All across the Heartland, local leaders are recognizing the importance and positive impacts of American global engagement in local communities. An example of such a leader is Mayor Steve Patterson, who has been mayor of Athens, Ohio since 2016 and is leading the charge in advocating for American leadership around the globe. Athens is packed with a richness of public art, tasty eats, unique finds, and historic adventures, and enjoys a diverse and aesthetically beautiful culture.
Mayor Patterson is proud of his city’s global connections and cultural exchange programs. These programs lead to shared research and development projects between cities.
Athens is also home to Ohio University, a large public research university in Athens, Ohio. The university hosts 1,363 international students representing 116 countries. These international students are important to the university and the Athens community. International students enrich learning environments with their different cultural perspectives. In addition to having a diverse campus, diversity in the classroom helps to make Ohio University unique. International students don’t just keep our schools succeeding, they help our economy thrive. International students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contribute $1.2 billion to Ohio’s economy and support more than 400,000 jobs.
As the world continues to recover from the global pandemic’s resulting economic downturn, Athens’ economy is of vital importance and investments in development and diplomacy help keep Ohio’s economy strong. In today’s interconnected world, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders. Business exports have never been more important to our economy. Athens Mold and Machine and Stirling Ultracold are two companies shipping products around the world and provide valuable jobs to citizens of Athens. Jackie O’s Brewing Company also exports their beer all over the world while bringing the profits back to the Athens community. Cargill is also a company invested in Ohio with a grain facility a few miles east of Athens in Chillicothe, where farmers drop off their goods to be shipped around the country and the world. As Mayor Patterson stated in the video above, these global connections are critical to the economy and the way of life in Athens.
In Athens, we see a community forged by the promise of the American Dream and defined by its community’s close ties to the rest of the world. From the business world to a community in touch with its roots, Athens shines bright as a beacon in a globally engaged American Heartland.