How Can Cities Lead on Global Challenges?
Global Los Angeles
November 9, 2017
12:00pm to 2:00pm

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A special lunchtime roundtable discussion with New York City’s Commissioner for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena.

Cities like New York and Los Angeles are increasingly shaping the global conversation. Rising urbanization, the urgent threat of climate change, and the position of cities at the nexus of transnational issues such as migration, economic inequality, and the refugee crisis all drive the growing need for municipalities to engage in dialogue with their counterparts around the world, and with the diplomatic community and international business. Cities today serve as innovation labs where global policies and sustainable development solutions are put into practice.

Since her appointment in 2014, Commissioner Abeywardena has guided the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs in launching a series of initiatives focused on showcasing the local leadership and inclusive values of New York City toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as connecting New Yorkers, and youth in particular, to the resources of the United Nations Headquarters, including the largest diplomatic corps in the world.

How is local government shaping the global conversation? How much influence do global cities like New York and Los Angeles have and where can they be most effective in the current context?


Ms. Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs, New York City

As head of the Mayor's Office for International Affairs, Penny Abeywardena leads the city’s global platform for promoting its goals for a more just and accessible society, showcasing the diversity of New Yorkers and sharing policies and best practices with the world. Read more.


Ms. Karen Richardson, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Karen Richardson worked at the White House as Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs from January 2009 to February 2014. Read more.

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