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L.A.-based consuls general discuss local approaches to global challenges at UCLA event

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One way to measure Los Angeles’ standing among global cities is the fact that it is home to the third largest consular corps in the world.

Consuls general representing five nations came together at UCLA on Nov. 10 for a program that enlightened audience members about the diplomats’ roles in local responses to global challenges. The event, held at the UCLA Faculty Club, was part of UCLA International Education Week, and it was cosponsored by the Los Angeles Consular Corps.

“Today’s event is an opportunity to gain insights from a diverse array of leaders about the challenges affecting our global community,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “Bringing together such partners to unravel problems and develop solutions is one of the roles of a globally oriented public research university like UCLA.”

Block laid the groundwork for a panel discussion by describing several major global challenges with compelling local dimensions — issues UCLA scholars are also working to address — including economic concerns, global health care challenges, the spread of misinformation, mental health, climate change, technological competition and education for a knowledge-based economy.

In his introductory remarks, Cosmin Dumitrescu, consul general of Romania to Los Angeles and dean of the consular corps’ executive committee, said one common misconception about diplomats is that they work only behind closed doors in capital cities. Most consuls general are career diplomats and among their many responsibilities, he said, are putting together their nations’ citizens together with investors to start companies in the U.S. and forging partnership with U.S. universities.

“They are very active in trade, commerce and the economy,” he said.

Consul General Marcela Celorio of Mexico said the spread of misinformation has been a major challenge. For example, she explained that Mexico has accepted dual nationality for 30 years. But, she said, “there are still people here that … believe that if they become American citizens, they will lose everything, or they will lose their [Mexican] nationality.”

Her organization also has tried to combat misinformation during the pandemic, working to build confidence in scientific authorities among those it serves. The consulate opened a COVID-19 test center and provided both vaccinations and humanitarian services, including a food pantry.

Julie Duhaut-Bedos, consul general of France, said the U.S. is France’s top partner in scientific cooperation, naming pandemic preparedness, climate change mitigation and technology as key areas of focus. Part of her job is to identify research universities in both nations that can collaborate on those issues.

“We have a huge collaboration … in quantum computing, and UCLA is one of our partners for that,” she said.

Jane Duke, consul general of Australia, highlighted her work on trade between the U.S. and her home nation, and joint efforts to address climate change in California. One manifestation of the trade relationship: Duke arranged for Australian manufacturers to deliver baby formula to the U.S. during the recent supply shortage.

On climate change issues, she said, Australia has ongoing collaborations with many California agencies to address wildfires, sustainable water management and drought response.

Climate change is also a major consideration for Consul General Ahmed Shaheen of Egypt. Calling it a “very serious threat,” Shaheen said Egypt’s entire northern coast is projected to disappear by 2100 because of rising sea levels.

He noted that while Africa has the lowest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is the continent most affected by climate change, and it receives “less than 5.5% of climate finance,” he said.

He expressed hope that COP27, the UN climate change conference currently taking place in Egypt, would address the issue of climate finance and produce a roadmap for helping Africa to find its fight against climate change.

Cindy Fan, UCLA’s vice provost for international studies and global engagement, closed the program by thanking the consuls general for their optimism.

“When we work together … we can make small changes, and small changes add up to be big changes hopefully,” Fan said.

This article is also published on UCLA Newsroom.

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Duration: 53:56



Cindy Fan 0:00

My name is Cindy fan. I'm Vice Provost for the International Institute at UCLA. As a land grant institution, the UCLA International Institute acknowledges that Gabrielino Tongva peoples as traditional land caretakers of Teavana. In celebration of International Education Week, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the seventh annual UCLA global conversation. This is the first year that we have the global conversation in person since the pandemic. So it's really wonderful to see all of you in this room. Thank you for coming. And this US International Education Week, or i e, w. It's supported by 27 Campus co sponsors, and it includes 37 events organized by 29 Campus units. Many of the campus leaders representing these units are in the audience right now. And I'd like to thank all of you for your generosity and hard work and for being here this afternoon. I ew or International Education Week is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and Department of Education celebrated each fall in college campuses across the United States. And at UCLA, the International Institute leads to campus celebration, and I like to especially thank the amazing staff of the International Institute. Without them, this event and the whole week would not have been successful. Money Katherine, Christine, Peggy, Kevin, Chloe reader, some of them are not in this room because they are greeting people outside. Kaya Oliver Warren and many others, my friends, you're my rock and I think you this week highlights the immense value of International Education for us students, whether acquired through study abroad, or taking classes or doing research involving Intercultural Perspectives, language studies or internship, as well as the deep contributions made by students and scholars from other countries. And I know that there's at least one scholar from Sweden who's in the audience, I just invited him to come today. Emily Moreira, a senior at UCLA majoring in international development studies and minoring in French and linguistics, studied in Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea last winter and spring. Upon returning, she reflects, and I quote, I learned that country's languages and borders all come crashing down in the face of friendship with my classmates, she joined a music club in Seoul as well. Or even my friendships with other international students that young say having a true heart and being open to learning about each other's cultures, languages and way of life could overcome any obstacles and quote, so UCLA students or Bruins are truly optimistic. And we need more optimists in the world today. If you're interested in reading more of me story is on our website, you know, it's also on our social media. And I would also like to acknowledge the fact that UCLA is new. Executive Vice Chancellor Provost Daniel Hahn is also in the audience. Thank you for coming. This is only your third month, beginning of your third month feels like three years probably. You feel this mission is the creation, dissemination preservation and application of knowledge for the betterment of the global world, and for the global society, and by global society. We also include, of course, our local community. And this year's Global Conversation is a special collaboration between UCLA and the Los Angeles Consular Corps. And last time I checked, there are 97 consuls general in Los Angeles, and 63 of them are Korea diplomats. So Los Angeles is important in the world. And a number of consuls general and consular staff are in the audience. This afternoon. I'd like to welcome them and thank them for your partnership. And I would like to extend my deep gratitude to the LA Consular Corps executive committee. Many of them are sitting in the front here for supporting this event. And a special thanks to Honorary Consul, Abdullah, CIO of Morocco for initiating this idea of this event at UCLA. It is now my pleasure to introduce the Dean now at UCLA there are many Dean's, but there's also a dean I'm in the Consular Corps. My pleasure to introduce the dean of the LA Consular Corps and Consulate General of Romania the honorable cosmic Cosman to Majesco. As a senior diplomat of Romania on the West Coast of the United States, the main priority of Consul General Demetra school's mission is to increase the level of bilateral cooperation between Romania and United States. Previously, he served as Consul General of Romania in both tree as Italy, caster and caster Yun della planner, Spain. He is a law school and foreign languages and literature's graduate who holds a PhD in disaster and emergency situations management with expertise in energy security. Please welcome Dean and Consul General Dumitrescu.

Unknown Speaker 5:48

Thank you very much, Vice Chancellor fan and Chancellor Bach. Dean's Vice Chancellors honorable Consul General, dear friends, Professor students, I'm really really deeply honored to be here this evening. And to give this opening remarks on behalf of the Consular Corps of Los Angeles. Yes, Los Angeles is really important. This kind of representation, lax in many capitals of the world, that shows how much Los Angeles means for the international community. We are the executive committee, we've had a short meeting, before coming here and we exchanged some opinions about what am I going to do, I'm going to tell you about Los Angeles Consular Corps, or about the council's Los Angeles Consular Corps is only the third biggest organization of that kind in the world. That is, that's how important each and every nation that considers to be represented here shows their consideration about the relation with California in general or with the US West Coast. And these Consular Corps are only platforms, complex ones, platforms that give the opportunity of nations to come together and to become more compatible with their national interests. And that happens in an environment that is favorable. In this case given by Los Angeles. Many people ask about the consoles and other diplomats, what are these guys doing in their life with their profession? And many times we talk to universities or to companies or to friends or with our own constituents, and they ask us, What are you doing for your living? Now I am the head of a consular office. What are you doing there and the Consul General? What's that? That's a diplomatic presenting a foreign government. And that's the moment when you lose them. What foreign government and Hollywood is working. Ladies and gentleman, consults our diplomats. Usually they are career diplomats, and they are one of a kind, because they are not the diplomats that you see in the movies or on news that work only behind those in capitals that nobody knows what they're doing. You only see the results, good ones, sometime, no consoles or diplomas that are deeply rooted in reality. They are very active in trade, commerce and economy. And we should know that maybe many companies here in Los Angeles or in San Francisco in Seattle, or I don't know, are founded here, and they are providing jobs for Americans originating in the initial action of a council over foreign counsel that put together people from their country and from here from America for founding companies. And these companies are really contributing to the American economy. Many partnerships between universities started with two phone calls and two meetings organized by a counselor or Consul General. As a matter of fact, most of them usually happen that way. They start with a diplomatic or consular action. So it's not only about the money, it's also about innovation, about research and development, about academia. And usually we can find the best, the best playground for building relations with universities, because it's all about innovation. About people that can see the future in a good way, and about the students that are out there a delight when we're talking to them. That's why we're organizing with the Los Angeles Consular Corps, these kinds of gatherings. This is the public diplomacy event. This is where we come out as a group. And I'm so grateful to this wonderful group of 29 or 30, Consul General that are here right now. Thank you, thank you, dear colleagues, because he's really, really difficult to put together 30 countries coming from all over the world, I'm so grateful for the speakers today, I'm looking forward to to hearing what they are going to tell us about great topics, great topics, and then and I will close here, consoles are the ones that usually are the last resort the last person to help people in distress. We will be talking about global health or health issues about COVID-19. Usually, when we are dealing with disasters, as a health disaster happened, the consoles are the last one to look at what the first one to look at, when you would have no hope. They usually come in when everybody leaves where everybody wants out. And I only give you the example of the people that was saved from the cruise ships during the pandemic, the beginning of the pandemic, we had 10s of 1000s of people from all over the world, on the seas. And they were left there. Because they had the disease on the ship. And everybody was afraid. That was the moment when the consoles came in. That was the moment when groups of consoles work together, forcing some time, some companies to accept conditions. And I'm so grateful for the the Consular Corps here in Los Angeles, and for the American authorities that are worked in an exemplary way. And we saved a lot of people that will never meet us. That's the things that the council are doing for their citizens, and many others. But that remains for a future meeting. Thank you all. I'm again very grateful for you being here and taking our invitation.

Unknown Speaker 12:47

Thank you Dean and console. Then we dress go I have another name for the console generals and that is you are problem solvers. You solve a lot of problems. And thank you for being defense for doing that and for again, partnering with UCLA. And thank you for your remarks. At this time, I'd like to introduce UCLA Chancellor Gene block. A champion of high quality accessible public higher education gene block has served as Chancellor of UCLA since 2007. Under his leadership, UCLA has greatly enhanced his position. As a national leader in enrolling undergraduates who come from lower low income backgrounds have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education or are among the first in their families to go to college. During his tenure, UCLA has also become the most applied to university in the nation has events in rankings, in nearly every discipline, has significantly deepened is international partnerships, as well as engagement with alumni, and now receives more than $1.6 billion annually in research grants. And not on a more personal note, I feel extremely fortunate to be working with a chancellor, who is so committed to both global and local engagement. Please welcome Chancellor Jean block.

Chancellor Gene Block 14:07

Thank you, Vice Provost fan for the introduction. And once again, welcome to UCLA. It's great that you're here and it's great. You're here in person. And hopefully we're past the virtual parts of our lives and can gather regularly. It's like to offer my special welcome to the esteemed members of the LA counselor corps. It's actually been a number of years since we've gotten together and it's great to see you here. We know it's never easy to get to Westwood, we appreciate that. So we definitely appreciate you being here. So today's event offers us an opportunity to gain insights from a diverse array of leaders about the challenges affecting our global community. Bringing together such partners to unravel problems and develop solutions is one of the roles of a globally oriented public research university like UCLA. We are here for as a gathering place, a place for ideas, but a place for people to discuss those ideas most critically. We're no ivory tower set apart from society and absorbed in academic theorizing. Although we do some academic theorizing, UCLA is engaged with the City of Los Angeles, part of the fabric of our state and attuned to the needs of the world. We are a public university and with that comes a responsibility, obviously to society. UCL is International Institute and its 27 research centers and eight degree programs is a critical component of this, I'd like to offer thanks to Vice Provost fan, I'd like to say my favorite vice provost, I have to always be careful, there aren't others in the audience, but favorite Vice Provost for her leadership and her work in bringing us together today. And she really has been extraordinary. So my role in this afternoon's event is to lay the groundwork for the discussion that Vice Provost fan will lead with our four consul generals. That discussion will focus on addressing global issues in local contexts. So it's to set the stage I want to briefly introduce seven topics that I think are having a massive impact on our respective nations and the world at large. These really are common to all of us, I'd like to offer a peek into how UCLA is responding to some degree for a written response to some of these pressing issues. So let's begin with the economy. This is a time of persistent inflation, rising interest rates, declining real wages and rampant consumer anxiety. In the US, we're seeing mixed indicators as job growth slows, and as even as the economy slows, consumers continue to spend, continue to spend even as the housing market faces a dip. Perhaps most unnerving to us here in LA gas prices are at record highs, which of course for a city like LA has true impact. The economic picture is also bleak at the international level, supply chain issues which we're all facing Europe's energy crisis, the Russia Ukraine war, increased requests for support from the IMF, and currency fluctuations are all deeply troubling. Our panelists will no doubt have much to say on this topic, as the economic slowdown is affecting each of our countries in profoundly different ways. While we face mixed economic signals and competing opinions, it may be of interest to note that the UCLA Anderson Forecast a leading unbiased economic forecasting Unit here at our Anderson School of Management, predicts less than 50 a 50% chance of a US recession in the next 12 months. That is good news, and I hope he understands right, but only time will tell. The second theme I want to discuss is global health. The COVID 19 pandemic and its impact, as we all know is monumental. The disease and its Fallout upended our lives and help us grasp how vulnerable we are to large scale health emergencies. It also reminded us again how small this world is, and how interrelated we all are that this was really a great example of why we all have to work together. I serve as chair of the Association of Pacific Rim universities and next week in Bangkok will hold a forum on preventing the next pandemic. And this is in conjunction with the APEC summit, which is going to be held next week. Given the immense upheaval brought about by COVID-19 and the specter posed by monkeypox, Ebola, Marburg, and neglected tropical diseases. We all know the collaboration across boundaries across borders, and sectors will be critical. This is something we must do collectively in the world. The third theme I'd like to highlight is misinformation which those are university drives us crazy misinformation, a rise in the use of social media to intentionally mislead the public, coupled with the frightening skepticism of basic science and facts. This has shaken our society in the past several years. And it's truly frightening. It's really a disbelief in facts and inability even agree on what facts are. The ability to separate truth from fiction can have life and death consequences. We've seen that we've learned this so painfully during this pandemic, how misinformation can can lead to loss of life. The fourth challenge I want to highlight is mental health. Depression is one of the one of the greatest public health crises we face globally. It's the largest, it's the largest factor, actually, for people missing work and ending lives. It is the enormous challenge for all of us, because there's more than 1 million suicides a year around the world. So it's really tragic. Depressive disorders affect afflict. One in six men and one in four women so is extremely common, and it's a problem on all campuses, and it's much worse since we've been through this pandemic. Most pressingly, depression and anxiety symptoms in children adolescents have doubled during the pandemic. This is an area of particular concern for UCLA and to me, one of the major ways our university is addressing it is through a pro We call the depression Grand Challenge, a campus wide multidisciplinary initiative aimed at cutting Global Burden of depression in half by 2050 a truly bold effort to try to find the causes of depression and better therapies and we're very proud for the of the work we're doing there. A fifth crisis facing our world is often called is often it really called an existential one. And that is climate change. Every day we see examples of the dangers of climate change. The high cost of inaction is is truly incredible. The good news is that making sustainable choices is becoming more affordable, and green investments are becoming more lucrative. Researchers are also creating a revolution, some revolutionary technologies. It's just one example. Our engineering professor Gaurav Saad has developed methods to turn carbon into concrete. And you see, water is a medium for carbon removal. So there's a lot of innovation going on at universities around the world. And that will be helpful in dealing with this issue. The sixth topic I mentioned relates to technological competition. The International tug of war over technological dominance is a fierce one. We all know that technology is a national asset and a huge area of government investment. Something we're thinking a lot about at UCLA is quantum computing, computing built to solve complex problems that classical computers cannot. This is a focus of a major multidisciplinary collaboration here at UCLA, between the school of engineering division of physical sciences and industry partners. The US government is keenly interested in the power of quantum computing, as well, as are all nations. I think this is going on worldwide research. And again, this is an area of probably a challenge as we have to learn to share our technology in ways that help all of us. The seventh and final theme I want to offer is relevant to several of these topics. And that's education. The development of an educated populace that is technically adept and are able to flourish in a knowledgeable, knowledge based economy is increasingly essential to national competitiveness. But how we approach investments in education varies widely among nations around the globe, the economy, global health and the rise of misinformation, mental health struggles, climate change, and technological competition and investments in education. These are just a handful of the critical topics on the minds of world leaders. I'm sure that these themes will provide ample fodder for a robust discussion with our Consul generals today. As I mentioned earlier, in this presentation, part of UCLA public service mission is to be a convener. And this afternoon's event is a great example of this mission in action. And that's why I'm so thankful you're all here. I want to extend my thanks to all our partners, friends and guests for participating today. I hope you find the conversations both interesting and deeply illuminating. I certainly will. And thank you for being here. Appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker 22:58

Thank you, Chancellor for your remarks. The pressing global challenges that you just mentioned, affect each and every one of us and require us to work on both the global and the local scale to meet these challenges. So we will continue this conversation with our esteemed panel. As many as Chancellor block mentioned, we have four consuls general who will be joining our discussion this afternoon and panelists when I introduce you please feel free to come up to the stage. First is Consul General Marcela salario of Mexico. Consul General Marcelo Marcela Solorio is the first female graduate from the Escuela libre Dorado to become ambassador of Mexico. For more than 20 years she has served Mexico in his embassies in the United States, Israel, Belgium is mission to the EU European Union as well as his counselors in New York and San Diego. She holds master's degrees in diplomatic studies and national security and defense and an executive certificate in public leadership from Harvard University. Next is Consul General Julie Dr. petals of friends. Consulate General Julie Dr. Beddoes assumed her role as French Consul General of Los Angeles in September 2020. She is a career diplomat of the French Ministry of Europe and foreign affairs. Prior to her posting in Los Angeles she served as Deputy Head of mission in in Australia, and she's a graduate of St. Paul Paris and holds a degree in English. She received the distinction of night by the French National Order of Merit and next is Consul General Jane Duke of Australia. Consul General Duque was appointed Australian Consul General of Los Angeles in August 2020. Previously, she was Australia's ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Jakarta, and has served as Deputy High Commissioner in Malaysia and as counselor in Geneva. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies degree, and a Bachelor of Laws with honors from the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Technology Sydney, and last but not least, Consul General Akhmad Shahina of Egypt from 2017 to 2019. Consul General Archimate Shaheen served as Secretary General of the Egyptian agency of partnership for development or EAP. D. During his tenure, AAPD implemented more than 120 capacity programs for more than 4000 African trainees dispatched experts to more than 11 African countries and provided humanitarian and development assistance. Previously, he was appointed Consul General of Egypt, in Geneva, and in Milan, Consul General Shaheen graduated from Cairo University Bachelor of Science Faculty of commerce. With all these credentials, I am very humbled to have all of you to join this panel this afternoon.

Unknown Speaker 26:35

It is a great honor to be working with all four of you this afternoon. We have a lot to talk about. So let's get started. I have a few questions for all of you. And my first question is, do any of the challenges that Chancellor block just mentioned, resonate with your work as Consul General? And would you like to highlight any particular challenge or any challenges that are facing your respective countries? So let's start with Marcela.

Unknown Speaker 27:08

Thank you, Cindy. And thank you for the invitation. Thank you, very nice to see you again. I'm so sorry that I have missed all the meetings from the Consular Corps, because as you know, we have a very huge Mexican population here that we have to serve. And the issue that resonates was misinformation. And information also, for us, it has been very challenging, for example, that now Mexico accepts the dual nationality, but for more, up to 30 years. And nowadays, there are still people here, that they believe that if they become American citizens, they will lose everything, and they will lose their nationality. So that's the kind of information that we have to keep on providing, but misinformation, I think that it's a quite a big challenge among our community. Because, for example, during the COVID, 19, there were, you know, Mexicans were usually out of Medicaid, you know, and we go to the drugstore, and we buy medication and with the compiler to tell us what to do. And we do not trust the the science or the authorities. So we have to build confidence. And it was very, very challenging. And you mentioned before, during these times, we were, you know, serving the community, but we also became doctors in a way. We had a COVID-19 center Testing Center, we have the vaccines, we provide humanitarian assistance with a food pantries to the community. So there are 4000, almost 4 million souls Mexican souls in the Los Angeles jurisdiction. And with the other four consulates that we supervise, in Santa Ana, Oxnard, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Fresno, there are 10 million people, Mexican people and from Mexican descent. So for us is a great challenge to inform and to inform in an accurate manner and fight back misinformation.

Unknown Speaker 29:32

Thank you very much. This is indeed something that is that we're facing every day, not only in Mexico, not in Los Angeles, but really, throughout the world. Julie.

Unknown Speaker 29:44

Yes, thank you. This is really great to be here. Thank you so much. I really appreciated what our colleague Kuzmin has said about our work I think it's it's not a very well known job to be a diplomat and a console. So it I think he's described One was really accurate, about what we do. And we are in a privileged place between the global and the local. We work abroad from our country, we represent our country's interests. We defend our country's foreign policy on all those global issues. But we live here. And we are here to develop the local dimension of our national policy, our foreign policy. So we are really in the middle of this global and local. So I'm very happy you chose this, this, this approach, because this is really what we do on a daily basis. So this is really great about the topics that you have mentioned. And and thank you for this powerful introduction. I might just touch upon global health and technology to start with, because for those you have, we know, as diplomats that those global issues need global collaboration. And once you've said that, what do we do with who do we work. So this is also a work we do as consoles and Cosmin was also mentioning the, the role we have in putting people together and in doing in matching the right people together. And this is about cooperation. So that's what we do here. France has the US is France, first scientific partner. So scientific collaboration is really what I would like to insist upon, because that's really what we do here. This is one of our priorities here. And we are lucky to have the most one of the best. We are both two research nations, I would say with high level scientific researchers. So we work along a lot together, we have a national dialogue on on the priorities we should work together on. And among them, the priorities that have been identified is global health and, and notably, pandemic preparedness, how we will prepare, as you said to the next pandemic, mental health as well. And then the environmental issues, how do we tackle with climate change with climate change mitigation, we have a focus on hydrogen, there is really coming a huge, huge issue for French American collaboration. And then technology, we have a huge collaboration as well in quantum computing. And UCLA is one of our partners for that with our National Center for Research Science Center has, but also artificial intelligence, of course. So those issues are really where consult can bring something to find the right research universities in both countries and how they can work together on those issues. That's what we concretely do, put those people together. But we also try to find the right funding because of course, you need funding to the research. So we're trying to get the best co funding. And then we also are here to facilitate exchange programs between researchers, PhDs, postdocs, students, of course, so this is a big part of our of what we do. And the second topic I'd like to mention is education. This is one of our priorities in the US. And when I say education, it is of course, learning French, but also promoting multilingualism. This is one of our top priority, not just French, but foreign languages. We have noticed that students here from K 12 and higher education are enrolled in foreign language courses at about 20% level 20% of the students are are having foreign language courses. The number in Europe is 83%. So this is one of our priorities here to develop French courses and but not French courses as a privilege, but as a as a basic right as something very accessible. So we have a program to develop French in public schools, from K to 12. And that is with our bilingual fund, where we can bring those to those schools, some grants, but also some language assistance to bring some stuff in the public schools. We have now more than 200 bilingual programs in American public schools. And two of them are here in LA so we want really to develop this program. And I have to say that UCLA has helped us because you have this bilingual authorization which is a two week training specifically for teachers from K to 12. Who would like to be part of this French bilingual program in part Big School. So you are part also of this. This priority.

Unknown Speaker 35:05

Thank you, Judy, such a honor to be a partner with with with friends. And you mentioned collaboration. And UCLA also actually has a dual degree program with Siemens, polio and malaria. So I think you touched upon many challenges that Chancellor block had mentioned. Thank you very much. And Jane.

Unknown Speaker 35:26

Thanks very much, Cindy. And I think it was a terrific introduction by our dean of our Consular Corps. And Chancellor block. Thank you for highlighting so many of the challenges that we're all facing. And to complement my colleagues, I'll focus on two different issues. One is the economic headwinds that we're facing, and climate change as well. So like, the United States, Australia is also seeing many of the same challenges on inflation, cost of living pressures, cost of gas, energy security, and what that means for our economy. We have been in the fortunate position for the last 30 years of enjoying pretty much uninterrupted economic growth. And while we're only a country of 26 million people, we're the world's 12th largest economy. And we're a member of the G 20. And APEC. And because we will put a lot of emphasis on our successes because we embrace free trade. We're outward looking, we have a network of some 16, free trade agreements with countries in our region. And we're seen as a reliable, robust and economic partner. And we have a free trade agreement with United States and our trade and investment relationship within trade. It's doubled over the course of the free trade, free trade agreements existence over the 15 years, and to an investment has tripled. So it's an economic relationship worth over $2.2 trillion. And bringing that down to the local level. And what we do at consulates is our dean of our Consular Corps said at the opening was we work with trade and investment partners to sustain and support that relationship. And that's that that's what will get us through. We think that's why we emphasize our partnerships. Here, particularly in California, the world's fourth largest economy, it's got so many strengths, and so many synergies for us. And it's why we're engaged in the Biden administration's Indo Pacific Economic Partnership. And I was pleased to welcome our Minister for Trade and Tourism here in Los Angeles in September, for the first imperson ministerial meeting of that group. And they're dealing with issues like supply chains, like the digital economy, like decarbonizing our economies, like infrastructure. And so these are really important issues. And it's because of partnerships like this, that we can overcome the supply chain challenges. And just by way of example, baby formula has been a challenge here in the United States. But through our partnership with the United States, we're able to facilitate an Australian company Bob's, and Bellamy's to provide urgent baby baby formula here in the United States. That's just an example of how some of these partnerships can work, what embassies what counselors can do to make calls to facilitate these these opportunities. And then on climate change, again, like the United States, and here in California, we're in Australia, we have many similar challenges, we face the same wildfires, challenges we in increasing frequency, we have challenges in managing cycles of drought, sustainable water management. We have at the moment, a period of floods, which is affecting many of our crops, and devastating our wildlife. But we've had an ongoing partnership with California in particular, exchanging expertise on how to fight fires and how to deal with water. Our parliamentarians have had long standing exchanges to learn from each other about water management and sustainability. And so it's in this context that the Australian Government we've recently had a new government, they've legislated to a commitment to 43% below 2005 levels. At the moment, there's cop 27 In Egypt, and our government has made a bid to host cop 31 Because we know we can't manage the challenges and meet our own ambitions without international partnerships. We've got a with the United States a netzero partnership at the federal level. And recently, our Minister for Climate Change, met Governor Newsom, and agreed to collaborate further on climate change. And again, building out that at the local level with what we do. There's partnerships with the University of California system with Australia's chief, and peak science and research, partnership organization, looking at water, monitoring water and how we use technology to again, build out the opportunities of learning through research and development to manage some of these challenges. So thank you very much Chancellor block for outlining some of these challenges. They're all very relevant, but just to build out on some of the different ones. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 40:43

Thank you so much, Jane, I think you also emphasize partnership and problem solving something that your dean has just mentioned earlier. So I think those are really common things. So how can we partner to solve problems together? Thank you. And, of course, Ahmed,

Unknown Speaker 41:04

thank you very much. Thank you very much. Blog. I just feel like that my colleagues have already covered so many things. So I feel a little bit. Anyhow, I want to react on to things. Chancellor Brock mentioned about the economy, the slowdown in the economy, and about climate change. We all know that the Fed has been raising interest rates in an unprecedented pace. In the last few months, people are believing that something will will break. There is something that we all know that fed focus on two things, inflation and the labor market. I always follow Dr. Mohamed El Erian. He's a very famous American Gyptian. Figure. We always see him in CNBC and all the media and he's the president of the Collins College in Cambridge. He always brings something new to the table and discuss the Fed policy, which is the risk to the financial stability. And we've all seen the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan have they intervened to save the bond and currency market and they failed. So there isn't a question mark, regarding the financial stability. Why I'm saying this, because the other side of it is the appreciation of the dollar. And this is something maybe the developing countries like Egypt, it's a big challenge for them. Egypt probably might be the third largest importer of wheat. And our two main sources of wheat was Russia and Ukraine. So it is a big challenge. Nevertheless, because we had in the last few years in Egypt, we had a very successful economic and financial reforms. I think the Egyptian economy is very resilient to such challenges on the climate change, just one note, global warming is a very serious threat. In Egypt, it's estimated that our current law schools, including our very famous Alexandria city, will totally disappear by year 2100. And, of course, this is due to the increase of the sea water level. And it is something that is really very serious. Africa has the lowest share of global greenhouse gas emission at only 3.8. Yet, it is the most effective continent. Africa receives less than 5.5% of climate finance. We hope in in chama chi, Kok 27 will seriously address the issue of finance, and lay down a roadmap where we can implement whatever agreements and Africa would find the finance to fight its battle against climate

Unknown Speaker 44:27

change. Thank you, Ahmed. And I think you pose a challenge to all of us and how, and that is this is an interconnected world. How do we make sure that our solutions to these global challenges are inclusive solutions and equitable solutions? Since we are at UCLA So my next question to our esteemed panelists, is how do you see roe of higher education institutions. For the things that you care about for the challenges that you mentioned, and especially how can you feel they help? I mean, you've already mentioned some some examples. But would you be able to kind of advise us a little bit more and how researchers and faculty and students can step up to the plate to help

Unknown Speaker 45:29

you want me

Unknown Speaker 45:31

any anyone?

Unknown Speaker 45:33

Well, first, I would like to say that the Mexico's foreign policy is quite unique regarding protection, the protection function, because we have evolved in such a ways that I couldn't imagine when I started my diplomatic career. And nowadays, we have different offices that had to do with health, with mental health, with finance, and with education. So that's not in the Vienna Convention. But we're doing it because the our population, our community demands it. And we have great allies. And among those great allies, we have UCLA. And I think that we we can support these, this endeavor in the event, Daniella Lucasian in the dedication of Office bringing information, as I mentioned before, to our community, about their options, something that we have to keep in mind is that we are neighbors, but we have different languages, different culture, different systems, different education systems. So when the Mexicans come here, is very difficult for their parents to get to navigate the educational system in the United States, even when you have a grade here is an A A or a B, or a C, or even a D. And but when you go to, to Mexico is numbers. So this is like shocking for the children and for the parents. And so it's small things, but that can make the difference. So I would suggest that we can work in how to provide this very important information to the community, and how to navigate, for example, is UCLA. But well, what does UCLA can do for you? Or what you how you can get into the UCLA system? What do you need? So those are the things that we're working on. But still, there's a lot to do.

Unknown Speaker 47:58

Got it? I'm taking notes. Thank you. And you one wants to

Unknown Speaker 48:04

know, I might just insist on the scientific collaboration, again, we have wonderful partnerships and those global issues needs to both research. And this can be done with different countries and different universities, because they all have assets, they all have strengths. And then they can unite and work on different issues. But then there is also raising awareness among the public. So this is also a contribution that universities can, can can bring. We organized earlier in the year, some French American climate talks on biodiversity with experts, this was in Tucson but also in San Francisco and Vancouver. So it was a gathering of experts on biodiversity and the threats on biodiversity. But there was also an aspect of outreach, because there was a public Of course, and the idea was to raise awareness among the public about biodiversity, how can we protect marine biodiversity and others so I think there is also this aspects once you have research collaboration, then you can also have you can also share with the public what your research is about so that your awareness is you know, you have more awareness in the public on those issues.

Unknown Speaker 49:27

Absolutely. I agree with that. Absolutely. And public engagement is a is a big part of what UCLA does as well. So happy to partner with consuls general Jain in

Unknown Speaker 49:39

at a couple of levels. Firstly at the People to People level having those student exchanges always formed such an important bond between our countries that are very hot. It's about people and the relationships that are formed over a lifetime and having a student having an exchange in another country. makes an incredible tie and bond and many others alumni form lifelong networks through that university experience. So those exchanges are fundamental to strong partnerships. And I know that UCLA have many of those with all of our consulates. I think also at the University exchange and relate and partnership level university to university exchanges. And partnerships are really vital. And at, at the r&d level, the partnerships and the learnings that we can have from the Centers of Expertise that is within UCLA and Chancellor block mentioned quantum, that's a really significant, important issue. And what we're working very closely with the United States on, we have our own expertise, but we always learn from each other. And there's so much and it's so fast developing, that being able to have more more engagement and cooperation, and the links with the private sector as well. I think that's something that American universities do extremely well, is their r&d partnerships with industry, it's something that Australia's model is a little bit different. And we can learn a lot from, and especially around development of technologies dealing with sustainability. And again, Chancellor block mentioned this. And that's something that I think we can all learn from and encourage further partnerships. So whether it's from how we use water, how do we have green technology, green hydrogen, for instance, and other green energy sources, more affordable, be able to be mass produced at scale, those Centers of Expertise are often within universities, like UCLA, and that's something that we'd really love to be working more closely on solutions for our future.

Unknown Speaker 51:49

Think Thank you, Jane. And you mentioned student exchange. And in the US, among undergraduates, only 10% of American undergraduate study abroad at UCLA is about 25%. But still, you know, another 75% If we could get more of our students studying abroad. I think that will that will really help. So thank you for pointing that out. And Ahmed?

Unknown Speaker 52:12

Yes. We, we had a very successful project with UCLA last year. Last year, and over the course of six months is that Consulate of Egypt in Los Angeles had a very strong collaboration with UCA in the form of organizing 10 webinars on water crisis on the Nile River Basin, organized by the UCLA School of Engineering, and UCLA Center of African Studies. I want to spare all the audience the political and scientific and historical debate that took over this very interesting meetings, which was very widely attended from participants all over the world, not only from Africa. But I want to say that, that this project, and this webinar was gave participants from Egypt, from Sudan, from Ethiopia from other countries, the plate for the platform to discuss and exchange views in a very official manner. So it's it was a really a very successful project and definitely we want to build on that the next year and see how can we involve with UCLA in in the other project and this is typically relates to global, the title global problems and local solutions.

Unknown Speaker 53:53

Thank you very much for your partnership.

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Duration: 53:56