For the past six years, the New York staff for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), in concert with the FBI and locally-based academic institutions, has organized an annual security conference focusing on international law enforcement. The conference this year allowed three IVLP groups, all high level law enforcement professionals representing 32 countries, to come together and meet with U.S. counterparts.
Planning started last fall as we sat down with our longtime partner, the FBI’s New York Field Office, and new partner, the New York Institute for Technology, which added innovative perspectives on this year’s theme of cyber-crime. The conference opened with dynamic and incisive discussions around the topic of “Combating International Crime: Global Cooperation.” A rising leader within the Hong Kong police force stated during a panel how much he valued sharing information on crime syndicates with FBI counterparts, which will help everyone better track Chinese crime syndicates. An area commander from the Police Service of Northern Ireland at one point engaged in a lively give-and-take about the importance of community policing. Additionally, a representative of Italy’s Ministry of Justice spoke with conviction about the need to create a uniform formula to define the concept of corruption globally – an idea seconded by law enforcement professionals from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The exchanges and discussions drive the conference, but what makes the experience unique is the afternoon excursions to confer with security teams at some of New York’s landmarks: Grand Central Station, the New York Stock Exchange, the United Nations, Madison Square Garden, and the nearly complete Freedom Tower. One participant remarked that he had seen New York’s highs and lows – the Long Island railroad tunnels under construction at Grand Central Terminal, 100 feet below the number 6 subway, and the top of the Freedom Tower, at 1,776 feet, the tallest building in North America.
And our planning team? No matter what heights we need to reach, we’re ready for 2014.
About the Author: Chris Halecki serves as a Program Officer for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.