Nearly 50 people gathered at the PBS studio on the sixth floor of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in downtown Phoenix to be part of Global Arizona 100′s live audience Wednesday night.
Global Arizona 100 is a project created in anticipation of Arizona’s 100th birthday and focuses on collaborating with the private and public sector in Arizona in order to build a stronger, more consistent Arizona.
Aaron Brown, former CNN anchor and ASU inaugural professor, moderated the event.
Brown was joined by a panel including James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic; Julia Rosen, SkySong Director; Edmundo Hidalgo, Chicanos Por La Causa CEO; and Don Budinger, board chairman for Science Foundation Arizona.
Brown said even though Arizona has the 17th best economy in the country, 34th best economy in the world and only trails California and Texas in GDP for western states, change can’t come soon enough for Arizona’s economy. The state needs to increase its competitive global landscape, he said.
“Strategic leadership is crucial to Arizona in order to see the prosperity we all hope for,” Brown said “We need to help the state see it’s global agenda.”
The panel touched on many issues but spent a majority of the time discussing SB 1070 and immigration, education and Arizona’s open environment to entrepreneurs.
People are very open here, Rosen said. It makes a good environment for entrepreneurs because you can come in, set up your business and people are okay with that. We just need the economic structure to support entrepreneurship, she said.
Steven Cofrancesco, co-president of the nonprofit HELP Institute, attended because he said these are important issues for our state and the issue of economic development is very interesting.
“I am here to learn from folks, like the panel, on issues that I not only find important, but are important to my company as well,” Cofrancesco said.
Journalism senior Megan Doyle attended the event and said the forum offered an interesting perspective on Arizona’s problems and its qualities.
It was interesting to hear intelligent people commenting on serious issues in our state, she said.
“I could definitely relate to the issues discussed. Education, employment, and immigration are topics that are very relevant to students in Arizona right now,” Doyle said “Hearing the different views from the panel tonight was a really great way to get a better understanding of the problems students and all Arizona residents face in the upcoming years.”
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