Yesterday, USGLC’s field team traveled to South Carolina to host educational events in Columbia and in the Greenville/Spartanburg area. Policy Director John Glenn was the guest speaker at both events. The theme was the impact of the international affairs budget on business in South Carolina. The event in Columbia was attended by prominent members of our South Carolina Advisory Committee as well as a number of people connected with the Columbia World Affairs Council. Given the high presence of the military in the Columbia area, the focus of the question and answer period focused a lot on how engaged the military was with promoting a smart power approach. One individual who best summed up the feelings of those gathered said “I would rather send our dollars overseas than our boys.” As a whole, those in attendance were very well engaged in the international affairs world and were interested to know how they could further promote such a smart power approach here in South Carolina.
Dr. Glenn did not have to work hard to show those gathered at the BMW Zentrum in the Greenville/Spartanburg area the impact of foreign investment in their area. The area has the highest foreign direct investment per capita in the entire nation. The event was cosponsored by the Riley Institute and had representatives from a wide range of companies and fields including GE, Michelin and BMW. The discussion afterward focused on a wide variety of topics from new approaches within the State Department to how to make the case for an increased international affairs budget given the economic realities of the time. The evening ended with a dinner with the Mayor of Greenville, a member of our South Carolina Advisory Committee, to learn about what the city is doing to attract more foreign investment.