Real estate agents can be instrumental peacemakers by actively participating in the global real estate market. This is a bold statement. However, studies show that free enterprise cultivates friendly relations between nations. There is a great deal of empirical data as well that suggests countries who promote home ownership and personal property rights are less likely to be adversarial with fellow like-minded contemporaries.*

After a recent trade mission to Cuba, NAR President, Steve Brown came to the realization that while governments may be different fundamentally and ideologically, people are people wherever you go. “Home ownership is not just an American dream — it’s in the hearts and minds of people across the globe.” At midyear meetings in Washington, D.C. in May, he shared a heartwarming story about his trip with NAR’s Global Alliances Advisory Group.

A fellow attendee told of her Mother’s family who fled Cuba years ago, leaving practically everything behind. They buried their money in the backyard hoping someday to return. She grew up with stories of Cuba and a photo of her Grandfather’s home.

On the mission, the group was able to visit the site and connect with the family living there now. While in Cuba, they met with leaders and real estate professionals to discuss future opportunities, but this experience was by far the most meaningful. It reminded them of the true value of real estate.

It is within the boundaries of our yards and within the walls of our houses that we create memories and bond with our family. Our home is where we anchor our souls. Over many a mantle is the saying, “Home is where the heart is” and this is true whether it’s in the United States or on a distant shore. As economies become more interdependent on local to global levels, home ownership and property rights along with environmental protection, human rights, education, research, and pro-business legislation will be at the forefront of conversations.

So, how can you be a peacemaker while cultivating business? Go on a mission, whether it’s an exploratory trip of your own or an officially organized trade mission.

Participating in a Governor-lead trade mission last year to Mexico, Las Vegas REALTOR® and Global Business Committee member, Rena Levy, CIPS was amazed at how much Nevada already exports abroad. She was impressed by our Governor’s devout initiative to attract more business to Nevada by also leading trade missions to Canada, Korea, China and her home country of Israel where she is also licensed. “This Mission inspired me to take my business to the next level. Before leaving on the trip, the governor’s office assesses your business in order to facilitate relevant business to business introductions.” Rena now heads up the Global Business Committee’s work group on Expo’s and will be attending France’s real estate association’s annual convention in Paris in December. For more information you can contact GBC Chair, Evelin Paolillo at GBCChair2014@gmail.com.

Here are some additional opportunities coming up:

NAR is doing another “Study Tour” to Cuba on September 21-26, 2014 This is a U.S. Government sponsored trip that is planned and executed by Friendly Planet Travel to Cuba (Group Travel Specialists since 1981).

After many years, Americans are again able to travel to Cuba under a new ‘people-to-people’ program authorized by the U.S. government, which provides an opportunity to interact with Cubans through educational exchanges concerning art, music, culture, and more. Friendly Planet is proud to be one of the few tour companies in the United States to have been awarded a “People-to- People” license by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Join us for a unique adventure to experience this island which sits 90 miles off our shores and shares such an amazing and extraordinary history with the United States! www. FriendlyPlanet.com.

Azim Jessa, the 2013 Vice Chair of GLVAR’s Global Business Committee, encourages agents to seriously consider this trip. “Cuba was life changing for me and I would love for others to see the beauty of the island and the people!” Friendly Planet will provide an escort and translation with a staff member that has been on this tour before. This particular tour is customized to include real estate and will most likely be an intimate group of about 20 to 25 people. All questions should be directed to Erin Jalon, Friendly Planet, 215-572-9594 or email EJalon@friendlyplanet.com.

This author, NAR President Liaison to Guatemala is planning an exploratory trip to Guatemala the end of September. Guatemala does not have real estate licensure and the industry is not regulated as it is in the United States. There is plenty of opportunity for growth and to effect positive and profound change by collaborating with Guatemalan professionals and developers. This excursion will involve planning meetings for a formal trade mission in the first quarter of 2015 which will include a global real estate conference and Habitat for Humanity build. Feel free to email Tamara@UniversalRealty.com for details.

If going abroad is not in your current budget, participate in the Global Business Committee’s Las Vegas Trade Mission, September 8th. You will be able to network with international real estate professionals and investors without leaving the valley. An added benefit is that you will learn more about your market and how to promote it globally. Attend a Global meeting the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 10am at the GLVAR to learn more about how to take advantage of this unique opportunity to diversify your business.

Become part of the solution, be an agent for peace, expand your business beyond borders, explore global markets, promote home ownership and property rights.