International Attendees at NCSL's 2010 Fall Forum in Arizona

December 9-11, 2010

In the first week of December hundreds of legislators and their staff gathered in Phoenix, AZ for NCSL’s annual Fall Forum. NCSL was pleased to welcome international attendees from Nigeria, Brazil, and Canada. During the conference, several panels of discussion were dedicated to different aspects of the states relationship to the international arena. For example, the panel “International Trade and the States” discussed states having a key role to play in international trade and how legislators' views are vital to effective trade regulations and agreements. The panel was led by Robert Stumberg from Georgetown University Law Center and Karen Condry of the National Association of Attorneys General. They examined trade initiatives and discussed ways to improve and enhance economic opportunities for the states. For more information on the Fall Forum, please click here.

NCSL’s governing body, our Executive Committee, also met in Phoenix. As part of this meeting and for the first time, the International Task Force met. The Task Force was formed by NCSL’s President Senator Richard Moore (D, MA) in response to an evolving global economy, advances in information technology, and the myriad policy developments from energy and environmental concerns to homeland security issues and job creation that have created rapid changes in the international arena affecting state legislators and their constituencies. The mission of the International Task Force is to address states’ roles in international relations by:

  • Identifying the structure for NCSL’s international activities;
  • Reviewing NCSL’s activities with foreign national and sub-national governments;
  • Exploring how state legislatures might better coordinate international activities and approaches; and
  • Exploring available resources from the US Government, foreign governments or foundations to support expanded international cooperation between legislators, legislative staff and their counterparts in other national or sub-national governments. 

NCSL has more than twenty-five years of experience acting as a liaison between state legislatures and parliamentarians/parliamentary staff from other countries, foreign embassies, international and regional organizations, and domestic organizations with international interests. It is the ideal vehicle for state legislators and staff to learn about our role in the international arena - and to begin playing a larger part on that stage. By fostering long term connections between state legislatures and their counterparts overseas, NCSL helps states establish friendship and trust between individuals and between sub-national governments. These relationships in turn assist state governments in the US in achieving their international goals, from forming productive trade partnerships to promoting intellectual exchange programs.

NCSL facilitated the beginning of the Task Force by inviting the Honorable Reta Jo Lewis, U.S. State Department Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs to present ways of “Enhancing and Building Relationships between State Officials in the US and their Foreign Counterparts.” The Special Representative’s contribution proved to be a useful way to start off the Task Force. Please click here to view Special Representative Lewis' remarks.

During the afternoon session of the Executive Committee meeting, NCSL’s President Senator Richard Moore and the President of Uniao Nacional dos Legisladores e Legislativos Estaduais (UNALE) Deputada Aparecida Gama signed an amendment to the current Memorandum of Understanding between our two organizations. This amendment aims to further develop and formalize our long lasting relationship, discuss future ideas for collaboration, as well as building upon the current exchange of information and ideas. UNALE is an organization designed after NCSL and serves a similar function to the state legislatures of Brazil. NCSL is pleased to report that representatives of UNALE attend our annual Legislative Summit yearly and representatives of NCSL attend UNALE’s annual meeting when possible. NCSL was honored to further build upon our relationship with these representatives of UNALE and looks forward to continuing our relationship.


Updated December 13, 2010