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Texas Summit Stresses Citizen Diplomacy As Trump Takes Center Stage At The U.N.

Ryan Poppe
Texas Public Radio
Congressman Joaquin Castro speaking at the "Diplomacy Begins Here" summit

As President Trump was addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time Tuesday, elected officials, business leaders, and students held their own summit at the state capitol to discuss various aspects of diplomacy and foreign relations.  

The Diplomacy Begins Here Summit is the first of its kind in Texas and is funded by the U.S. Department of State.  

Sandra Davis is the vice president of Global Austin, one of the groups that helped organize the event and is part of the State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program.

“The idea is that we who live in Texas and all over the country are representatives of our country and when we travel we are representing the U.S. as well," Davis says.

Those attending the summit heard from former U.S. ambassadors and current leaders in Washington, like San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

He spoke about the role diplomacy will need to play in renegotiating pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, also known as NAFTA.

“So when I talk about the conversations that are being had around the globe with respect to trade for example, the fact that NAFTA is now being renegotiated, the question is whether another agreement will be signed, whether NAFTA will be done away with," Castro says.

Keeping with the spirit of the summit, Castro says it’s up to citizen diplomats to reflect the values of America with neighboring countries and those overseas.