Dayton, a city nestled in the heart of Ohio, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of international connections. However, this vibrant city has forged strong ties with various parts of the world, cementing its position as a global player. Recently, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition had the opportunity to travel to Dayton to showcase the city’s international reach, engaging in conversations with Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr., City Commissioner Matt Joseph, Shelley Inglis, the University of Dayton Human Rights Center recent executive director, and Cargill’s Trishia Hauck. Our immersive community tour of Dayton illustrated the city’s global connectivity and shed light on its significance as a model for other cities seeking to foster global connections and cultural exchange.
The Dayton Peace Accords and Dayton’s International Connections
As we began our community tour, we were honored to meet with City Commissioner Matt Joseph who also is Chair of the Welcome Dayton Committee and on the board of the Dayton Sister Cities Committee. While working at the University of Dayton, he had the opportunity to become involved with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Dayton Peace Accords. The Dayton Peace Accords, signed in 1995, marked a crucial turning point in the Balkans conflict, bringing an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This historic agreement, negotiated right here in Dayton, firmly established the city as a symbol of peace and diplomacy. City Commissioner Joseph stated that Dayton’s importance in the peace accords was a unique role for a city to play and further explained that Dayton has not taken their foot off the pedal when it comes to global engagement.
During our conversation with Commissioner Joseph, he stated, “In the short term it might not be evident, but in the long term it is vital for Dayton to be globally connected.” One of the important ways Dayton stays connected to the world is through its sister cities program. Sister cities are formal partnerships established between cities in different countries to promote cultural exchange, economic cooperation, and mutual understanding. Dayton boasts several sister cities, including Augsburg, Germany; Holon, Israel; Monrovia, Liberia; and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. These partnerships offer unique opportunities for cultural immersion, educational exchanges, and economic collaborations, opening doors for Dayton residents to engage with the wider world.
Dayton’s sister cities serve as gateways to diverse cultures and help bridge the geographical divide, cultivating an atmosphere of global citizenship right in the heart of the city.
Mayor of Dayton Explores the City’s Thriving Global Connections
During our tour of Dayton, we had the opportunity to speak with Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. about Dayton’s role in the world and its transformation into a thriving melting pot. The mayor expressed the significance of the city’s international relationships, emphasizing how they provide an invaluable platform for sharing skills and culture with individuals from around the globe. Drawing from his background as a teacher prior to his term in office, the mayor highlighted the importance of having people from diverse backgrounds within the community. The mayor’s passion for embracing diversity and his recognition of the immense value it brings to the community was evident throughout our insightful conversation.
The University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center: Empowering Change Locally, Globally, and Beyond
In our interview with Shelly Inglis, the former executive director of the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center, we gained valuable insights into the profound importance of their center to the city, the university, and the world at large. Shelly Inglis explained that “students at the Human Rights Center are transformed in terms of their awareness, cultural competency, and their ability to understand the issues.” The Human Rights Center stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment, championing justice, equality, and dignity for all. Within the university, it serves as a catalyst for research, education, and advocacy, inspiring students, and faculty to become agents of social transformation. Beyond the confines of the university and city, the center’s impact extends globally through its partnerships, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts. By tackling critical human rights challenges and engaging with communities worldwide, the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center is actively contributing to a more just and equitable world.
Cargill Grain Facility: Exporting Dayton’s Resources to the World
Our journey concluded with a visit to the Cargill grain facility, a bustling hub of activity that underscores Dayton’s importance as an international exporter. Cargill’s presence in the city highlights Dayton’s capacity to contribute to the global supply chain. The facility’s operations involve the exportation of materials that reach destinations far beyond Ohio’s borders. We spoke with Trishia Hauck, director of operations at Dayton’s Cargill facility, and she shared how important Dayton’s connection to the world is for their company. Trisha explained the significance of Cargill’s international connections when she shared that “Cargill produces sweeteners and animal feed products that require a strong supply chain connectivity to both our raw materials and customers local and abroad.”
Trishia also underscored the importance of development programs when she stated that “Cargill strongly believes that supporting sustainable development is not just the right thing but it’s in the best interests of the U.S. agriculture industry across the Heartland.” Through its connections with international markets, the Cargill grain facility demonstrates that what happens globally matters locally and showcased Dayton’s economic significance on an international scale.
The community tour in Dayton provided an illuminating glimpse into the city’s remarkable global connections, showcasing the intertwined nature of the business community, higher education institutions, and civic leadership. From the bustling business ventures, like the Cargill grain facility which exports materials to distant corners of the world, to the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center where they are championing justice and equality on a global scale, the tour painted a vivid picture of Dayton’s impact beyond its borders.
Dayton’s global connections are not merely symbolic; they are tangible and transformative, empowering the community to thrive in an interconnected world. This immersive experience left a lasting impression, underscoring the significance of Dayton’s global engagement in shaping a brighter future for all.