Foreign Ambassadors Tour Northwest Arkansas

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From calling the Hogs to seeing how Tyson and Walmart operate, ambassadors from Albania to Uraguay got a taste of Northwest Arkansas Tuesday.  

Nearly 50 delegates from around the world are making their way across the country on a Department of State ‘Experience America’ trip.

The group spent the last three days in the Natural State and Tuesday, the ambassadors were on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

“I can call the Hogs, I did a little exercise yesterday and I`m not an expert but I`m willing to learn,” said Norway Ambassador, Wegger Strommen.

The tour started the Arkansas leg of their trip in Little Rock with a welcome reception and dinner at the Clinton Presidential Center, with Bill Clinton, the former Arkansas governor and president.

“They are a part of this whole Experience America trip which is designed to showcase the great people, customs, traditions, businesses, organizations of our great nation,” said U.S. Chief of Protocol, Capricia Penavic Marshall.

Experience America allows global ambassadors to meet local leaders, make connections with business people and develop U.S. contacts.

 “I knew a little bit about the natural state, that tourism is very important here but I`ve learned a lot more about the business opportunities. Norway is big in the energy sector so that`s something that`s really been interesting me,” Strommen said.

After spending time on the U of A campus, the Explore America group headed north to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

While in Northwest Arkansas the ambassadors also toured Tyson Foods in Springdale, Walmart headquarters in Bentonville and other big name companies.

This is the eleventh Experience America trip since 2007, and previous destinations include Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, as well as multiple cities in Alaska, California, Florida, Texas, and Wyoming. Since 2009, ambassadors from more than 100 countries have participated in Experience America trips, according to the U.S. Department of State website.