SEPTEMBER 29 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Meridian International Center, known for programming which serves to strengthen cultural and political ties between the U.S. and international community, hosted a breakfast forum this morning focused green technology. The conversation highlighted current initiatives in energy efficiency technology both in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to the diverse audience at Meridian, the event was streamed live online, with several U.S. embassies abroad tuning in.
The program, entitled "Taking the Lead: Promoting Green Technology Around the World" was cohosted by Multistack, an original innovator for energy efficient cooling and heating products aimed at minimizing fossil fuel consumption. Welcome and introductory remarks were given by Meridian President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday. The Honorable Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General for the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Department of Commerce opened the program with keynote remarks, which included highlighting the considerable resources available to green technology entrepreneurs and the corporate sector willing to invest in these new technologies. Assistant Secretary Kumar highlighted U.S. investment in the development of energy efficient products as a "catalyst to promote economic growth" via new job creation. He also cited this as an opportunity to support export growth in the U.S. which, he noted, was up by 10% compared to 2009 with almost one third of exports focused on green technology. This was in line, he explained, with the Department of Commerce’s goal of doubling U.S. exports between 2009 and 2014.
Following these opening remarks, Ambassador Holliday welcomed Her Excellency Ritva Koukku-Ronde, who recently assumed her post as Ambassador of Finland to the United States. Ambassador Koukku-Ronde discussed Finland’s commitment to green technology, including the Finnish Embassy’s status as the first Energy Star certified U.S. embassy, in addition to being the first LEED certified embassy in the U.S.
A roundtable discussion with public and private sector experts followed, moderated by Mr. Roger Platt, Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Law at the U.S. Green Building Council. Panelists included Mr. Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of High-Performance Green Federal Buildings, General Services Administration; Mr. William Miner, Director of the Office of Design and Engineering, U.S. Department of State,; and Mr. Mark Platt, President and CEO, Multistack, LLC.
Mr. Miner began with an update on new “bright ideas” from the State Department, which included making the Solar Decathlon a permanent “green village” along the Potomac River, rather than a temporary exhibit. GSA’s Mr. Kampschroer reiterated the necessity of setting the bar high in the field of green construction, in order to “achieve the greatness that we are capable of” in America. Multistack’s Mr. Platt described his role as an entrepreneur in the field, saying that doing the “right thing environmentally and the right thing economically” are not mutually exclusive, but in fact create a “win-win” for investors and entrepreneurs, domestically and worldwide.
The discussion was opened to questions from the international audience, which included Her Excellency Fatima Viega, Ambassador of Cape Verde to the U.S. and The Honorable Davit Rakviashvili, Deputy Chief of Mission of Georgia, who each asked targeted questions pertaining to their own countries’ interest in developing more sustainable technology.
The program concluded with a consensus that steps in the direction of increased efficiency and reduced waste were “common sense,” and that measuring these improvements was crucial to continued and increasing success in the green technology sector.
About Meridian: Meridian International Center’s mission is to strengthen international understanding and serve as a center of innovation for engaging the public sector, private sector and diplomatic community in an exchange of people, ideas and culture. For more information, visit www.meridian.org