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Out & About in Cleveland

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Tabling at The Crowne Plaza Hotel; Future of The Paris Climate Agreement

Later on Thursday we tabled on behalf of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" at the April networking event of the Greater Cleveland Chinese Chamber of Commerce that took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Rockside Road in Independence. The meeting of that day was aimed at young international college students who were looking for pathways to obtain their first job here in the United States with the ultimate goal of permanently residing here.

Accordingly, Ms. Kimberly Kirkendall from "International Resource Development, Inc." presented a slide show that contained many networking/job interview tips that were particularly relevant to foreign born people especially a section that dealt with internships and the necessity of the student, himself/herself, providing the HR department information about what they are allowed to do under the international student visa/optional practical training (OPT) program and how and when to approach their employer about possibly obtaining an H1B visa.

After the slide show, a brief panel discussion took place in which Mr. Yao Li, Attorney at Law with "Cavitch, Familo & Durkin"; Ms. Yulu Li, Senior Account Analyst with "Hanna Commercial Real Estate"; Mr. Zhenting Men, Vice President of the "Cleveland International Fund" talked about how they launched their own careers emphasizing the opportunities possibly gained through internships, networking and proper mentoring. Also taking part in the discussion was Ms. Jessica Whale from "Global Cleveland" who explained how her organization could assist international students in their endeavors.

Afterwards, Ms. Erin Brown, an immigration attorney with "Robert Brown, LLC" which sponsored the event, spoke about the H1B process and other options available to students who may wish to remain in the U.S. after they complete their education.

Before the program started, both Mr. Li and Mr. Men stopped by our table to chat with us for a moment since they both knew Ms. Margaret W. Wong. In fact, Mr. Men has worked with Ms. Judy Wong and Mr. Francis Fungsang on several occasions.

As we were leaving, we were flagged down by Mr. Ye Li, a student at CWRU Law School, who is taking Ms. Wong's class, who asked us to please say hello to her.

The reason that we had to leave the event in Independence a little early was so we could get to the Union Club on time to attend a program of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) about the future of the Paris Climate Agreement.

We were very fortunate to have with us as a speaker, Ms. Susan Biniaz, a very respected attorney who worked in the Legal Advisor's Office at the State Dept. from 1984 until just two weeks ago and as the program notes read, "has been the principal lawyer on the climate change negotiations since 1989." Moreover, she was a lead U.S. negotiator on the Paris Climate Agreement.

Ms. Biniaz reviewed the histories and complicated intricacies of all of the climate agreements starting with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) back in 1992 and moving through the Kyoto Protocol, the Copenhagen Agreement and the final culmination which was the Paris Climate Agreement that was finally signed in April, 2016. Of all the things that Ms. Biniaz talked about, the item that stays with us the most is how closely and successfully the U.S. negotiated with China to make the final Agreement a reality.

As we know the Obama administration's goal was to cut U.S. greenhouse gases 26% to 28% below 2005 levels but the Trump administration claims that this is far too ambitious and is harming U.S. businesses. Therefore, without being political, Ms. Biniaz discussed the various options available to President Trump. It seems that since the United States was a leader in crafting the terms of the Agreement, it would be tough for President Trump drastically alter the course without the United States losing a lot of credibility in the world's eyes.

After the presentation, we relaxed in the hallway for a few minutes and reviewed possible courses of action with Mr. Noah Toumert who we had met before a CCWA event. Earlier, when we first arrived we visited with former Lakewood City Councilperson Nancy Roth and took a seat next to our good friend Ms. Janet Loehr who often attends "Happy Dog Takes on the World" gatherings and it is always good to see Mr. Chris Davis who works for Cuyahoga Jobs and Family Services but has a passion for international affairs.

We were recognized by Mr. Christian and Ms. Marianne Bernadotte from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce who said that they looked forward to seeing us soon at one of the events that their organization frequently puts on.

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC