conference, Marcus announced the USDOC would host four webinars in cooperation with the World Trade Bank and that the District Export Council would be moving the World Trade Conference back to the second quarter next year. Marcus closed his report by informing the group that Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia would be destinations of foreign trade missions next year.
After the USDOC report, Executive Director Jared Scism announced the Oklahoma Department of Commerce was meeting with Consulates in Houston and holding a reception with several of the Consulates in attendance on November 15th. Jared closed the report by announcing a celebration of the 20th anniversary between Azerbaijan and Oklahoma on November 29.
Following the Oklahoma Department of Commerce report, Jamie Cummings from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture announced the first international hospitality suite at the 2023 Cattlemen’s Congress Show at the Fairgrounds next year. Jamie also announced there would be a European cattle show at the beginning of January and requested the GIT’s presence. More information regarding the show will be released soon.
At the conclusion of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Jarrett Jobe introduced himself as the new representative for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE). Jarrett is the new Vice-Chancellor for Government Relations. Jarrett also informed the group that Oklahoma is looking at an out-of-state tuition model to recruit more international students. Chair Catherine Webster ended the report by informing the membership about a reception organized by Oklahoma Women in Higher Education honoring former OSRHE representative Debbie Blanke. The Oklahoma Women in Higher Education who will also be establishing a scholarship in Debbie’s name.
During the Consular Corps report, Honorary Consul of Switzerland, Rico Buchli reported that many Consuls attended the Consular Summit. Rico also announced the new Mexican Consul will be moving to Oklahoma City in December and is currently looking for a residence. Vice Chair Enrique Villar-Gambetta concluded the Consular Corps report by noting the Consul General of Uruguay sent a very positive report on his visit to Oklahoma for the Consular Summit and that the Uruguayan Ambassador would be in Oklahoma during the first quarter of 2023.
At the conclusion of all the reports, Andrew Ranson updated the group about the second task force meeting that recently took place that is focusing on the strategic planning of the OKGIT. During the meeting, individuals were placed in subgroups to be made up of education, consular corps, cultural and non-profits, business, and government relations groups to begin discussions. The group plans to meet again before the January GIT meeting
Chair Cathy Webster concluded the meeting by soliciting nominations for a new OKGIT Vice Chair. Anyone who is interested in nominating others or themself can contact Executive Director, Jared Scism.
During the program portion of the meeting, Enrique Villar-Gambetta presented over opportunities in Guatemala.
Chairperson Cathy Webster adjourned the meeting by inviting the membership to the next meeting on January 17 at 3:00 p.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce with a holiday reception following at Café do Brasil. More details regarding the reception will be shared at the beginning of January. We hope to see you there.