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Welcoming Week Casts Cleveland as a Global City
In an effort to highlight Cleveland as an international, globally connected city, Global Cleveland is hosting this year's Welcoming Week, a series of events to celebrate unity and the work of immigrants in the city.
The events, which run Sept. 13-20, align with a national Welcoming Week. Last year, that week included more than 2,000 events in 400 communities with more than 80,000 participants, according to Welcoming America, a national nonprofit that supports diverse communities and offers a roadmap to becoming more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents.
Part of Welcoming Week in Cleveland will involve showcasing companies and organizations as global- friendly employers and highlighting "all these different places that tell a story in Cleveland that has been all too often, unfortunately, latent, which we want to turn blatant," said Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland. "We're an immigrant city. … We're pretty lucky to have a pretty open-minded, immigrant-welcome constituency that we work with in Northeast Ohio, and we want to tell the story."
Over the past seven years, an average of about 3,700 new immigrants have moved to Cuyahoga County, Cimperman said. The aim, he added, is to see that number grow and eventually begin helping last year's group and welcoming the city's new group of immigrants.
"Our goal is to work all the time with our international communities and our companies to realize that prosperity is possible," he said.
The week includes a series of events and features, from a naturalization ceremony to an interfaith service and luncheon to Global Cleveland's Passport Party, where attendees will bring their passport, meet others and share stories. If they don't have a passport, they can receive an application to get one.
Khizr Khan, a constitutional lawyer and Gold Star father, will be available for a book signing and will participate in a forum at The City Club of Cleveland. The week also includes a breakfast discussion of E1/E2 visas. And beginning Monday, Sept. 16, participating cities and townships throughout Cuyahoga County will proclaim themselves as a welcoming city or township during their various government meetings.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, Alexander Mann Solutions and Global Cleveland will host an invitation-only cocktail reception and networking event for VIPs at the newly renovated Alexander Mann Solutions office in the Erieview Tower. The event will celebrate and promote networking among Cleveland's top global executives, innovators and influencers.
Cimperman will host the event, which will feature special guests including, among others, Rosaleen Blair, the London-based CEO and founder of Alexander Mann Solutions; Fareed Siddiq, managing director of Merrill Lynch and a Cleveland-based immigrant; and Noel Webb, a Canada-based co-founder of technology innovator Karen HR.
Alexander Mann Solutions is a London-based company that specializes in talent acquisition and recruiting management services. In 2012, the company was looking for a headquarters to open its first service center in the United States. Although Cleveland wasn't initially on its radar, a handful of local organizations (including Global Cleveland), made a big push for the city, where the company ultimately chose to locate, said Adam Giffi, marketing manager for Alexander Mann Solutions.
Since then, the company has been growing exponentially, he added. In working with Global Cleveland to find areas with which to partner, Welcoming Week came up.
"We decided there was no better way to show that Cleveland is an international, globally connected city than by demonstrating an organization, Alexander Mann Solutions, that lives and breathes that now in the city every day," Giffi said.
Cleveland is connected to the world in many ways that residents may not realize, Giffi noted, and Welcoming Week is a way to show that.
"It means a lot to us both as Clevelanders and global citizens that Cleveland is seen and recognized as the international city that it is and that it is an important player in the business world," Giffi said. "And the proof is not only Alexander Mann Solutions' growth and the stuff Global Cleveland's doing, but all of the people that are going to be collected in that room."