Students' Learning Enhanced at Palm Beach Strategic Forum

As day two of the International Economic Forum of the Americas’ Palm Beach Strategic Forum turned to the topics of energy and international trade on Tuesday, leading experts from the United States and abroad spoke about the future in terms of new partnerships, improved communication and advances in technology.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was one of the luncheon speakers. PBA was the Education Sponsor for the Palm Beach Strategic Forum.
After his luncheon address, Jose Miguel Insulza (left), the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), sat down for a question-and-answer session with John Yearwood, world editor for the Miami Hearld. Palm Beach Atlantic University was the education sponsor for the event.
After his luncheon address, Jose Miguel Insulza (left), the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), sat down for a question-and-answer session with John Yearwood, world editor for the Miami Hearld.

“We have to be able to move our goods and our people” in a way that is efficient, timely and safe, said Port of Miami Director Bill Johnson, speaking as part of a session on “Fostering Economic Growth: Rethinking Trade Architecture.”

Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming Jr. served as moderator of the discussion, which also featured speakers Thomas Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council; Laura J. Lane, president for Global Public Affairs for UPS; David Collenette, chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in North America; and Juan Carlos Gonzalez, vice president for foreign investment for Proexport in Colombia.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach) introduced the panelists, who each emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in international trade. They also addressed security concerns. Collenette said that while airports have had success in establishing expedited security procedures for frequent fliers, “we believe the pre-clearance model needs to be expanded to rail and marine modes.”

Lane, whose company relies on speed and efficiency in transporting parcels internationally, said that despite concerns that “the bad guys” might try to slip something through, improved technology can “target high-risk packages and individuals” so that the good guys can ship their products to their customers.

Held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, the two-day Palm Beach Strategic Forum brought together business executives, leading policy makers, entrepreneurs, government officials and civic leaders to discuss strategies to accelerate growth in the economy and develop business opportunities. This was the third year that the event has been held in Palm Beach County.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were among the featured speakers during a day that centered on global finance and innovation.

Palm Beach Atlantic University was an education partner for the event. More than 50 students and several faculty members were in attendance over the two days.

PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr. was the moderator for the forum "Fostering Economic Growth: Rethinking Trade Architecture." 

“It’s another shining example of engagement empowering PBA students,” President Fleming said. “Our students and faculty are fully engaged in the Palm Beach Strategic Forum, meeting international and American business and thought leaders and having a front-row seat for stimulating conversations regarding current and future challenges in society and commerce.”

Mike Freundlich, a senior double-majoring in philosophy and psychology, said he enjoyed hearing the governors speak. He said he also has an interest in economics, and he found the other sessions beneficial as well.

“It really helps you to focus on the areas of the economy right now that are really thriving and what is going on today,” he said.

Clesta Cox, a student pursuing an M.B.A. in PBA’s Rinker School of Business, said she appreciated hearing Tuesday’s luncheon keynote speakers, Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, and Thomas J. Donahue, president and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“They really stressed the importance of strategic alliances, working together and helping each other,” Cox said.

Cox added that the speakers touched on topics she remembers covering in class. "I'm glad I took Dr. Ann's class before coming to this," she said of Associate Professor of Business Dr. Ann Langlois.

Adam Cross, a freshman majoring in philosophy, was present for the second day of the conference. He said he also appreciated hearing from high-level experts in their fields.

“It has definitely been a thought-provoking experience, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to attend,” Cross said.