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DALLAS Hundreds of our world's top leaders and thinkers are descending on Dallas.

They're teaming up for a mega-brainstorming session called the New Cities Summit. The 3rd annual get-together is helping build better, safer and smarter cities. This year's theme is re-imagining cities.

'Cities have to learn from each other,' said John Rossant, the New Cities Foundation founder and chairman.

'It's pretty inspiring,' added Milos Milisavljevic, who traveled all the from Serbia. He's the brains behind Strawberry Energy and pitched the start-up company at the Winspear Opera House.

'We created the world's first public solar charging stations for portable devices,' he said enthusiastically.

Cellphones, tablets and other gadgets can feed off the charging stations thanks to the energy they soak up from the sun. Milisavljevic wants his eco-friendly technology trees growing right here in our backyard.

'You have a lot of sun,' he said. 'You have a lot of beautiful parks. You have a lot of people on the streets.'

Catherine Cuellar welcomes the advancements and opportunity to strut our success stories. She's the Dallas Arts District CEO and playing host to nearly a 1,000 guests in town for the three-day summit that began Tuesday.

'Dallas has always been an international city and this is our moment to seize, celebrate and honor the diversity that has been here for decades,' she said proudly.

This event is huge for North Texas. It's putting Dallas in the international spotlight. The first two New Cities summits were in Paris and Sao Paulo. This is the first in North America.

The invite-only event is bringing people from 40 countries under one roof.

'If you think of the whole metroplex area, North Texas, it's probably the fastest growing regional economy United States,' Rossant said.

The conversations happening now are helping put other cities on the map of innovation, as well as speed up where Dallas has been lagging behind

'We're on the precipice of Bike Share and CarShare adoption with services like Car2Go and Zipcar and we are hopefully very soon going to get bullet train service,' Cuellar said.

Email jdoren@wfaa.com

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