Seven city mayors from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border and two governors will step into the Tucson Convention Center’s ballroom for a coffee and a conversation about trade, education, immigration and beyond.

The simple, direct title of The Summit will open the door for political leaders to have a deeper conversation with local businesses, big and small.

Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Elias said, in preparing to host this event, he’s talked to entrepreneurs eager to contribute to a cause that unites neighborhoods.

“The biggest thing that we heard about is, ‘How can people feel a part of something again, to be a part of something bigger than themselves?'” Elias said. “We all want to make money and do good in the community, but we want to feel a greater purpose to making our community better.”

Elias said that holds especially true for tourism-dependent businesses that suffered greatly from pandemic closures. “What is that impact during COVID? It’s astronomical,” Elias said, “it was devastating to our community, especially other smaller communities like Nogales, Arizona. So that perspective from (Nogales’ mayors and others) is going to be fantastic.”

“The confidence that business owners have since reopening after the pandemic has been incredible.” Rob Elias, CEO and President of Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Mexican consul in Tucson, Rafael Barcel, said he hopes the leaders touch on improving migration processing so citizens of both sides can pursue their goals in business.

“One of the things when you have, for instance, temporary permits for workers, that has actually worked very well,” he said. “When you open up the process for some workers, visas are actually going to be occupied, (and) people migrate in much safer conditions.”

As for an industry where these partner communities can invest for the future, Barcel said he sees how Arizona is setting itself up to house semi-conductor plants while Sonora mines natural minerals used to create electric vehicles and solar energy farms.

“(They’re) graphite, lithium, copper, which are used to create clean energies and power electro-mobility,” Barcel said. “Both Sonora on this side, and Arizona in the U.S., are in harmony when it comes to an industry that’s innovative and more sustainable.”