Detroit native to run Duggan’s international office

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The State Department has loaned a senior adviser to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to run the Motor City’s new Office of International Affairs.

Julie Egan, a native of Detroit with experience in the areas of economic diplomacy and trade, public-private partnerships and citizen diplomacy strategies, will act “as a liaison to other federal and local stakeholders on international affairs.”

Duggan was in Washington for two days of meetings including talks at the State Department, where he announced the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs as part of an initiative dubbed “Cities@State.”

Detroit shares a border with Canada and officials also have expressed interest in hosting Syrian refugees. Detroit is also eager to attract more foreign investment. Duggan said in a statement that the office will coordinate with the consular community and foreign offices in Detroit, as well as with federal agencies on issues such as immigration, borders and national security.

“Establishing this office will help new Americans access federal and international opportunities, and expand strategic global partnerships for the city, working with U.S. embassies and building on existing federal resources in Detroit such as the State Department’s Detroit Passport Center and National Passport Information Center that employs 283 people in the city,” said Duggan.

Secretary of State John Kerry recognized the State Department’s work with cities like Detroit and the creation of its Mayor’s Office of International Affairs.

“At the State Department, we understand the very valuable role that cities can play in addressing a wide range of challenges,” Kerry said. “And that is why we’re working directly with cities like Detroit, which is opening up its first-ever Mayor’s Office of International Affairs.

“We are launching a long-term Cities@State initiative to enhance our coordination with cities in the space where foreign policy and urbanization meet on issues ranging from economic opportunity to security.”

The Obama administration, since Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy restructuring, has named a team of advisers to assist the city. Egan is the deputy director of the White House interagency working group on Detroit “and works with the mayor to build on Detroit’s long history of global innovation and economic leadership,” the city said.

Duggan said the new office will benefit from partnerships with global leaders, such as the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Kresge Foundation, to build a robust global strategy for Detroit. The German Marshall Fund president, Karen Donfried, said “GMF is working closely with Mayor Duggan to support his leadership of Detroit’s recovery through the opening of a Mayor’s Office of International Affairs that will help the city to reposition itself on the international stage.”

The State Department is working to bring at least 10,000 additional Syrian refugees to the United States by October 2016.

Duggan said in a Detroit News interview last week that the city wants to do its share. He held meetings on the issue with a number of officials including the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Powers.