U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program

The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership program made an official visit to Baton Rouge with a delegation of urban planners from South Africa to gain best practices in urban revitalization from an official visit with the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority. The emerging international leaders are architects, planners, and marketing experts from South Africa who seek to gain a deeper understanding of the revitalization program in the BR Choice transformation area to be supported by a $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation (CNI) grant. The diplomatic session was held at EBR Schools’ Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC). The visit was an official U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program event. According to Susannah Coolidge, executive director of the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council, a collaborator with the U.S. Department of State that coordinates more than 500 international leaders each year, the delegation is comprised of emerging professional leaders, including an architect, community planner, marketing communication specialist, and program managers. According to EBRPHA CEO J. Wesley Daniels, Jr., “Our vision for the BR Choice neighborhood transformation is based on best and proven practices bolstered by community-wide support; and we wholeheartedly intend to share our vision and our comprehensive plan recognizing that urban revitalization and community transformation are international conditions deserving of innovative solutions.  We are humbled that this international delegation has come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to learn about our solutions for resiliency, innovation and placemaking.”