World Affairs Council of Charlotte Hosts President of Costa Rica

CHARLOTTE -- The City of Charlotte hosted a foreign nation's Head of State for only the second time in history on Thursday. Luis Guillermo Solis is Costa Rica's current president. Welcomed by Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, President Solis spoke to room full of Charlotte leaders, community members and students.

"This is one of the most important things a president can do is to go out and talk about his country," said President Solis.

City Councilman David Howard said a visit by a foreign leader is a positive reflection of our economy.

"It establishes the fact that Charlotte is really seriously being respected as being part of the international community."

President Solis wants to continue and add business connections in the Tar Heel State.

"I think these are two, a country and a state that are very complementary in the creation of global value chains, and I hope that in acknowledging that relationship we will be able to intensify our trade and also the investments that can be made in Costa Rica by firms that are already established in the Charlotte area," said Solis.

A former teacher and professor, Solis highlighted the importance of education.

"We have been investing in Costa Rican education for over 150 years. We have a constitutional mandate to spend up to 8 percent of our GDP on our public education."

Part of his trip will be spent watching his son, Ignacio Solis, graduate with honors Friday from Lenoir-Rhyne University.

"I'm very excited to visit with him, and I'm very grateful because he was able to study at Lenoir-Rhyne, and as a result of a scholarship, he got to play soccer and study here and so this has been the opportunity of his life and he has used it very well."

Watch his full address from the Westin in uptown Charlotte: