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  • Monday, December 21, 2015 3:28 PM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)

    “China’s President in Tacoma: Why it Matters”

    On December 2, 2015, UW Tacoma’s Institute for Global Engagement and the Division of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, in collaboration with the World Affairs Council Tacoma (WACT) inaugurated the “Global Classroom” series, featuring Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Port Commissioner Connie Bacon.

    Left to Right - Asst. Prof. Mark William McGuire - Commissioner Connie Bacon - Mayor Marilyn Strickland

    Left to Right: Assistant Professor William McGuire, Port Commissioner Connie Bacon, Mayor of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland 

    Why did Chinese President Xi Jinping visit Tacoma? What are the economic, cultural and political implications for our region of this unprecedented attention from a rising world power?

    The speakers addressed these and other questions in a conversation moderated by UW Tacoma Assistant Professor William McGuire in UW Tacoma’s Jane Russell Commons to a packed audience of around 100 students and community members. The interactive speaker series is intended to explore in-depth issues of global significance and their local implications. These quarterly, moderated conversations will feature leading practitioners and scholars, who will shed light on the complexities of global events and help us understand the influence of these events in the South Sound.

    One of the most important themes to emerge from the conversation is that the world economy and geopolitics are changing quickly and Tacoma is earning its place on the international stage. This is evident from the growing trade flows between the Port of Tacoma and China, as well as the Chinese investments in Tacoma’s infrastructure, industry, and real estate.

    President Xi’s visit was a rewarding experience for our city and region. Acknowledging the high geopolitical stakes in hosting President Xi, both the Mayor and Commissioner emphasized the importance of cultural awareness and building strong personal relationships.

    President Xi had visited Tacoma earlier, in 1993, when he was a Communist Party official in the Chinese port city of Fuzhou. Commissioner Bacon played a pivotal role in Xi’s first visit and went on to visit Fuzhou herself.  These visits laid the foundation for the sister-city agreement between Tacoma and Fuzhou.

    “Relationships are everything” Bacon said. “In building lasting relationships, you need to develop cultural competency, genuine interest in other people’s values, and treat them with dignity and respect.”  Cultural competency will be the best tool to navigate in a global, interconnected world. Relationships are not one-hit wonders, but are cultivated over years. We can have lasting peace by building it one relationship at a time.


    In Chinese culture, important visits typically involve an exchange of gifts. Mayor Strickland mentioned that President Xi was given a jersey from the Lincoln High School football team, which entailed an extensive discussion about its color, its number and so on. The jersey with gold stripes and the number 1 was a winner. President Xi reciprocated by inviting 100 Lincoln High School students to China.

    The speakers also commented on the important economic relationship between the US and China, and the importance of this relationship to Tacoma. The Commissioner and the Mayor downplayed concerns from those who argued this is not an equitable relationship, for example citing concerns about the trade deficit. They pointed out that trade and investment is mutually beneficial for both nations.

    The speakers highlighted the industrial, residential, and retail projects being developed in Tacoma by Chinese investors. Among the EB5 investments, a Shanghai-based developer is planning to build a hotel with mixed residential and retail space next to the convention center. A company from Wuhan is planning another mixed residential-retail development in the brewery district.

    Although there may be concerns about issues such as religious freedom, democracy, and human rights in China, the speakers argued that we need to be mindful of our own problems before preaching change to others. They also agreed that the best way to change others is to engage with them—by showing a willingness to learn from their virtues and encouraging them to learn from our own.

    Mayor Strickland emphasized the importance of President Xi’s invitation to 100 Lincoln High School students to travel to China next year. This is an opportunity for these students to become students of the world—to learn, to navigate, and to change the world.


    Left to Right: Assistant Professor William McGuire, Port Commissioner Connie Bacon, Mayor of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland, Professor Turan Kayaoglu

    During the question and answer period, several people in the audience raised concerns about the Chinese-funded methanol plant proposed by Northwest Innovation Works that will be located on the Tacoma Tideflats. The multibillion dollar plant will convert natural gas to methanol that will then be shipped to China, where it will be converted into olefin, which can then be used to make plastics.  One concern is that this will require substantial amounts of water and power. It also poses environmental risks, if there is a methanol leak at the plant. Commissioner Bacon argued that the environmental risks were minimal, the plant would provide employment opportunities, and increasing demand for utilities will allow Tacoma utility providers to exploit economies of scale -- potentially leading to lower prices. The members of the public who spoke were not convinced, and the Mayor offered to host a forum devoted specifically to a discussion of the plant.

    The Q&A session was lively and far-reaching, and ultimately was brought to a close before a number of attendees had the opportunity to ask questions. Guests were encouraged to linger after the close of the program to engage with the speakers and other attendees, and many did so. It proved to be an animated and provocative evening, and a great way to launch this new collaborative program between the Council and UW Tacoma.
  • Friday, August 07, 2015 10:15 AM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)

    University of Washington Tacoma Professor and Vice President of the World Affairs Council Tacoma, Turan Kayaoglu has personally lived the story of our globalizing world. Turan's story, accomplishments and books are worth reading! The UW Tacoma has written a great bio on Turan that everyone should read.

    We are lucky at the World Affairs Council and as Tacoma residents to have such an accomplished and kind member our community serving to enhance global awareness!

  • Monday, May 18, 2015 4:53 PM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)
    Congratulations to WAC Tacoma board member Theresa Pan Hosley of Tacoma who is receiving an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of Puget Sound this weekend for her leadership and work in nurturing cultural understanding and reconciliation as president of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation, and as a board member of the Korean Women's Association. 


    We invite you to read more about Theresa's inspiring volunteer efforts and life at The Tacoma News Tribune.


  • Monday, May 18, 2015 4:42 PM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)

    Please join us in congratulating WAC Tacoma board member Bill Evans in being named the Small Business Leader of the Year by The Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington Tacoma.

    From the Tacoma News Tribune:

    ______________

    BILL EVANS

    Bill Evans’ career in retail sales began at an oxygen-deprived 11,000 feet in Cusco, Peru.

    A student of linguistics — and a former reservations clerk for Pan Am in New York City — Evans had earned a teaching fellowship. During his travels to small villages he would purchase local handicrafts, including dolls and weavings, which he would then send to his mother, who owned a gift shop on Seattle’s Capital Hill.

    The Peruvian connection continued when Evans returned stateside and opened a small table at Pike Place Market, where he said he sold “mostly ponchos.”

    One September Sunday afternoon in a borrowed car, Evans recalled recently, he and his wife took a drive. After riding to Vashon Island, they continued south to the Talequah dock.

    “There was this city south of Seattle called Tacoma,” he said. “I had never been here. We got to the Stadium District, and drove along Stadium Way, and there was this tower, Old City Hall.”

    A sign said it was “Opening Soon,” and Evans saw a man locking one of the doors.

    “We signed up that day,” he said. “We opened in November. We got an apartment near Wright Park.”

    As with many entrepreneurs, Evans said, “We didn’t have any money.” Neither did the first bank he spoke with — at least not for a guy from Seattle with three kids and an ambition to sell Peruvian artifacts. A second banker was more hospitable, to the tune of $5,000.

    Incaland opened that November.

    But after a year, he said, “everybody in Tacoma who wanted a poncho, had one.”

    Folk art from West Africa followed. Evans also opened the precursor of the current Pacific Northwest Shop, which he now owns and operates in Tacoma’s Proctor District.

    Hoping to build Old City Hall into a commercial hub, Evans also invited his mother to open a fabric store called “In the Beginning.”

    Alas, eventually, Old City Hall began filling with echoes rather than customers, and it wasn’t long before Evans opened his Pacific Northwest Shop in a former TV-repair shop on Proctor.

    Other projects, partnerships — and politics — followed.

    Evans served on the Tacoma City Council from 2000 to 2008. He helped establish the Proctor Antique Mall, Old House Mercantile and the Old House Café.

    Add the Proctor Farmer’s Market and Proctor District Association.

    When the Blue Mouse Theater threatened to close if a buyer could not be found at $170,000, Evans marshaled 17 investors, including himself, at $10,000 each.

    Evans has lately been focusing on Proctor Station, a $32 million retail and residential project that will offer 171 underground parking spaces and 151 apartment units.

    While a member of the City Council, Evans said, he regularly met with a group of sixth-graders.

    “We analyzed the word ‘community,’ ” he said.

    And he learned, “What we have in common unites us. That’s what started Thea’s Park, the globe and the flag.”

    A successful small business, he said, must recognize that it exists within the context of a place, and within the place are people.

    “Listen to the people,” he said. “You are what they are. Build your business accordingly.”
    __________________

    Congratulations Bill!

     - The WAC Tacoma community            


  • Friday, March 27, 2015 4:27 PM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)


    Greetings! I wanted to share with you updates from the World Affairs Council Tacoma (WACT), and provide a brief snapshot of information about your Council that may be of interest.

    Here are some near term dates you'll want to note:

    March 30 - Sister Cities International Film Festival, UPS, 6PM  

     

    "Must Be Love."

    As part of this year's Sister Cities International Film Festival, the WACT is sponsoring the screening on Monday, March 30 of the Philippine feature film "Must Be Love." The program will be hosted by WACT board member and former Tacoma Mayor Brian Ebersole, a tireless traveler to the Philippines, who will be speaking on the islands' history, culture and challenges, and showing clips from the documentary "Reporter's Notebook." The event will be held at the Rotunda at UPS. Doors open at 6PM, the cultural program will begin at 6:15PM, and the film will start at 7PM. Admission is free.

    April 15 - Travel Talk, Annie Wright Schools, 7PM

    "My Life as an Older Peace Corps Volunteer"

    Join former WACT board member Beth Ahlstrom who will be presenting on "My Life as an Older Peace Corps Volunteer."   Hear what it's like to learn two foreign languages, live in a developing country with a family of twelve, take a bucket bath, and work in a Muslim culture in your mid-fifties. Many of you will remember Beth's excellent presentation of a year ago, on her travels in the Central African Republic.


    May 21 - Travel Talk, Annie Wright Schools, 7PM

    "Traveling to Save the World."

    University of Puget Sound Professor Nick Kontogeoropoulos will be joining us for the last program of the school year, presenting on "Traveling to Save the World;" a talk assessing the relationship between volunteer tourism and development in Thailand. All Travel Talk programs are free and open to the public.

    Upcoming Events!

    At the end of April the Council will be presenting a program on understanding the transitions in the Middle East, as well as its first international networking event.   This summer will bring a reprise of last year's very successful Wines of the World wine tasting. We'll be back to you with those details as they are finalized, but check the website for updates. Please note that the date of this year's Consular Association Reception has been confirmed. We'll be celebrating the region's consuls on Thursday, September 24, at Annie Wright Schools, and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland will be serving as the evening's Master of Ceremonies. 

    Marcia Garrett 
    Chair, World Affairs Council Tacoma

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014 8:44 AM | Deleted user

    Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland has established a Commission on International Relations to boost Tacoma's international profile. The President of the World Affairs Council Tacoma, Marcia Garrett, has been selected to join this commission. The group has been appointed to develop an international relations strategy for education, the arts, economic development, and tourism in Tacoma. Click here for more information.

  • Sunday, August 03, 2014 11:35 AM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)

    Uncork A World Of Wine!

    Close to 40 people gathered on a warm and sunny August evening to enjoy an alfresco wine tasting in the lovely garden of a North End home.  Noted wine blogger and author Mike Veseth led the group through an animated wine tasting which featured wine from four continents.  It’s always fun to enjoy a nice bottle of wine with friends.  It’s even more fun when you learn the back story of a given vintage and the context which informed its creation.  Each wine was accompanied by a delicious small plate pairing provided by Bon Appetit Catering, and a great good time was had by all!   Proceeds from the event will go to underwrite programming of the World Affairs Council Tacoma. For more details click here.

  • Friday, July 18, 2014 2:55 PM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)

    Congratulations! 

    to WAC Tacoma board member Dawn Lucien and her son Adm. Eric Olson on their receiving the Greater Tacoma Peace Price! You can read more about the receipt of the prize and these two outstanding citizens at the GTPP website and the Tacoma News Tribune.



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