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19/03/2012: Memphis Community Leaders Travel to The Philippines to Explore Opportunities and Showcase Memphis Heritage

March 16, 2012
Contact information follows release


Memphis Community Leaders Travel to the Philippines to Explore Opportunities and Showcase Memphis Heritage

(Memphis, TN - USA)  A group of thirty community leaders from Memphis, Tennessee, USA including Calvin Anderson, Chairman of Memphis in May International Festival and James L. Holt, festival President & CEO, are traveling this week to the Philippines, the honored country of the 2012 Memphis in May International Festival.  In addition to economic and diplomatic duties, the delegation will visit the country’s cultural amenities and see its remarkable tourist destinations.

Among the members of the delegation are Myron Lowery, Councilman - City of Memphis and representing the honorable AC Wharton, Mayor of the City of Memphis; Ernest Strickland, Director Economic Development, Greater Memphis Chamber, Leigh Shockey, Chairman & CEO of Drexel Chemical Company; Ron Coleman, President & CEO of Competition Cams, auto parts equipment manufacturer; Bobbi Gillis, Executive Vice President of FaxonGillis Real Estate; Herbert Hilliard, Executive Vice President & Chief Government Relations Officer of First Horizon National Banking Corporation;  Edith Kelly-Green, President & CEO of The KGR Group, franchise restaurateur;  Carolyn Hardy, President & CEO of Chism Hardy Enterprises, a beverage bottling manufacturer.

Susan Arney, Philanthropist and Al Lyons, former President of Phillips Bodine Company and currently a partner in Bodine Real Estate Development and Bodine Specialty Foods are also included in the delegation.  The delegation will be joined by their families and friends and other local cultural enthusiasts.

The itinerary includes visits to historic Corregidor Island and Cebu City, but the Philippine trip will center in Manila, the country’s business and administrative center of government.  Scheduled appointments for the Memphis in May delegation include meetings with officials from the Department of Tourism and with Bank of the Philippine Islands President and CEO Mr. Aurelio R. Montinola III.

Additionally, the delegation will host a reception at the private home of the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States, Leslie A. Bassett.  At the reception, the group will present a taste of Memphis blues, performed by Blind Mississippi Morris. Blind since age 4, Morris is the very embodiment of the Delta Bluesman.  He has been called 'a new disciple of the Delta' and the ‘Real Deal on Beale'.  He has been rated one of the 10 best harmonica players in the world by Bluzharp magazine.

James Holt notes: “Memphis in May, through cooperation of Mayor Wharton and the Regional Chamber of Commerce, serves as a catalyst to develop international trade and educational opportunities for the Mid-South.  Our job is to open doors and to establish relationships using a celebratory and unique Festival that promotes Memphis to the world.”

"I'm thrilled to be leading this trip and look forward to furthering our relationships with individuals and interests in The Philippines.  Memphis is a global city and continuing our global outreach is imperative to our region's success and growth.  The annual Memphis in May celebration is an excellent opportunity to extend a welcoming hand to different cultures and offers an opportunity for economic development," commented Memphis in May Board Chairman Calvin Anderson, who is also serves as the Chief of Staff & Senior Vice President of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

“The Philippine Government and the Filipino people are truly humbled by the privilege bestowed upon the Philippines as the honored country for the 2012 MIMIF – showcasing the best of Philippine culture, cuisine, performances, business practices, and Filipino hospitality. This Festival will clearly demonstrate that “It’s more fun in the Philippines!,” Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said.

Economists in Manila have predicted the economy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), will expand 5 percent in 2012 driven by investment and consumption.  The Memphis delegation will explore areas for potential trade and investment.

Memphis in May International Festival is a not for profit, community-based organization that contributes to the economic growth of the community, fosters civic pride, promotes awareness of Memphis heritage, and builds international relationships and understanding.  In addition to the extensive international and educational programs, Memphis in May also produces the city’s largest and most dynamic consumer events including The Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Sunset Symphony.  More information can be found on the Festival’s website at www.memphisinmay.org.


Diane Hampton, Executive Vice President
Memphis in May International Festival
88 Union Avenue, Suite 301
Memphis, TN 38103
Telephone:  +1-901-525-4611 extension 105
Email: dhampton@memphisinmay.org

Press Release from Memphis in May International Festival, Inc.