Stetson University to host government-study forum for Latin American delegation
DeLand -- Thirteen local government officials from Spain and Latin America will arrive in Central Florida on June 3rd for a seven-day fellowship program on local government, Central Florida style. Hosted by Stetson University, the visitors are members of the Iberoamerican Union of Municipalities (UIM: Unión Iberoamericana de Municipalistas), an internationally recognized organization of some 600 mayors, city council members, public servants and academics from all the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. This year's group comes from Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador. Included among the participants are mayors, city attorneys, city planners and directors of non-government organizations involved in local government affairs.
This is the third UIM seminar that Stetson has organized in as many years following an agreement signed between the two institutions in 1996 to facilitate international exchanges of students and professionals. Stetson has also funded student travel to internships in UIM-affliliated cities in Uruguay, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador and Argentina, and organized internships in Volusia County for several students and professionals from these same countries.
This year's UIM fellowship program is organized around the theme, "Paying for Local Government: How and Why?" Seminars are scheduled at Stetson in DeLand, in Daytona Beach and Orlando, and will primarily involve face-to-face discussions with local government officials and community representatives from these locations. To reinforce seminars on topics such as Volusia County's ECHO initiative and business development, participants will take a tour-boat ride on the St. Johns River, and tour such Volusia County landmarks as the County Courthouse, DeLand's Athens Theater, the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Beachfront Renovation Project, and DeBary Hall. In Orlando and Orange County, they will visit Orlando City Hall, the Orange County Convention Center, and the Naval Training Base.
"With its exploding population, limited tax base and pressing needs for public services, Central Florida offers a surprisingly relevant case study of the multiple challenges to local governments throughout Latin America and Spain," said Stetson's Latin American Studies Program director, Dr. William Nylen. "Our UIM visitors are not only interested in what we do, in terms of service provision, environmental preservation, business development and the like, but also in how we pay for it," Nylen continued.
"The third annual fellowship program on our campus elevates the Stetson-UIM partnership to a new level, one that is very exciting in its implications for the entire Central Florida community," concluded Stetson President, Doug Lee.