Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez will travel to Israel on Sunday to participate in Project Interchange, a six-day leadership and educational seminar. The Mayor will join a delegation of mayors and municipal leaders from U.S. metropolitan areas - including Houston, Cincinnati, Portland and St. Paul - who were also selected to participate in the program.
Founded in 1982, Project Interchange is an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee that brings policy makers and opinion leaders to Israel for a week of intensive, hands-on learning. Topics to be covered include Israel's complex political landscape, approach to municipal management and the country's forward-looking economic development efforts.
The itinerary includes scheduled meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Also scheduled are meetings with Better Place Company, a global provider of electric vehicle networks and services; a panel discussion with representatives of Israeli clean-tech and renewable energy companies; and a site visit to the Palmachim Desalination Plant.
The Mayor will be joined in Israel by Miami-Dade County Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt, who oversees major economic development issues for the County. Importantly, the trip will not be funded by taxpayer dollars. All costs associated with the seminar are covered by the host organization or by the participants. Mayor Gimenez accepted the invitation to participate in Project Interchange over a month ago, and was recommended to the organization by Miami business leader Norman Braman.
"I'm excited to join fellow U.S. Mayors in Israel for what will undoubtedly be an informative and productive seminar," said Mayor Gimenez. "Israel and South Florida share a strong bond, and I look forward to further strengthening our cultural ties and fostering new bilateral economic development opportunities that will positively impact Miami-Dade County."