by Rachel Costa
FIU recently welcomed the Florida Congressional delegation as the 118th Congress began in earnest. The "Magic of Miami" event brought together six members of Congress and several FIU partners in the university's new, expanded location in the nation’s capital.
“This will be a good oasis for members of Congress, our interns, our staff,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of the 24th district. “To come and have special events and just invite the entire D.C. to get a little piece of what we are doing in Miami.”
University leadership also saluted the work of the delegation in the last Congress, which led to $64 million in new federal funding at key federal agencies to help propel defense, environmental and health research at FIU.
“Tonight is a night for all of us to take pride in what is possible when our faculty and students collaborate with our members of Congress and federal agencies to bring home big wins for Florida,” said Michelle Palacio, senior vice president for Strategic Communications, Government and External Affairs, who was also joined by President Kenneth A. Jessell.
Also in attendance were Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of the 26th district, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the 25th district, Congressman Carlos Giménez of the 28th district, Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus McCormick of the 20th district and Congressman Jared Moskowitz of the 23rd district.
Recognizing that both Democrats and Republicans came together at the invitation of the university, Giménez emphasized in his remarks: “We don’t agree about some things, but we do agree on FIU.”
Miami, national collaborators participate in dialogue
The program covered a variey of current topics relevate to Miami and South Florida, among them the growing tech sector, climate change and the status of the hospitality industry. Panelists in the wide-ranging discussion included FIU partners Rolando Aedo, CEO of the Greater Miami Visitors and Convention Bureau; Maria Ortiz Perez from the Aspen Institute; Diane Vidoni, CEO of eMerge Americas; and Jorge Zamanillo, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Latino.
The event also highlighted FIU's collaboration on three major global festivals: Aspen Ideas: Climate; the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival Presented by Capitol One; and eMerge Americas.
To Aedo, an FIU graduate, it is important to bring more awareness that FIU is leading in D.C.
“The Washington area is important to us,” said Aedo. “It is home to so many associations, and part of our role is to bring these associations to Miami. We have a team member based here in D.C. that we are hoping will use this space as a platform to bring clients to pitch them to come to Miami.”
“I am such a fan of FIU,” said Wilson. “ I remember when there was no FIU. and I remember when it was built, and I remember how transformative that was and I have seen it grow into the most beautiful institution that I know of.”
The event brought every aspect of Miami to the Nation’s Capitol. Chaplin School of Hospitality students crafted unique drinks that captured the 305 with a special highlight on Cuban coffee.
“I think this is the 305 in D.C.” said Aedo. “The cocktails, the cortadito I had earlier today, the people, it's what makes this space special. Literally, I would hope that others, whether you are an FIU graduate or not, recognize the importance of FIU, and what it does for Miami-Dade County. When you're in D.C., come knocking on the door. It sounds like you will be welcomed with open arms.”
To view photos of the Miami Celebration in Washington, click here.
To watch a video of the program, click here