From the City of Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Communication
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia Commerce Department, the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Office of the City Representative this week hosted Québec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie Christine St-Pierre for the first “Québec Day in Philadelphia.” Co-organized by the City of Philadelphia, the Québec Government and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, the full-day event was designed to strengthen economic and political ties between the Province of Québec (Canada) and Pennsylvania, and particularly Philadelphia.
Québec Day in Philadelphia kicked off with a roundtable discussion on Pennsylvania and Québec’s experiences in working with community and economic development organizations to attract immigrants and promote their professional integration. With a view to share best practices, Minister St-Pierre and the Director of Immigrant Affairs Miriam Enriquez delivered opening remarks. The President and CEO of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians Peter Gonzales moderated the ensuing discussion with panelists from the Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of Philadelphia, Nationalities Service Center, the City of Montreal and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
“The Office of Immigrant affairs was honored to take part in the first ever Québec Day in Philadelphia, which saw a number of events take place around the city, all with the objective of strengthening commercial, cultural and educational relations between Québec and Pennsylvania,” said Miriam E. Enriquez, Director of Immigrant Affairs at the City of Philadelphia. “At the morning immigration round table event, it was great to share experiences and learn from each other on how to successfully integrate immigrants into the economic, cultural and civic fabric of our cities.”
Pennsylvania-Québec Business Luncheon
A luncheon, co-organized by the Québec Government Office and the World Trade Center of Philadelphia, was held at the Union League of Philadelphia where both Pennsylvania Secretary of Community and Economic Development Dennis M. Davin and Minister St-Pierre addressed the business community on opportunities to further expand the already strong trade ties between Pennsylvania and Québec and the economic benefits to both regions that would result.
“I want to thank the City of Philadelphia and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia for helping to make the first Québec Day in Philadelphia such a success,” said Québec’s Delegate General Jean-Claude Lauzon. “Our goal was to raise awareness of the ample opportunities for increased trade and partnerships. I think we have accomplished that today, but Québec will be back and will continue to be committed to making this relationship grow further.”
“The Department of Commerce was honored to work with the Québec Government Office to organize Québec Day in Philadelphia,” said Harold T. Epps, Commerce Director at the City of Philadelphia. “Bilateral trade between Québec and PA totaled $3.7 billion in 2015. We want to have Philadelphia play a central role in increasing that number. The various events that took place on Québec Day are all part of that effort.”
“Connecting companies with promising market opportunities to grow their business globally supports the mission of The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia,” said Linda Mysliwy Conlin, President of the World Trade Center of Philadelphia. “We were pleased to work with the Québec Government and the City of Philadelphia in bringing together business and government leaders from both regions to identify and pursue best opportunities for increasing trade and investment.“
Minister St-Pierre later attended a special event at the Henry C. Lea Elementary School that highlighted the school’s French language program and partnership with the Québec Government Office in New York and a sister school in the City of Magog, Québec.
Flag Raising and Ceremony at City Hall
Québec Day in Philadelphia concluded with a flag raising ceremony and networking reception at City Hall.
“It was a privilege for the Office of the City Representative to take part in the celebration of Québec Day in Philadelphia,” said Sheila M. Hess, City Representative at the City of Philadelphia. “Québec Day highlighted the historic Québec-Philadelphia relationship, strengthened our bond as proud World Heritage Sites, and provided an invaluable opportunity for our City’s business, academic, and cultural representatives to explore the potential for new partnerships and exchanges with the Québec Delegation.”