Mayor Vince Gray felt the need today at his sparsely attended news conference (half of Gray’s cabinet was there, but few reporters) to tout his efforts at promoting international relations.

Gray regularly meets with ambassadors and officials from around the world. So far he’s met with ambassadors of the European Union, Namibia, Albania, Japan, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Israel, Italy, and Qatar. He’s also met with the mayors of Taipei, Seoul, and Brussels, and plans on meeting next week with the mayor of the Tshwane Metropolitan Authority in South Africa. He’s also met with local lawmakers from Baghdad, Bangkok and Seoul.

Gray also recently signed a sister city agreement with the mayor Rome.

At his presser, Gray said building international relationships is “incredibly important” and will raise the District’s profile, stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

According to city staff, Gray’s international calendar is substantially more packed than former Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s. The last mayor’s meetings with international officials were “very seldom,” says a staffer who worked in the last administration. (Except when he was on vacation, that is.)

Photo by Darrow Montgomery