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On Thursday, October 23rd, Ambassador of Ecuador to the U.S. Nathalie Cely accepted the “Global Hero Award” at the World Chamber of Commerce (WCC) Business and Immigration Forum for the work done by the Embassy of Ecuador in the United States to strengthen commercial ties, promote tourism, and promote entrepreneurship among Ecuadorians living in this country. The Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson presented the award at a gala in the city of Atlanta and declared the Ambassador a distinguished guest of the Georgia Senate. More than 400 leaders from business, government, media, and diplomacy attended the gala.

Ecuador’s economy is ranked one of the top four fastest growing economies in South America. The government of President Rafael Correa has overcome the country’s past of political and economic instability and has transformed the country into an attractive place to live, work, and invest. Ecuador has become a key player in the region’s economic future. Additionally, U.S.-Ecuadorian trade is among the fastest growing bilateral trade relationship in the region, having increased 23 percent in total non-petroleum bilateral trade between January and July 2014.

“I am extremely honored to receive the World Chamber of Commerce Global Hero Award on behalf of the Ecuadorian government and particularly the Ecuadorians living in this region and throughout the United States, who contribute their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit to the growth of this great country” said Ambassador Cely. “Ecuador and the U.S. have proven a historically strong trading partnership. We look forward to continuing to increase the level of trade with the U.S. that has strong economic impacts for both economies and job creation.”

Ambassador Cely also mentioned the great potential for trade relationships between Georgia and Ecuador, as well as tourism and cooperation in science and technology. She highlighted the fact that Georgia is among the top 10 U.S. states with an increase level of trade with Ecuador. There are great investment opportunities for Georgia companies, such as Coca Cola who is set to invest $1 billion over the next five years. Additionally, the company Ventyx is rendering software development services of $6.5 million for CNTEL. The next agreement to be signed is between Georgia Tech and Yachay for cooperation in the areas of innovation and industrial development. “The potential is huge and we are here to develop partnerships to leverage these opportunities” said Ambassador Cely.

The gala was attended by the presidents of chambers of commerce in the United States and Ecuador, Ecuadorian cultural associations and other distinguished Ecuadorian residents in Atlanta, who expressed their satisfaction and pride that the Embassy and the country was being honored with this honorable mention and pledge to work together for the development of the country.

Ambassador Cely additionally used the visit to Atlanta to participate in various activities to strengthen the ties of trade between Ecuador and the State of Georgia. These activities included a visit to the city airport and meeting with authorities, with whom together they identified opportunities to strengthen connectivity and promote tourism of Ecuador in Atlanta.

Similarly, the Ambassador met with the Ecuadorian community in Atlanta as part of the ceremony in which the Georgia Congressman Pedro Marín recognized the Ambassador as an honorary citizen of the State of Georgia. Finally, the Ambassador visited the Georgia Institute of Technology, a leading academic institution that is about to begin a process of knowledge-sharing with Yachay, “The City of Knowledge,” and where young Ecuadoreans are studying with support from the national government grant programs.