Alan Solomont, the U.S. ambassador to Spain, yesterday opened the first Convention of Participants in the International Visitors Leadership Program to the U.S. Embassy at a meeting organized by the embassy, the VIA-Jefferson Circle and the Alumni Association of the State Department in Spain. More than 140 participants in one of the State Department’s most important exchange programs took part in in a series of round-table discussions on IESE’s Madrid campus. The discussions centered on Spanish-U.S. relations from the point of view of civil society, economics and international relations.
The ambassador talked about the importance of the exchange programs and reminded his audience of “the ongoing relationship between Europe and the United States, which is not just based on trade and politics but on the continuous exchange of peoples.” He told them they were “the connection between the two countries, in business, politics and culture and are proof of the real impact that cultural and educational exchanges can have.”
The participants included Bruce Stokes, director of World Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center, Javier Gomá, director of the Fundación Juan March; Lucía Zavala, director-general of Junior Achievement; Antonio Núñez, director of the department of social policy in the Spanish government; José Folgado, president of Red Eléctrica; Jaime García-Legaz, secretary of state for commerce; José María de Areilza, general-secretary of the Aspen Institute España; José Ramón García, executive secretary of international relations of the Partido Popular; Juan Luis Cebrián, managing director of Grupo Prisa; Francisco Iniesta, dean of IESE in Madrid and Vicente López-Ibor, president of VIA- Jefferson Circle. Also present were Massimo Cugussi, secretary-general of ENAM (European Network of Alumni Associations) and Pascal Dupeyrat, the secretary-general of the Jefferson Circle in France.
The International Visitors Leadership Program is the U.S. State Department’s main exchange program.