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MBA STUDENT LEADERS at Wharton visited the AL DÍA office on Mar. 1.
MBA STUDENT LEADERS at Wharton visited the AL DÍA office on Mar. 1.

Latin America is here, Philly

The lack of local visibility of a recent Wharton School Summit tells you volumes about Philadelphia’s indifference to half of the American continent.

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I was surprised myself when I received a message from an MBA Wharton School student asking AL DÍA to be involved, as a news media organization, in a Summit that would gather in our city global CEO’s conducting business south of the border.

Multinational American corporation leaders coming to Philly?

“Are you sure?” I said in disbelief. Sounds more like NYC, not PHL…

We get so used to low expectations around here that a Summit gathering corporate leaders, and public officials from Latin America who came to our city, didn’t merit one word of space in Philadelphia business publications.

The only two news pieces on the Wharton Latin American Conference (WHALAC), which took place on March 29th and 30th, as a Google search would show, are two written by Jensen Toussaint, an AL DÍA reporter.

A 200-year long aspiration

Trade and business development with the Spanish-speaking portion of the Americas —home today to a population twice as large as the population of the United States, indeed a bustling market China has taken special interest in— has been advocated for in Philadelphia since Ambassador Manuel Torres, from “La Gran Colombia,” lived in our midst over 200 years ago.

Little has been advanced, though.

A good example of our attitude of turning our backs to those growing economies south of the border is perhaps the recent cancellation of the only non-stop flight Philadelphia had with a capital in Latin America.  Just months after it launched last summer with great fanfare, American Airlines cancelled it in November, supposedly because of under-performance, although the airline declined to disclose the number of passengers that used the service during the three short months it was available.

Students from Wharton are picking up the slack, though.

Through own effort, they hosted for two days leaders like Fernando Carrillo, the Attorney General from Colombia, Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of PepsiCo in Latin American and Monique Skruzny, CEO of INSPIR, among others.

“Business Opportunities to Make Latin America Thrive,” was the theme of the conference AL DÍA has decided to adopt to raise awareness on an obvious subject connected to the growth of our city during this century.

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