ImageThe second annual convening of the Global Great Lakes Network will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, June 12-13, 2014, bringing together representatives of cities and organizations in the upper midwestern region working on immigrant-related economic development initiatives.

The highlight of the Pittsburgh Global Great Lakes convening will be a day-long public conference on June 12 featuring presentations by regional and national leaders in the fields of economic development, education, high-tech, healthcare, government and social services to share their success stories and encourage discussion of next steps. A working session of Global Great Lakes Network participants will be held on June 13. The event will be hosted locally by Vibrant Pittsburgh and GlobalPittsburgh, with coordination assistance from Global Detroit.

With immigrant-driven economic development at the center of America’s political radar screen,  this event is sure to draw national and international media attention, which will be actively pursued with clear, consistent messaging that will focus attention on positive developments in the region’s cities, as well as on the challenges still surrounding the issue of immigrant attraction and retention.

Watch this space for additional details and registration information.


One of our Global Great Lakes Initial Convening participants, Global Lansing, is a network of people who care about making the city of Lansing a welcoming community to international people.

The Global Lansing Initiative is the collaborative effort of the groups Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP),  Prima Civitas Foundation, Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, Michigan State University, DTN Management, Lansing Community College, Meridian Township, City of East Lansing, City of Lansing, Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission and others, to utilize the valuable international resources and talent available in the greater Lansing area including international students, businesses and international relationships.

Check out Global Lansing‘s new video!

“By going global, and by being internationally friendly, I think we will open up opportunities that have previously been blind to us.”


“Our greatest asset is this international student population – we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage these individuals who come here for education, and get them to stay and infuse their talent into our current talent base.”

Learn more about Global Lansing here.

Congratulations to Suhas Kulkarni, the director of the Louisville Office of Globalization.  His personal story exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit guiding the Global Great Lakes Network.  It is inspiring to know that someone as entrepreneurial as he would want to help Louisville tap into the entrepreneurial strengths of other immigrants in the area.

The story: “Man of the World” Business First of Louisville January 17, 2014

Steve and Betsy

On Wednesday, January 15, two of the core participants at the Global Great Lakes Network convening were featured panelists at a Capitol Hill briefing organized by the American Immigration Council and Immigration Policy Center on Revitalization in the Heartland:  Welcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs for Economic Development.  The event was moderated by AIC Director Ben Johnson and included Betsy Cohen from the St. Louis Mosaic Project, Steve Tobocman from Global Detroit, and Himar Hernandez from the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Office.

About 50 people attended to hear how the nation’s heartland was moving forward at recognizing immigration as an economic stimulant that provides jobs and prosperity to local communities–including the non-immigrants in those communities.  Each panelist explained how their organizations and supporters came to this realization and decided to move forward and embrace immigration as an opportunity for our local communities.

While it remains unclear if the Congress will move pieces of the Senate immigration reform legislation, pass a comprehensive bill, or do nothing on the issue in 2014, we look forward to watching how St. Louis Mosaic, Global Detroit, Iowa State University’s Extension Office and the other visionary programs on-the-ground in the Midwest will produce groundbreaking results through their innovative efforts welcoming immigrant talent and investment, integrating immigrants into our local economies, and reaping the benefits in terms of regional growth, prosperity, and improved quality of life.

The Global Great Lakes Network programs are moving our region and nation forward.  Thanks to Ben Johnson and the excellent paper prepared by Paul McDaniel about Detroit, St. Louis, and Iowa.  A great day and event.

Since the great success of the first convening of a Global Great Lakes Network in Detroit this past June, work to build a network has continued. Six working committees are meeting to develop a potential work plan for the Network to pursue to strengthen the work and impact of local efforts across the Great Lakes region.

The committees are focusing on:

1. Peer-to-Peer Learning

2. Conference and Events

3. Joint Fundraising

4. Joint Technology, Assets, and Resources

5. Joint Advocacy and Programs

6. Media, Social Media, and Communications

Many of the participants from the first convening are attending the Fifth Annual National Immigration Integration Conference in Miami this November 17-19. The Global Great Lakes Network will be gathering for some networking and to socialize on Monday, November 18th at 5:00-6:30 p.m. at The Gallery bar at the Miami Downtown Hilton.

We are starting to plan for a Second Convening of the Global Great Lakes Network in the Spring of 2014. Interested partners, participants, and sponsors should contact us at

Thank you to everyone who attended and made the initial convening of the Global Great Lakes network such a success. Speaker Power Point presentations, biographies and other materials from the convening can be found on the Convening Materials page

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