“Collaboration” was top of mind during the 26th annual World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) “Embassy Night” on October 7. From the breakout session “East meets West” to the carefully orchestrated distribution of influential business leaders and diplomatic officials at 34 tables, each bearing a featured country’s flag, to the keynote address by Dr. Cornelius Kerwin, President of American University, the emphasis was on the public, private, and social sector partnerships, and the power of collaboration.
Dr. Kerwin addressed the 300+ guests, sharing insights on the obligation and opportunity for American universities to be both competitive and collaborative. He emphasized “competitive” in terms of accountability for universities and other institutes of higher learning, emphasizing that leaders in these organizations can no longer afford to regard themselves as apart from, but rather a part of, the network of business, civil society, and government organizations.
“The ivory tower is a matter of the past. The watchword is collaboration.”
As Dr. Kerwin encouraged all members of the network to consider the vast networks of universities—and to call upon their resources—he also encouraged aggressively pursuing partnerships “to serve our students, nation, and the world at large.” In particular, he emphasized the importance of study—and work—for both foreign students in the U.S. as well as American students studying abroad, referring to it as the “greatest lab for global learning.”
“We have a joint obligation to prepare men and women for the business and public sector, and that need goes beyond a given field of study,” he said, while thanking embassy partners for their contributions and encouraging further collaboration.
Rounding out the theme for the evening included highlights of excellent partnerships between leading businesses in key countries, including Intel in Malaysia, Ayers Saint Gross in Saudi Arabia, CTRL Systems in China, Earth Networks in Guinea, Pfizer in Chile, and Premier Rides, Inc. in India.
The World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) is the largest international business network of its kind in the mid-Atlantic, striving to drive the growth of Maryland’s flourishing global business community. Today more than 18,000 clients have benefited from WTCI’s global connections, events, international visitors program and extensive global business services. Events like Embassy Night provide an opportunity for global citizens to network and a platform for citizen diplomacy.
Laura Asiala is the Vice President, Public Affairs at PYXERA Global. Passionate about the power of business to solve—or help solve—the world’s most intransigent problems, she leads the efforts to attract more participation of businesses to contribute to sustainable development through their people and their work. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Net Impact, a community of more than 40,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace.