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Foreign leaders will tour Charlotte on Labor Day

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Charlotte Chamber will be taking scores of foreign dignitaries in town for the Democratic National Convention on a road show through Charlotte, hoping they’ll take the message about Charlotte’s developing industry sectors back to businesses in their countries.

About 150 political leaders – from countries ranging from Azerbaijan to Italy – will take a Labor Day tour revolving around either education, energy or health care before being shuttled back to a reception at the Charlotte Country Club.

The group is hosted during convention week by the National Democratic Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world and led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The group will hold a number of policy forums throughout the week.

But on Monday, the group of ambassadors, prime ministers and parliament members will spend the day listening to people such as UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois and Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.

Charlotte already has a presence from companies in some of the countries to be represented, such as Germany and China. But the Chamber hopes to build new relationships as well.

“We’re hoping that …all of them will leave with a very positive opinion and thought and impression of Charlotte,” Chamber spokeswoman Natalie Dick said. “They’ll go back, and we’ll be able to reach back out and hopefully bring some new business this way.”

The education group will start at Johnson C. Smith University before visiting UNC Charlotte’s new Energy Production and Infrastructure Center building, which will train engineers and conduct research.

The energy group will hear from Rogers and other industry leaders at the vista level of the Duke Energy Center before heading to Celgard, the battery component manufacturer.

The health care group will start with entrepreneurship community Edison Nation, later visiting Carolinas Medical Center, the Ronald McDonald House and Presbyterian Hospital.

Dunn: 704-358-5235; Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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