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Jose Cristobal—Celebrating 45 years of his dedication and hard work to the Embassy

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

After 45 years of service at the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C., Jose Cristobal Pilligua decided to say goodbye to the place and the people that saw him grow into the person he is today.

For the past four decades, Cristobal has devoted his life to the Embassy, several Ambassadors of Ecuador to the US and employees whom have taught him many valuable lessons and interesting stories. It all started when Cristobal came to the US in 1969 after getting a job offer from Ambassador Carlos Matilla, whom he met at a restaurant in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The opportunity could’ve not been any better for him as his family was already living in the country as well.

Following his arrival to the states, Cristobal began to work as Ambassador Matilla’s residence butler. His work was instantly noted and he was incorporated as an official staff member of the Embassy, where he has been working all these years. Cristobal has served as an administrative aide and has helped in providing logistical support to the Ambassadors that have in been in service.

From all the years spent at the Embassy, Cristobal says he has lived many significant moments and important visits, such as president Correa’s. “I remember one visit that everyone coined as the “blanket story” of president Correa. It was because I had bought and stored a new blanket/pillow that I knew one day would become handy. President Correa needed to rest in between his meetings and I wanted him to feel comfortable.”

Cristobal’s stories are endless. From a time when State Department personnel though he was the Ambassador to the time when he helped evacuate the Embassy’s premises during an earthquake in 2011. Although there are many interesting stories about Cristobal, the one that will always remain in the hearts of his friends and coworkers at the Embassy, is the one of a man who was loyal to those who surrounded him and who was always willing to go the extra mile for those who served at the Embassy during his time.

Now, officially retired, Cristobal is on his way back to Ecuador where he plans to spend his time growing cacao and coconuts in two small farms in the south of the country.

Ambassador Cely Meets with Angel Investors—Helping Ecuadorian Companies reach the U.S. Market.

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (October 28, 2014) – American Angel investors met with Ambassador of Ecuador to the US Nathalie Cely to discuss the benefits and advantages of investing in Ecuador-based companies.

The group of participants includes six American investors seeking to invest in Ecuadorian business ideas, as well as business owners who seek to expand their operations to the Unites States and other international locations.

The event served as the second phase of Ecuador’s Innovation Challenge, where investors listened to business proposals prepared by the winners selected during the first phase of the competition in early July. The business ideas focus in the areas of software and technology, tourism and agribusiness, and renewable energy.

The third and final phase of the competition requires finalists to present their final business proposals to potential angel investors. In preparation to presenting to potential investors, the finalists will receive technical training, as well as business and presentation coaching.

The last phase will take place at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington, DC in November 2014.

Paola Molina— Give me an opportunity and I will take it by storm!

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

As Ecuadorian Paola Molina, PhD candidate, reflects on her journey to becoming a successful scientist, she recognizes that her parents helped pave the way for her by reinforcing hard work and determination.

When Paola turned 5-years-old, her parents made the decision to immigrate to the United States to seek higher opportunities of employment and education for their family. Her father, a trained physician, knew that practicing the profession in a foreign country was going to be a challenge. However, after a few years of trying to make it work, he made the move back to Ecuador once he realized that he wasn’t able to work in the US.

Paola’s father had exposed her from an early age to his work ethic and career, and as the years went by Paola learned to love the field. In 2000, her parents returned to New York with the hopes that Paola could take advantage of education opportunities in the US. By that time she already knew that she was following in her father’s footsteps and becoming a science major.

Paola recalled being inspired by scientists, especially her father. “They seem to know a lot. Biologists understand and know how things work,” she said after earning her Bachelors in Sciences from Cumberland University in 2008.

“When I graduated, a professor suggested that I get involved in a research project so that I could improve my chances of getting accepted into medical school. I decided that this would be another opportunity for me to seek more preparation in the science field so I took the challenge and enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) to pursue a graduate degree in Biology,” she added.

During her time as a graduate student, Paola focused her research on the effect of ultraviolet light on cancer cells. These studies further developed her interests in research. Paola graduated from MTSU in 2012, and that same year began the PhD program. She said her parents have been instrumental in encouraging her to continue working hard to achieve her goals.

And that has been exactly what Paola has been doing. Paola is one of the researchers at MTSU. She is focusing her research in mitochondrial diseases, which are diseases inherited through the mother’s side of the DNA. She expressed how she wants her research to make a positive impact in the scientific industry. “I want to help advance the research on these diseases, as the available treatments are still very risky for the patients.”

Paola is expecting to finish her PhD in 2016, and she hopes to join the research team at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Her dream is to be a part of Mr. Douglas Gree’s team, one of the leading children’s cancer researchers in the country.

In retrospect, Paola says that coming from Ecuador and having learned the value of determination and hard work from her parents made her seize every opportunity in her career. “When you think about Ecuador, you may think that it’s a small country—but regardless of how small it is, we never give up. Give me an opportunity and I will thrive. I will work hard and take it by storm.”


Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

En el Marco de la Feria Gastronómica Exquisite Ecuador, la Embajada de Ecuador en Estados Unidos hizo la presentación oficial del Estudio de Comercio 2014, mismo que refleja la relación comercial bilateral entre Ecuador y Estados Unidos.

El Estudio presentado, entre sus principales resultados demuestra que entre los países latinoamericanos con comercio bilateral total con Estados Unidos mayor a $10mil millones de dólares, Ecuador es el país con mayor crecimiento en la última década, con una tasa de crecimiento anual de 19% del 2003 al 2013.

El Ecuador es un mercado estratégico para las exportaciones estadounidenses, situándose en la 3era posición de los países latinoamericanos importadores de sus productos, con un crecimiento promedio anual del 20% en los últimos 10 años.

Un factor importante a resaltar es que estas tendencias de crecimiento continúan estables durante el 2014. Las exportaciones del Ecuador hacia Estados Unidos han aumentado en un 45% entre enero y julio de 2014. Entre los productos con mayor crecimiento podemos encontrar:

- Químicos como Sulfato con 1380%

- Camarón 60% de crecimiento comparado con el mismo periodo del 2013

- Cacao y productos del cacao 57% de crecimiento comparado con el mismo periodo del 2013

Estados Unidos se ha convertido, nuevamente, en el primer mercado para las exportaciones ecuatorianas no petroleras, tomando en cuenta que entre enero y julio de 2014 el 28% de las exportaciones ecuatorianas no petroleras fueron para Estados Unidos. Conforme el reciente estudio realizado por Fedexport, el comercio total no petrolero con Estados Unidos superó el de Europa.

Cifras interesantes:

- Al considerar comercio total (exportaciones e importaciones incluyendo petróleo): California es el estado que más comercializa con Ecuador. Le siguen Texas, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Illinois y Georgia.

- Al considerar comercio no-petrolero total (exportaciones e importaciones): Florida es el estado que más comercializa seguido por Texas, California, New Jersey y Louisiana.

- Comercio total entre Ecuador y Florida (X y I) ha aumentado a una tasa promedio anual de 10% entre 2009 y 2013.

- Comercio total entre 2012 y 2013 creció en 13% y 20% entre enero y julio del 2014 comparado al mismo periodo del 2013.

- El puerto (Customs district que incluye puertos y aeropuertos) de Miami abarca el 97% del comercio entre Ecuador y Florida. Le sigue Tampa con 3% del comercio.

- Los principales productos (por valor) exportados por la Florida en 2013 fueron productos de maquinaria eléctrica (impresoras, electrónicos, productos ópticos). Los principales productos importados son camarón, oro y rosas.

En este contexto, como estrategia de apoyo a la promoción comercial y turística de nuestro país, se realizó el lanzamiento de la campaña All You Need Is Ecuador Turismo y Comercio, misma que estará vistiendo buses y trenes de Miami, Washington y Chicago con imágenes representativas de nuestro país y nuestros productos. “4 mundos en un solo país” es lo que refleja la campaña que próximamente será también difundida en los principales medios de comunicación de Estados Unidos gracias al trabajo interinstitucional con el Ministerio de Turismo.


Friday, October 24th, 2014

On Thursday, October 23rd, Ambassador of Ecuador to the U.S. Nathalie Cely accepted the “Global Hero Award” at the World Chamber of Commerce (WCC) Business and Immigration Forum for the work done by the Embassy of Ecuador in the United States to strengthen commercial ties, promote tourism, and promote entrepreneurship among Ecuadorians living in this country. The Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson presented the award at a gala in the city of Atlanta and declared the Ambassador a distinguished guest of the Georgia Senate. More than 400 leaders from business, government, media, and diplomacy attended the gala.

Ecuador’s economy is ranked one of the top four fastest growing economies in South America. The government of President Rafael Correa has overcome the country’s past of political and economic instability and has transformed the country into an attractive place to live, work, and invest. Ecuador has become a key player in the region’s economic future. Additionally, U.S.-Ecuadorian trade is among the fastest growing bilateral trade relationship in the region, having increased 23 percent in total non-petroleum bilateral trade between January and July 2014.

“I am extremely honored to receive the World Chamber of Commerce Global Hero Award on behalf of the Ecuadorian government and particularly the Ecuadorians living in this region and throughout the United States, who contribute their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit to the growth of this great country” said Ambassador Cely. “Ecuador and the U.S. have proven a historically strong trading partnership. We look forward to continuing to increase the level of trade with the U.S. that has strong economic impacts for both economies and job creation.”

Ambassador Cely also mentioned the great potential for trade relationships between Georgia and Ecuador, as well as tourism and cooperation in science and technology. She highlighted the fact that Georgia is among the top 10 U.S. states with an increase level of trade with Ecuador. There are great investment opportunities for Georgia companies, such as Coca Cola who is set to invest $1 billion over the next five years. Additionally, the company Ventyx is rendering software development services of $6.5 million for CNTEL. The next agreement to be signed is between Georgia Tech and Yachay for cooperation in the areas of innovation and industrial development. “The potential is huge and we are here to develop partnerships to leverage these opportunities” said Ambassador Cely.

The gala was attended by the presidents of chambers of commerce in the United States and Ecuador, Ecuadorian cultural associations and other distinguished Ecuadorian residents in Atlanta, who expressed their satisfaction and pride that the Embassy and the country was being honored with this honorable mention and pledge to work together for the development of the country.

Ambassador Cely additionally used the visit to Atlanta to participate in various activities to strengthen the ties of trade between Ecuador and the State of Georgia. These activities included a visit to the city airport and meeting with authorities, with whom together they identified opportunities to strengthen connectivity and promote tourism of Ecuador in Atlanta.

Similarly, the Ambassador met with the Ecuadorian community in Atlanta as part of the ceremony in which the Georgia Congressman Pedro Marín recognized the Ambassador as an honorary citizen of the State of Georgia. Finally, the Ambassador visited the Georgia Institute of Technology, a leading academic institution that is about to begin a process of knowledge-sharing with Yachay, “The City of Knowledge,” and where young Ecuadoreans are studying with support from the national government grant programs.