On November 17-19, the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) hosted its first virtual global event, the 2020 WTCA “We Are Open For Business” Member Forum. Bringing together more than 300 registered participants from 141 World Trade Centers (WTCs) across the globe, alongside prominent thought leaders, the forum was filled with insightful mainstage and breakout sessions allowing Members to connect with their global colleagues and learn from expert speakers on topics relevant to today’s climate.
Highlights from the event include the introduction of three new WTCA partnerships with UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry; the Global Trade Helpdesk with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and International Trade Centre (ITC); and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). As part of the WTCA’s focus to create new strategic engagements, these organizations will expand the Association’s network of partners across various sectors and industries relevant to its Members. Through these engagements, the WTCA will enhance its Member connections and further its position as a leading advocate for global trade and investment.
Event attendees were treated to an engaging keynote address given by Adam Gordon, Engagement Director of the UNGC who discussed what the WTCA’s participation entails to ensure it operates responsibly and supports society in alignment with the ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Further, they listened to a thought-provoking Fireside Chat titled “Re-Inventing the Post-Pandemic World – Why the Future of Global Cities Started Yesterday”— between Linda Conlin, President of World Trade Center (WTC) Greater Philadelphia and Parag Khanna, Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap — on global trends that are shaping the future of global cities and the world economy, and the future of “Diplomacity” and innovation as the new balance of power. Programming also included several idea generator sessions between WTC Members and leading external experts on how WTCs can capitalize on and benefit from Academic Institutions, Logistics Hubs & Free Trade Zones, FDI and Airports in their regions. Other panel discussions were Member-driven and interactive allowing Members to learn from each other and share insights and best practices on how to look for opportunities in the Real Estate, Exhibition and Agriculture industries; how Trade Services can support all WTCs; and how to develop Education & Accelerator Programs, virtual Trade Missions and Business Clubs. The WTCA Regional Teams conducted round-ups highlighting each of the five regions that the WTCA represents and the opportunities available within each of those regions, and the WTCA Membership team provided updates and introduced new tools aimed to enhance the overall WTCA Membership experience.
Lastly, Robin van Puyenbroeck, WTCA Executive Director – Business Development announced the winners of the inaugural WTCA Champions Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions from Member World Trade Centers within the WTCA network, and in their local and global communities. This year’s winners include: Cheryl Smith of WTC Las Vegas (Champion Award for Connectivity); WTC Dublin (Champion Award for Reciprocity); Karen Gerwitz of WTC Denver (Champion Award for Network Support); EJ Schouwstra of WTC Leeuwarden (Champion Award for Sustainability); and Pamela Pascual of WTC Metro Manila (Champion Award for Member of the Year).
Seeing the diverse and engaged community come together virtually over the span of three days filled WTCA Headquarters with great pride. The WTCA relies on its Members’ engagement and relationships with each other, and it’s because of participation at this year’s Member Forum that the Association is one step closer to expanding its global network’s footprint. WTCA Headquarters thanks its Members for making this virtual event a great success and looks forward to reconnect again in person soon.
NOTE: Presentations and full video recordings from the 2020 WTCA Member Forum are available to all WTCA Members in the WTCA Resource Center here. Please note members must be logged into the WTCA Digital Platform in order to access. Also, please do not repost videos or share as they are for WTCA Members only.