July 27, 2008
Organized by CEOs for Cities and NOLA YURP (The New Orleans Young Urban Rebuilding Professionals Initiative). The Urban Next Summit was a gathering of emerging urban leaders along with established leaders to discuss a number of questions around cities including: “What creates a culture of opportunity? How do you draw ambitious people to a city? And how do you engage them on the issues that matter most?”
Leading a discussion with Carol Coletta and Diana Lind, Aly Khalifa of Gamil presented the theoretical and technical basis for SparkCon as a catalyst for energizing local talent within a city. A great discussion ensued with leaders from around the country including Portland, OR, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans.
More impressive was to hear the first hand experiences of New Orleans leaders Nolan Marshall III of Common Good and Young Leadership Council, Robbie Vitrano of Trumpet, Vera Triplett of UNO and Capital One Charter Schools, and Mai Tang of Mary Queen of VietNam Church CDC. These four community leaders presented the struggles of post Katrina NOLA, but were all optimistic of the future. In particular they seemed to say that Katrina did make long-established “cultural silos” disappear, and that the new cooperaion across these cultural divides has made the improvement of New Orleans much more doable. Vitrano called these opportunities “gems within the tragedy” and thought these lessons could apply to other cities as well.
Here is an article on that discussion.