Arizona’s Future in the Global Economy & Thunderbird’s President Take Center Stage at Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations Event

October 15, 2013

As a state competing in the global economy, Arizona is moving in the right direction, but not fast enough, said Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D.  during his keynote address at the International State of the State Luncheon hosted by the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations today in Phoenix.

Penley noted that Arizona is a leader in high-tech manufacturing, aerospace, mining, solar, and transportation equipment. However, while Arizona’s export volume expanded by 23 percent from 2005 to 2012, every other state grew faster during the period except Colorado, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Vermont and Hawaii.

“Arizona must expand its horizons,” said Penley. While acknowledging that the state should not overlook opportunities close to home in Mexico and Canada, he added, “The balance of power in the global economy has shifted toward Asia and Africa.”

The key to Arizona’s growth, said Penley, will be to work together as leaders of public, private and academic organizations.

Following his address, Penley moderated a panel discussion on how best to shape Arizona into a global economic leader. The panel included the President of the AZ Chamber of Commerce and Industry Glenn Hamer, former U.S. Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Douglas Hartwick, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

Stanton recognized Thunderbird’s global reach in his comments, saying, “When we travel around the world, we run into talented Thunderbird graduates everywhere we go.”

More of Penley’s thoughts on Arizona and the global economy are available in his recent “Viewpoints” column in The Arizona Republic. Read it here: Arizona has a great story: Let’s tell the world about it.



Virginia Mungovan
Public Relations Specialist
Thunderbird School of Global Management


About Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird is the world’s No.1-ranked school of international business with nearly 70 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world. For more about Thunderbird, visit