FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
DATE:  March 7, 2006       
CONTACT: Jorge A. Ramirez, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications, (361) 825-2427; or Melissa Goonan, Public Affairs Manager, (361) 825-2337
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Harte Research Institute Announce ‘State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit 2006’
Gov. Rick Perry and other leaders from Gulf states and Mexico to attend

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other key leaders from the United States and Mexico will participate in the Harte Research Institute’s “State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit 2006” from Tuesday, March 28 through Thursday, March 30 at the Omni Bayfront Hotel.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President/CEO Flavius Killebrew and Harte Research Institute Executive Director Robert Furgason today formally announced details of the Summit. The Summit, the first of its kind to address issues specifically related to the Gulf, is expected to draw more than 300 participants.

“We are honored that Governor Perry has agreed to co-host governors from across the Gulf region on our opening day,” said Killebrew. “Governor Perry has extended invitations to all of the governors in the United States and Mexico whose states border the Gulf and who, like Texas have a vested interested in assuring the long-term sustainability of the region.”
The Summit was originally scheduled for last November. But it was postponed to give the governors of the affected states time to deal with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

During the conference, keynote presentations that focus on planning and regional cooperation to build sustainability for the Gulf of Mexico will be made by Admiral James Watkins (ret.) and Leon Panetta. Watkins is the former Chief of U.S. Naval Operations and Panetta, former White House Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration, is the founder and director of the Panetta Institute, a non-partisan center for the study of public policy located at California State University, Monterey.

Panel presentations will include discussions of catastrophic events and other issues which affect the Gulf of Mexico region such as the economy, public health, environment and governance. In addition, the Gulf Guardian Awards will be presented. These awards recognize a wide range of advocates for the Gulf of Mexico.

“Understanding the issues related to catastrophic events and long-term sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico is critical,” said Furgason. “During the three days of the summit, public officials and recognized leaders from ocean science and industry will share their expertise through panel discussions and keynote presentations. We must cross all boundaries and work together to better manage this vital asset for today and tomorrow.”

Support for the Summit has been provided by Platinum Sponsors – British Petroleum and Shell; Gold Sponsors – Apache and ExxonMobil; Silver Sponsors –KerrMagee, Amerada Hess, and Texas Parks & Wildlife; and other public, non-governmental, and private sector organizations.