Southeastern welcomes Columbian delegates

On Thursday, April 14, Columbian delegates, both governmental and business leaders, visited Southeastern for a conference about various topics, with the program entitled “Government and Governance in the 21st Century.”  The delegates not only visited the university, but New Orleans and the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge from April 11-13, concluding with meetings on campus at Southeastern.

For the event, many leaders were on hand to speak, including Andrew D. Kopplin; the deputy mayor and chief administrative officer, Jeronimo Uribe; president of Ecoefiencia-Columbia and retired Lt. General Russel Honore.  At Southeastern, Mayor of Hammond, Mayson Foster, the Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Randy Settoon and Dr. Aristides R. Baraya, the director of the Hispanic Business and Leadership Institute presented the delegates with keys to the city of Hammond.      

“Well, it’s always a pleasure for me to be able to meet with groups that come in to the university,” said Foster.  “We’ve had a number of them from Columbia, some of them from Panama, and Dr. Baraya always does a terrific job of organizing the program.”

The program was sponsored by the Hispanic Business and Leadership Institute or, led by Dr. Baraya here on campus.  The institute tries to promote growth in Hispanic businesses and further the competitiveness in the global market.  Some of their goals include facilitating “educational opportunities for Louisiana’s Hispanic youth” and “to provide a permanent forum for the Hispanic community” on topics relating to business, politics and social issues.

“I was just telling some of the members that they were here at the perfect time to see government in operation in the Unites States of America,” said Foster, “because they almost saw government shutdown, they got to see the legislature in action, plus they got to see how we redistrict and take our population and separate it so that we can continue our democratic society.”

Of the various speakers, Foster summed up the day’s proceedings and how the Hammond area was a great example for the Columbian delegates to view the types of programs we use to further our local businesses.

“What I wanted to tell them about was all of the things we have going on at the local basis; our wetlands assimilation project, I wanted to talk about the fact that we’re about to have wi-fi across 70 percent of the city, we are about to move forward with fiber [optics] throughout the city, because this group is particularly interested in technology and we wanted to share some of that with them.”

For further information about the Hispanic Business and Leadership Institute, contact Dr. Baraya at 985-549-2019 or by e-mail at [email protected]