Thirty-four leaders of binational chambers of commerce in Atlanta were briefed on the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s international activities during the International Leadership Council’s annual dinner on June 27.

The council, founded in 1993, is an organization of heads of binational and multinational chambers of commerce in the metro Atlanta area that provides a forum where they can discuss issues of interest to the international business community and mentor newer or smaller chambers to make them more effective.

“The ILC is not a ‘chamber of chambers’ but an organization of presidents of the chambers,” said Mark Pierson, the council’s chairman. Mr. Pierson is also founder of the Global Pierson Group and assists with GlobalAtlanta’s marketing efforts.

The ILC provides a single point of contact for business and government leaders to access the international chambers and allows the international chambers to collectively present their concerns to government officials.

The council learned on June 27 about the Georgia Economic Development Department’s international activities from Commissioner Craig Lesser.

Mr. Lesser stressed the importance of the department “creating and sustaining relationships” with foreign contacts, asserting that the binational organizations in Atlanta are integral in forging those overseas relationships.

He also discussed the closing of Georgia’s Brussels, Belgium, office, saying its Munich office would become the main Georgia post in Europe. He also said that the department is seeking to have an office at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Metz, France, campus to recruit European companies to invest in Georgia.

Mr. Lesser also announced the department’s upcoming international trade missions to Mexico in September and China in October. India is also “on the radar screen,” he said.

A Georgia delegation will be attending the Southeast United States conferences in Japan and Korea in October.

“The department has never made so many trips, but this is what the business community is demanding,” Mr. Lesser said.

This year’s ILC dinner with 34 attendees was its largest turnout since its first event held in 1993 with eight members.

To learn more about the ILC, visit or contact Mr. Pierson at Visit for information about the Georgia Department of Economic Development.