By Scottsdale Pinetop
If there is one-thing critics and supporters of the Trump administration can agree on is that President Trump is leaving a lasting mark on U.S. foreign policy. Weakening traditional alliances, threatening military action and dissolving trade agreements, the fate of the U.S. foreign relations remains murky.
This can leave local leaders to step into the vacuum and exercise their own form of soft power – starting with Scottsdale’s own Mayor Jim Lane.
Last month, at the invitation of Marrakech Mayor Mohamed Larbi Belcaid, Mayor Lane led a small group of local leaders to Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakech has been a sister city to Scottsdale since 2011, but the two leaders had yet to meet face to face.
As water is a scarce resource in the desert, Arizona and Marrakech share similar challenges in regards to water allocation and treatment technology. Discussions included new water treatment technology for Morocco and management of water resources that could be mutually beneficial to both regions.
In conjunction with the mayor’s trip was the fourth annual student exchange program accompanied by 12 Scottsdale high school students and two teachers. Understanding the importance of international education programs, the mayors discussed expanding programs between ASU and Marrakech education that would make is easier to for students to travel independently.
Extending his hand in friendship, Mayor Lane has invited Mayor Belcaid to Scottsdale.
As two cities come together to achieve common goals, these international meetings may prove to be the first steps in opening future avenues and partnerships that can benefit everyone. By establishing a special relationship with Marrakech, Scottsdalians are provided with special insight into a stable Muslim county not commonly explored by American citizens. Maybe President Trump should take a page out of Mayor Lane’s book when managing international relationships.