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Publisher's Note

FULL CIRCLE. CONNECTING IN COLOMBIA.

Allow me to get somewhat personal. It was about one year and five months ago when I embarked on the entrepreneurship journey with VIVA NOLA Magazine.

For years, I’ve followed the economic development work of Greater New Orleans, Inc., and I thought their exploratory missions to Panama and England were so interesting, but due to my previous jobs, it was something that I felt did not apply to me.

This year, they picked Colombia as the destination and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It was going to be the merging of my two homes! I was born and raised in Colombia and have lived in New Orleans for almost 20 years. The possibility of me going on this trade mission representing my company and my city in my home country was somewhat surreal.

The event became even more memorable to me, because this trade mission provided an opportunity to connect in Colombia with a group of extraordinary New Orleanians. Getting to know them and watching some of them overcome a slight fear of visiting a country with troubled history was incredible. It was even more special to see them experiencing the current reality of this nation and appreciating the fact that it is formed by mostly proud, resilient, innovative, and kind citizens.

During the visit, we got to see interesting strategies and approaches Colombians have taken to overcome obstacles in different industries. From crime, transportation, trade, education and technology, there were many pointers that each member of the delegation could take back to apply in their own field back in Louisiana.

For me, as the Colombian in the delegation, it was a joyful experience to see everyone learning firsthand about my culture and enjoying their time in Bogotá.  I feel extremely lucky to have been part of this delegation. I was definitely a proud Colombian and a proud New Orleanian and I hope great things will develop in both places from the international exchange.

AnaMaria