At Leading Cities we understand the importance of learning first hand. It is often said, seeing is believing. Through our annual Exchange Missions we aim to share lessons from across our network of cities with today’s urban leaders. Theses missions feature business, civic and academic leaders traveling to international cities to witness and examine best practices in action. Past Missions have visited Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Delegates on the missions spend their days meeting with local leaders from city, regional and national governments, business executives, entrepreneurs and activists. We visit important sites, tour changing neighborhoods and immerse our delegates in the communities we are studying. Delegates often walk away with new ideas and inspiration for changes that can be made at home. Exchange Missions offer a valuable perspective of what is happening around the world and how we can learn from one another to improve our own communities.
Exchange Missions also offer special opportunities to build ties across the network. In 2012 for instance, officials from the ports of Boston and Lisbon meet and signed a cooperation agreement to share information and resources. In Ireland in 2013, exchange mission delegates and local partners had a private dinner with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny (pictured on to the left) and discussed the country’s economic recovery and development strategy. Leading Cities looks forward to continuing this tradition with upcoming missions to other cities.