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Georgia Realtors Hugh Gilliam and Dan Easton Co-sponsor World Affairs Council of Atlanta Conference
The World Affairs Council of Atlanta (WACA) held a conference entitled, Getting Real About Business in Cuba: Myths & Realities, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. Realtors Hugh Gilliam and Dan Easton were co-sponsors of the event.
WACA’s mission statement is “to deepen the understanding of world affairs, enhance the international reputation and help drive the economic development of Atlanta, the state, and the region.” With Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport serving 70 destinations in 45 countries, Atlanta is poised to be a significant part of the international landscape as it continues to develop.
The conference discussed details about the current legal issues and embargo that is still in place with Cuba. A panel discussion was also held about the current conditions and mindset within Cuba, with an inside perspective offered by Collin Laverty. He has resided in Cuba for the last decade and is the founder and president of Cuba Educational Travel. Ruben Ramos, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Cuba to the United States, also took part in the discussion.
The WACA conference keynote address was given by Carlos Gutierrez, the former chairman and CEO of The Kellogg Company and past U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush. Gutierrez made headlines recently when he wrote a decisive op-ed piece in The New York Times about Cuba. Born in Havana, he left Cuba in 1960 and made his first return for a visit in August. In his keynote, Gutierrez said “you could see the beginning of commerce” in a country that had previously only had nationalized businesses since a government proclamation in 1968. He also believes the timing is finally right for more normalized relations between Cuba and the U.S. as “both sides have aligned interests” now.
Dan Easton, who took part in a delegation visit to Cuba this summer with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, agreed with the perceptions provided at the conference. “After being in Havana, experiencing it first-hand and meeting with several Cuban officials, I agree with the assessments offered at the conference today. I was also really encouraged by remarks given by Carlos Gutierrez and his positive outlook for future relations.”
Easton is licensed to sell real estate in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina and specializes in mountain properties. He is a Resort & Second-home Property Specialist (RSPS). With the National Association of Realtors reporting that 21 percent of all transactions in 2014 were for vacation home sales, Easton is preparing for a future, new international real estate influx. He and Hugh Gilliam are two of less than two dozen Realtors in Georgia to earn the Certified International Property Specialist designation. Both belong to the International Real Estate Federation, the Asian Real Estate Association of America and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
Gilliam reflected on the conference by saying, “It was a very informative and excellent platform to present conversation and dialogue on the opportunities and obstacles of doing business in Cuba.
Gilliam just returned from attending the Asia Pacific Real Estate Congress held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event was put on by the FIABCI-USA International Real Estate Federation and featured agents from dozens of countries. Gilliam’s past achievements include assisting to create the Cobb International Business Council and leading a trade mission to Belgium. Earlier this year, Gilliam started a quarterly publication called Doorways International Magazine, which features exclusive properties for sale around the world.
The approximately 200 attendees were made up of government and state officials, academics from Georgia State University and its J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Agnes Scott College, students, business organizations and global business leaders.
To contact Atlanta Communities Realtor Hugh Gilliam, call 770-240-2000 or visit www.HousesCondosandMore.com. To reach Dan Easton, owner/broker of Three Springs Realty in Blairsville, call 706-835-5149 or visit www.ThreeSpringsRealty.com.
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