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Robideaux Appoints Director of Lafayette International Center

Mar 08, 2018 04:06PM ● By Staff Writer

Mayor-President Joel Robideaux has appointed Robert Melanson as the new director of the Lafayette International Center. Melanson replaces Philippe Gustin, who retired last month. As Director of International Trade and Development, Melanson will enhance Lafayette’s international standing by hosting visiting foreign delegations, leading trade missions abroad, overseeing the facilitation of interpretation and translation services for organizations within the community and the promotion of export-driven economic growth for Lafayette and the surrounding area.

Melanson attended Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette and then graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS). He has an extensive international business background. Over the course of his career, he has worked on four different continents and speaks multiple languages, including French and Spanish. Melanson has been in the office since the beginning of February, working alongside Gustin and the rest of the staff to prepare for the transition.

Robideaux said of Melanson, “I am excited to have Robert take the helm of the International Center. Philippe leaves a legacy of noteworthy accomplishments that have made Lafayette more attractive to international trade and tourism. I am confident that under Robert’s leadership, Lafayette will continue that legacy and will expand our efforts in global business outreach.”

“In returning to my hometown of Lafayette, I am eager to draw on my skills and experience to bring the maximum benefit to my community, stated Melanson. “It is my professional and personal mission to ensure that now more than ever Lafayette, will hold its own among the cultural and economic players in the international arena.”

Prior to accepting the position at the Lafayette International Center, Melanson dedicated himself to volunteer work serving the south Louisiana area, including tutoring mathematics for Volunteer Instructors Teaching Adults (VITA);  interpreting English/Spanish for AcadianaCares, an organization devoted to assisting those affected by HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness; and participating in retreats held within the Louisiana State Penitentiary with Kairos Angola, an international prison ministry.

The Lafayette International Center was created as a division of the City of Lafayette in October of 1989, and officially opened its doors to the public in April 1990, in Lafayette's former city hall. Through the efforts of the Lafayette International Center, Lafayette is moving forward with a solid commitment to international trade and tourism development. A variety of trade-related resources are located in the Lafayette International Center, allowing optimal interaction with local and visiting foreign trade development officials and business people. With a strong commitment to trade, Lafayette stands to develop new markets for expanded production and enhanced relationships with our trade/tourism partners. For more information, visit