Johnson Taps Five “Extraordinarily Talented” Citizens for New Commission

Dallas will harness the talents of five residents – who just happen to also be former U.S. ambassadors – to help the city better position itself internationally, Mayor Eric Johnson’s office announced last week.

It’s not often that a city has that many former diplomats within its confines. It’s even more remarkable that two, Richard Fisher and Jeanne Phillips, live in Greenway Parks, and another, Robert Jordan, lives in Preston Hollow.

Johnson said that Fisher, Jordan, Phillips, Kathryn Hall, and James Oberwetter agreed to serve on his newly-formed Mayor’s International Advisory Council.  Phillips will serve as the first chair of the MIAC.

The council is expected to look at the relationship the city has with Washington D.C.-based diplomatic corps, the relationship between Dallas and foreign investors, and ways to improve trade between the city and its top trade partners.

“Dallas has many of the fundamentals in place to improve its standing internationally,” Fisher, who served as deputy U.S. trade representative, said. “I am excited to work with my fellow former ambassadors and advise Mayor Johnson on strategies that will allow this great city to take its rightful place on the global stage.”

Jordan, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, agreed. “It’s time for our city to start asking what we can do to position ourselves to the rest of the world as a premier American city,” he said.

“I cannot wait to get started.” – Jeanne Phillips, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

“This is an extraordinarily talented group with unparalleled experience in international affairs,” Johnson said in a statement. “I am grateful for their service to our country and to the City of Dallas.”

“Dallas is a welcoming city that owns the country’s finest international airport, occupies a central location in the United States, and has incredible attractions, a diverse population, and the headquarters of ten Fortune 500 companies,” Johnson continued. “I believe our city has enormous potential to improve its standing among global investors, foreign governments, and international tourists. I am excited to hear regularly from these five experts about how we can better tap into that potential.”

During his address to the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Johnson said that he felt the city could do better when it comes to international economic growth, and in marketing itself. According to a recent state trade report, Dallas-Fort Worth was ranked second behind Houston for foreign investment, and DFW International Airport is the second port for international trade in Texas.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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