Non-profit organization Concordia held its first-ever Lexington Summit April 7-8 at the Lexington Marriott City Center.
Founded in 2011, the organization is a nonpartisan entity that “enables public-private partnerships to create a more prosperous and sustainable future,” according to its LinkedIn page. Concordia is known for hosting summits where government leaders, business owners and students come together to share ideas and tackle challenges.
The summit began as an annual event in 2011 in New York. The organization has since held summits in Miami and now in Lexington. Participants can also join virtually any summit.
“Ever since I started Concordia with my best friend Nick Logothetis, I’ve always wanted to do something that’s focused on the United States,” said Matthew Swift, co-founder and CEO of Concordia. “Kentucky is within 24 hours of 90% of the country. It’s a manufacturing hub, it’s an infrastructure hub, a transportation hub. It’s such a beautiful story.
Notable speakers included British President Eli Capilouto, Mark Stoops, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, Governor Andy Beshear, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and former Uruguayan President Luis Alberto Lacalle.
In order to organize the Lexington summit, Concordia partnered with Rubicon, a Lexington waste management company. Nate Morris, CEO and Founder of Rubicon, advocates for Kentucky to be seen as a hub of business and commerce.
“Nate could set up his global business anywhere,” Capilouto said. But he chose to be here [Lexington] because he understands the potential of this place. He is passionate about the promise of the United Kingdom, of this community, of this Commonwealth.
University of Kentucky colleges, such as Gatton College of Business and Economics and Rosenberg College of Law, were Concordia Lexington Summit programming partners.
Among the sessions held at the summit was ‘Student Perspectives on the Future’, which featured UK students such as SGA President Michael Hawse.
Swift urged students to use their programming to learn and to use the platform to share their ideas.
“My advice to the student population at the University of Kentucky is to not pass up the opportunities,” Swift said. “Seize the moment, seize the opportunities that exist. Do internships, discover your country of origin, discover the country, discover the world. Participate in our programming. Enter with an open mind.
Veronica Reyes, president of the Economics Society and student at DACA, was another student on the panel. When the panel was asked to debate the merits of socialism versus capitalism, Reyes offered his perspective.
“I lean more capitalist because I grew up in an area that didn’t have the opportunities my whole family came to America to give me,” Reyes said. “I have a very different view on that. I think we should lean a little more towards capitalism because we have this sense of opportunity that I didn’t have in my country.
According to Swift, her responses during the session were so moving that many Latin American politicians attending the summit wanted to meet her.
“My family had to give up everything. I couldn’t speak English when I came to America,” Reyes said.
A few other sessions held at the summit were “Fighting Hunger in the Heartland,” “Equitable Economic Recovery,” and “Fixing America’s Black Mental Health Crisis.”