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
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.
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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