The Office of Global Intergovernmental Affairs and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security co-hosted a Symposium on Security for Major Sporting Events in New Orleans, April 30-May 1, to advance U.S.-Brazil state and local cooperation. On the sidelines of the 2013 World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF), co-hosted by Mayor Landrieu and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the two-day Security Symposium convened security officials from the Brazilian states which will host the 2014 World Cup Games. Officials from eight U.S. federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies responsible for the organization and support of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans shared best practices on the coordination of the largest annual sporting event in the United States.
The recent tragedy in Boston has underscored the importance of effective collaboration with local officials on the security of major events. With U.S. state and local officials readdressing security measures in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing, the WCEF included a Special Session on Hosting Large International Sporting Events, moderated by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, which featured Mayor Landrieu and Michael Anderson, Director, FBI New Orleans.
The Security Symposium featured panel discussions which provided unique opportunities for peer-to-peer exchanges between the U.S. and Brazilian officials. After providing welcoming remarks to the Security Symposium, I participated in the lively discussions and witnessed first-hand the keen interest and information sharing between Symposium participants. One of the most valuable presentations, provided by the Public Safety Director of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, detailed the successful management and security requirements which ensured the safety of 80,000 people attending the Super Bowl.
The Security Symposium also provided opportunities for U.S. and Brazilian officials to interact on a social basis forging relationships which will lead to future discussions to advance U.S.-Brazil Cooperation. With fewer than 400 days until the start of the World Cup, we will continue to collaborate with Brazilian local officials on a wide range of areas, including security; youth development and training; women in sports; social and racial inclusion; accessibility, English language training and cultural exchanges.
About the Author: Reta Jo Lewis serves as the Secretary's Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs.