A group of 36 ambassadors representing nations on five continents visited FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing on Tuesday, Jan. 14, to learn more about research taking place at the International Hurricane Research Center’s Wall of Wind.

The visit was part of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Chief of Protocol’s Experience America trip to Miami, during which members of the diplomatic corps and their spouses engaged with prominent business leaders and local entrepreneurs, seeking to build new economic partnerships, and learn about the many benefits of doing business in Miami.

The contingent participated in events that promote new economic partnerships and highlight Miami’s global status as a business and financial hub, and learned about local efforts to foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and small business growth.

The ambassadors were welcomed to FIU by Hilarion “Lari” Martinez, associate provost and senior international officer, and Steve Sauls, vice president for governmental relations. Richard Olson, professor and director of extreme events research at FIU, spoke briefly about threats posed by hurricanes and other natural disasters before introducing Arindam Chowdhury, director of wind engineering research at the IHRC, who discussed the research he oversees at the Wall of Wind.

The ambassadors then took part in a tour and demonstration of the Wall of Wind, the nation’s only university research facility capable of simulating Category 5 hurricane winds.

This is the 13th Experience America trip overall and ninth since the beginning of the Obama Administration. Since 2009, ambassadors from more than 100 countries have participated in Experience America trips. Previous destinations include Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, as well as multiple cities in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Texas and Wyoming.

By James Hellegaard