Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010 Presentations in L'Aquila

I returned from Rome and my meetings with the Fulbright - USA Italy office and a presentation to the INEA. Today in L'Aquila, it was sunny and warm. I gave a morning presentation to the Faculty of the College of Economics hosted by Professor Fabrizio Politi and Professor Margherita Mori. I met with the faculty of the college and their dean to discuss the role of the LSU in disaster recovery and things that the University and college in L'Aquila could be doing to foster economic development and disaster recovery. I discussed the key roles of the LBTC in fostering entrepreneurship and serving as the universities interface with business and economic development professionals. I also gave testimony on how the LBTC was called into action, immediately after Katrina by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to set up business disaster recovery centers and that we are doing similar programs for both the series of hurricanes that hit Louisiana as well as the current oil spill. I gave examples of projects and activities including the recent connection of LSU Researcher, Dr. Ralph Portier with the incubator graduate company, Floating Island Environmental Solutions in developing a potential solution for absorbing oil as it approaches the coast of Louisiana. In the afternoon, I spoke to a number of faculty members from the College of Economics as well as about 25 PhD students in the college. Many were in Law and others were in finance and economics. My presentation was titled, "Redevelopment After a Natural Disaster - the University's Role." The program title was "Istituzioni, Mercato, Garanzie e Tutela dell'Individuo." The students were very interested in the legal issues arising from the BP explosion and some of the insurance issues following the hurricanes in Louisiana. The concern in L'Aquila was that it is being rebuilt without a plan and that the central historic district, which was the focal point for the community is still far from being repaired. I told them that the process takes time as we learned in the years following Katrina in New Orleans. My presentation focused on what the students could be doing to assist in the redevelopment process and how LSU was very actively involved in the recovery. I also urged the students to investigate the Fulbright Program for opportunities to study abroad and possibly come to Louisiana as part of a plan to establish an agreement between LSU and L'Aquila. The students were interested in hearing about LSU's success in assisting students get internships during the summers and during some semesters. This is rarely done in L'Aquila. They were interested in how we trained MBA graduate students to work through the incubator to assist businesses in developing business and marketing plans and developing financial models to fund their company. They also had interest in the LBTC Student Incubator and it appears that they are just getting into entrepreneurship.

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