Wednesday, March 10th might have seemed like a typical day in the City of Dayton—but it actually marked our first-ever Global Engagement Day. Mayor Whaley issued this proclamation in celebration of our unique connection to the world and if you look at our city’s rich history, you’ll understand why.
Since the 1870s, Dayton’s innovators and creatives have produced thousands of inventions—from airplanes to cash registers and digital clocks—that are now used every day by millions of people worldwide and are essential for international travel and commerce. Wherever you are in the world, whenever you open a soda can or start a car’s ignition, you can thank a Dayton inventor!
As a leader in Dayton’s business community, I’ve seen how these global connections drive economic growth in our region. Local businesses export manufactured products—everything from aerospace parts to computer speakers—and other goods to markets overseas, employing over 44,000 people and bringing $4.7 billion into our economy, while dozens of international companies have set up their U.S. operations in town, investing in our community and creating thousands of jobs. U.S. agencies have also worked alongside Ohio companies to represent their interests overseas—financing over $2 billion in exports through the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank since 2014 and investing $1.4 billion in emerging markets through the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) since 1971.
Ohio’s economy is also supported by the 37,000 international students enrolled at Ohio’s colleges and universities—including the University of Dayton—who enrich student life, advance cutting-edge research, and add over $1.3 billion in revenue for our state.
Dayton has also played an important role in encouraging peace and cooperation in our community and beyond—most notably as part of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995, when American officials and diplomats brought leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina here to broker peace between the two countries and ultimately end the Bosnian War. We also promote greater global stability through the over 7,700 Peace Corps volunteers from Dayton and across Ohio who have helped communities in developing countries to address health, poverty, and other issues, while also helping to build goodwill abroad and strengthen our alliances.
The ongoing pandemic has only underscored the importance of these connections for Dayton, as well as the entire country. COVID-19 is impacting the lives of all Americans, from our health and livelihoods to our economic security. But we’re not the only ones reeling—this is hurting everyone everywhere, especially developing countries, where rising levels of hunger, poverty, and disease are creating humanitarian crisis and disrupting global stability. If we are to recover from the pandemic here, we must work together with our partners, allies, and others to end the pandemic everywhere and support the world’s health and economic recovery.
Throughout Dayton’s history, we’ve embraced our global partnerships to enrich our own community and positively impact others around the world. Even though Global Engagement Day happens once a year, we can see the outcomes of our global engagement all around Dayton—and that is something worth celebrating, whether it’s March 10th or any other day of the year.
Angelia Erbaugh is President of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association and a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Ohio Advisory Committee.