2009 is the 400 year anniversary of Henry Hudson sailing from Amsterdam (Holland) to New Amsterdam (NYC). All year, governments on both sides of the Atlantic have been celebrating with cultural events, tourism programs, and various other commemorative actions. The Pioneers program is part of that celebration.

The Pioneers Sessions will celebrate the common values of creativity, diversity and entrepreneurship in Amsterdam and New York City and the two cities' shared history of urban greatness that began 400 years ago with the journey of the Dutch ship "Halve Maen," commanded by Captain Henry Hudson across the Atlantic in 1609.

The sessions will bring together a group of selected Pioneers-today's cutting edge thinkers and entrepreneurs in diverse professional fields-for a transatlantic dialogue into the frontiers of civic engagement and social entrepreneurship in Amsterdam and New York City. Participants will be young professionals drawn from a broad range of fields including academia, the arts, business, health, education, government, grassroots activism, media and technology. Pioneers will gain knowledge and inspiration from exploring how innovative thinkers from different cities and disciplines are meeting the challenges of urban, social and civic engagement.

I'm one of 20 New Yorkers that went to Amsterdam in April to meet and work with 20 Amsterdammers as part of this Pioneers program. We listened to lectures, are touring each other's cities, workshopping and brainstorming on how to create the best cities we can. Over the next few days, NYC will play host to the Pioneers from Amsterdam, and I'll be posting updates to Twitter and Facebook from the conference. If you see the #Pioneers hashtag, this is what I'm talking about.

To sample a bit more of what has come from our cultural exchange, check out this video I shot in April with Kirsten van de Hul discussing the (somewhat secret) history of Dutch dependence on slavery.

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