Israeli Consul General does Mississippi tour, visits Birmingham

Consul General Anat Sultan-Dadon met with Governor Tate Reeves.

Israeli Consul General Anat Sultan-Dadon recently had a series of meetings with government, academic and business leaders in Alabama and Mississippi, exploring ways to expand collaboration between the states and Israel.

Sultan-Dadon heads the Israeli Consulate to the Southeastern United States. Based in Atlanta, she is responsible for a seven-state territory.

On Aug. 21, Sultan-Dadon had a day in Birmingham for visits with several partner organizations.

The day began at Miles College, for a meeting with President Bobbie Knight, senior faculty members and student leaders, to discuss academic cooperation. That meeting was preceded by a breakfast with the Birmingham Times, Southern Jewish Life and Miles officials to discuss the journalism internship that took place this year. The two publications shared an intern, Kiara Dunlap, then a senior at Miles, during the first half of the year, in a program supported by the Consulate and donors in the Jewish and Black communities. The internship culminated in a trip to Israel with Philos Black.

Sultan-Dadon was the featured speaker at a lunch meeting for Birmingham’s historic YMBC, for a discussion of current events in the Middle East, and U.S.-Israel relations.

There was a meeting with state leaders hosted by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, to discuss existing relationships and further opportunities for collaboration.

The day concluded with a visit to the Levite Jewish Community Center to meet with Executive Director Brooke Bowles and her team, learning about how the LJCC promotes Jewish identity and works with the wider community. There were discussions on working with Israel, especially on inclusion and assisting those with disabilities.

Extended Mississippi Tour

On Aug. 29, the Consulate staff started a two-day visit to Mississippi in Gulfport, visiting the University of Southern Mississippi’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. The visit included an introduction to the Gulf Blue Navigator program, which opened last year. The program provides a place for startup businesses involved in ocean health and economic development, and recently launched its first group of six startup companies in a six-month program.

They also met with the leaders of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Business Council, to discuss opportunities in the area.

Mississippi Development Authority Deputy Director and Chief Economic Development Officer Bill Cork accompanied the consulate for much of the visit, and the consulate said the Development Authority was “an invaluable partner in arranging many program components.”

The next stop was Hattiesburg, for tours of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Innovation and Commercialization Center, and the Trent Lott National Center. According to the consulate, “The center’s dedication to research, international relations, and policy development provided an ideal setting for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.” There was also a visit to the Mississippi Polymer Institute.

Consul General Anat Sultan-Dadon meets with the staff of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life and members of Jackson’s Jewish community at Beth Israel.

In Jackson, Sultan-Dadon met with Governor Tate Reeves, who presented her with a gubernatorial proclamation celebrating Israel’s 75th birthday. “I enjoyed discussing economic development and how we can further improve the lives of our citizens,” Reeves said. “For almost 75 years, our countries have worked together as close allies, and I look forward to making Mississippi’s partnership with Israel even stronger over the coming years.” She also met with Department of Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson, and the department held an evening gathering to discuss economic development.

Sultan-Dadon also visited with Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, to explore cooperation between the city and Israel. She also visited Jackson State University, meeting with President Elayne Hayes-Anthony, the executive cabinet and student leaders. The visit included a tour of the university’s COFO Civil Rights Education Center, led by its director, Robert Luckett.

The delegation also visited the Two Mississippi Museums, the Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History.

At the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the team learned about the center’s research and community outreach, especially the STORK initiative that trains first responders and teams on the ground to assist patients before, during and after childbirth.

There was also a gathering at Beth Israel to meet members of the Jackson Jewish community and the staff of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. There was a discussion of current events in Israel, and Israel-Diaspora relations.

Sultan-Dadon reflected that the visit “reaffirmed the warmth and enthusiasm that characterize the relations between Israel and Mississippi. The shared commitment to progress and partnership is truly inspiring. As we celebrate Israel’s 75th Independence and 75 years of robust relations between Israel and the United States, we look forward to further strengthening the bonds that unite us and exploring new avenues for mutually beneficial collaboration.”