Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: August 16, 2013
Exchange agreement reached – Southeastern Louisiana University College of Business Dean Randy Settoon, right, and Luis G. Gomez, president of the Colon Free Trade Zone Association, sign a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperative program between the two groups. The agreement provides for Southeastern to offer executive and professional development opportunities for the zone's international companies, executives and workers.
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University is the first U.S. university to enter into an
agreement with the Free Trade Zone of Colon, Panama, making the university the zone's
The agreement, signed by Southeastern's College of Business Dean Randy Settoon and Luis G. Gomez, president of the Free Trade Zone Association of Colon, will provide opportunities for executive and professional development for the zone's more than 3,000 international companies, their executives and 33,000 workers. Other opportunities, according to Settoon, include exchange programs, international internships and trade missions with the second largest free trade zone in the world.
The zone has imports and exports surpassing $5 billion annually and a market of more than 525 million consumers in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
"We are pleased to have Southeastern as a partner," said Gomez at the signing in early August in Colon. "It will provide a new dimension for the association to expand activities for their member corporations and for the country of Panama."
Settoon noted the Southeastern College of Business has provided professional development training for business and governments in Central America and has served as a liaison for trade missions over the past decade through its Hispanic Business Institute.
He said the new agreement opens the door for greater opportunities for Southeastern students and faculty, especially those interested in international business.
Aristides Baraya, director of the Hispanic Business Institute, said the institute's mission is to create venues for active engagement between business leaders in Louisiana, Latin America and Southeastern's business students and faculty.
"This partnership is another of many we have forged with the purpose of creating an appreciation of the diversity of culture, business practice and the importance of social responsibility," he said.
"To be considered the zone's educational partner and to provide unique learning experiences first-hand through joint activities with our new international corporate partners – at one of the most strategic points along the global trade route – is without a doubt something of which we are very proud," Settoon added.