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Global Washington Brings Together Local Businesses to Build a Better World
By Asli Omur
December 12, 2008


     Washington has long been known for coffee consumption, laptops and natural wonders, but some want to add globalism to that list.

     Global Washington aims to do just that. Global Washington, under support of the Seattle Foundation, made their debut last week to a crowd of 270. Global Washington, co-founded by Bill and Paula Clapp, attempts to bring together local businesses and associations to interact with foreign governments and banks. This domino effect in collaboration is meant to assist Third World citizens in purchasing things like laptops, medicine or starting up small businesses.

     The Seattle Foundation was first developed with the intention of internationalism and global sustainable development to help poorer nations stay on track and reap the benefits of a more globalised economy. The Seattle Foundation is funded and supported by companies like Microsoft, One World Now! and the Seattle chapter of World Affairs Council, among others.

     The Clapps have long seen a plethora of information and wealth in Washington State and hope to transport some of those cutting edge ideas about poverty reduction to countries like Kenya, Nicaragua, China, Brazil and Argentina. “We need to build dialogue, meet others who are interested or engaged in the same mission as our own. Often, we are too busy to talk and if we do we rarely speak across sectors. Global Washington wants to help change that,” Bill Clapp said to the attendees.

     Susan Jeffords, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Washington Bothell campus, finds that many times the connection one was looking for has been in their backyard all along. “We went to Kenya for a project and met someone else from the University of Washington that had nothing to do with our department. And I just think, why do we have to go half way around the world to meet someone doing what we do from the same area?” Jeffords said to the audience.

     Lance LeLoup, Vice Provost of International Programs and professor at Washington State University makes use of his position to “internationalize” the university. Leloup has taught and lived in England, France, Hungary and Slovenia. “There is a need for the public in the private sector. We need to make it open and safe to take these chances. I hold myself accountable to serve the citizens of the world,” he said.  

Worldwide Managing Director for the Partnerships for Technology Access Initiative at Microsoft
Corporation, Diana Pallais, expressed the value of an organization like Global Washington. Pallais represents public-private partnerships through financing and technology. She aides in extending loans to certain groups within the Third World and working with foreign governments to provide collateral to the banks they are working with. “We are stronger together. We need each other. I might not be here in a year. Essentially, what we are doing is risky, but they stand to benefit.”


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