California is the 5th largest economy in the world, and is considered a worldwide leader in international trade, policy, innovation and cultural trends. Please join us for a panel discussion to understand the role diplomacy plays in California’s prominent position on the world stage and how the state can continue to maintain its global impact.
We are honored to introduce the following special guest panelists:
Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis was sworn in as the 50th Lieutenant Governor of California by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 7th, 2019. She is the first woman elected Lt. Governor of California. A native Californian, she visited each of the state’s 58 counties during her historic campaign. In addition to her duties as Lt. Governor, Kounalakis is California’s Representative for International Affairs and Trade, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom by executive order. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. Kounalakis was the first Greek-American woman – and at age 43 one of America’s youngest – to serve as U.S. Ambassador. Her highly acclaimed memoir, “Madam Ambassador, Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest” (The New Press, 2015), chronicles the onset of Hungary’s democratic backsliding.
Susanne Thorsen Stirling has headed CalChamber international activities for four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee and the California International Relations Foundation. In previous years, Stirling was an appointee of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council, and served on the Board of Directors of the International Diplomacy Council, the World Affairs Council of Northern California (Sacramento), the Danish-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Chile-California Council.