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Belmont Hosts Foreign Ambassadors for ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit of Nashville’ Discussion

Fowler shares insights on state of music business in Music City

Mirpuri

Mirpuri

This week 22 foreign ambassadors representing countries spanning six continents were welcomed to Nashville on a tour sponsored by the State Department. Intended toengage the ambassadors with prominent business and community leaders as well as local entrepreneurs, the group of dignitaries paid a visit to Belmont University Thursday morning as part of an event organized by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Health Care Council and Belmont.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher welcomed the special guests to campus, noting, “It’s exciting for us to have you here. You’ve come to a campus of 7,300 students representing every state in the U.S. and 38 countries, including some of yours… During your time in Nashville, you’ll hear that we’re Music City and that we’re a healthcare capital, but you’re also hearing from me that we’re a higher education city. We are approaching 100,000 higher education students here in Middle Tennessee at the various colleges and universities in this region.”

Following a welcome by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean—who jokingly encouraged the ambassadors to “feel free to spend all you want. You need those cowboy boots!”— His Excellency Ashok Mirpuri, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore, took the podium to express his gratitude on behalf of the visitors. “Thank you to the city of Nashville for such a warm welcome. You have been gracious hosts, and thank you for being so open with the world. You are truly a globalized city.”

Mayor Dean addresses the crowd.

Mayor Dean addresses the crowd.

After the morning reception and networking opportunity, the ambassadors enjoyed a panel discussion moderated by Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. Schulz introduced Nashville Entrepreneur Center COO Sam Lingo and Belmont Associate Professor of Economics and Music Business Dr. Jennifer Fowlerfor a conversation and Q&A session on the city’s business strengths, including the health care and music industries.

Fowler said, “The ambassadors were very engaged and interested in many aspects of the Nashville and Tennessee economies and I really enjoyed the opportunity to share information about Nashville and the Belmont community.”

The ambassadors represented a wide range of countries, from Bangladesh and Barbados to Egypt, Iceland, Monaco, Peru, Sweden and Togo, among others. The goals of their trip to Music City included to seek to build new economic partnerships, and learn about the unique culture of Nashville and the many benefits of doing business here, in one of the fastest-growing economies in the United States.

Other stops on the ambassadors tour Oct. 29-31 included the Grand Ole Opry, the Hermitage, the Governor’s Mansion, the set of ABC television show “Nashville,” the Country Music Hall of Fame, Vanderbilt University and the Nissan Manufacturing Plant.

The Department of State’s Office of the Chief of Protocol led the Nashville tour, which is the latest in a series called Experience America. This is the 15th Experience America trip and 11th since the beginning of the Obama Administration. Since 2009, more than 100 countries have participated in Experience America trips. Previous destinations include Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Miami, and Seattle as well as multiple cities in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Texas, and Wyoming. The program is funded entirely through public-private partnerships.