The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce underscored its commitment to bi-national cooperation with an award Wednesday night for Ambassador Marcela Celorio, who serves as Consul General of Mexico in San Diego.
Celorio was honored as the “leader of the year” at a dinner attended by nearly 200 business, community and political representatives. Also honored were two organizations: the San Diego Padres and University of San Diego.
“With all that’s going on in Washington, the chamber has had an opportunity to take a leadership role,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the chamber, in a reference to the difficult negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement after President Trump’s threat to cancel it.
“We here in the Cali-Baja region are an example to the rest of the country, and the chamber is proud to honor those who are committed to enhancing our region’s position in the global economy and helping Cali-Baja reach its greatest potential,” he said.
He said that the cooperation between business leaders in San Diego and Tijuana is “maximizing our global competitiveness” as an entire region.
Celorio, who was appointed consul general in June 2016, has been one of the strongest advocates for the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Among her many efforts to support the bi-national community, she has created programs to offer language lessons, school certification, and immigrant support services.
“This is a very creative, dynamic region,” she said, adding that a major part of her job is conveying the region’s story of bi-national cooperation to both Mexico City and Washington.
The Padres were honored for their partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club of Tijuana and creation of the first cross-border Major League Baseball All-Star Community Legacy project.
UC San Diego was recognized for efforts to involve the Latino community through exchange programs and the university’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, which helps evaluate and implement public policy.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer told the crowd that despite the politics at the national level, the relationship between San Diego and Tijuana is the “strongest it’s every been.” He said bi-national cooperation isn’t a partisan issue, but the “right thing to do” to ensure that both local economies grow.
“You have a mayor who understands how critically important this is,” he said.
The chamber is the largest business organization of its type on the West Coast, representing 2,500 businesses and an estimated 300,000 jobs.
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