---- — The Indy Chamber led a delegation of nearly 100 business and community leaders to Cologne, Germany, for an in-depth, interactive, study of civic, business, educational, and cultural similarities and opportunities between Indianapolis and the German city.
The trip is the first international trip led by the Indy Chamber as part of its annual Leadership Exchange program.
“Each year, Leadership Exchange presents an opportunity to study the successes of other cities and interact with local leaders across all sectors. This effectively positions us to then have significant conversations about where we want our city to be in 5, 10, and 25 years,” said Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO. “I am thankful for the willingness of so many of our community and business leaders to join us.”
Brian Payne, president of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the title sponsor of the Leadership Exchange trip, said, “This trip is important not only because of the new ideas and programs we will consider in Cologne, but because the group that is attending represent many of the thought leaders and decision makers in Indianapolis. As a co-chair of this trip, I am excited about the opportunity that this trip presents for taking Indianapolis to the next level.”
The program includes sessions on global trade initiatives, education and workforce development, the Cologne business model for trade shows and conventions, placemaking, and the strategic use of waterways, bike paths, and mass transit as economic drivers, and German energy initiatives.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Indianapolis and Cologne, lending the trip a special level of significance. The Cologne Chamber of Commerce assisted in the planning of the trip, which includes opportunities to meet with the Lord Mayor of Cologne and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany.
Trip delegates departed Sept. 21 from Indianapolis and return Sept. 26. Mayor Greg Ballard will join the delegation from Sept. 22-25. Prior to his arrival in Cologne, he will visit Bolloré in Paris, France, to discuss planning for the company’s forthcoming car-share program in Indianapolis.
Upon departing Cologne, Ballard will travel to Piran, Slovenia, and Monza, Italy, becoming the first Indianapolis mayor to have visited all eight sister cities while in office. All costs for the mayor’s trip are coordinated through the Indy Chamber; no taxpayer dollars are used.
Follow the latest updates on the trip on Twitter at @IndyChamber and #GlobalIndy.