Tacoma celebrates first annual World Trade Center Association Day

Stressing international trade as a means of promoting global peace and stability, the World Trade Center Tacoma yesterday celebrated the first annual World Trade Center Association Day.
On hand for the inaugural event were Port of Tacoma officials, representatives of Pacific Lutheran University, Pierce College and Bates Technical College and World Trade Center Tacoma members.
World Trade Center Association Day was established to recognize the importance of the World Trade Centers around the world – more than 300 in 100-plus nations.
“I think trade is one way of promoting understanding,” said Andreas Udbye, executive of the World Trade Center Tacoma, during opening remarks.
Udbye said he thought of the World Trade Center Tacoma as “the foreign affairs office of Tacoma.”
During yesterday’s gathering at the Wells Fargo Building, the World Trade Center Tacoma remembered the past – including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City – while looking toward the future.
“The idea was to address the evil of Sept. 11 through global trade,” Udbye said.
A brief video was then shown recognizing Guy Tozzoli, who founded the World Trade Center Association in 1970 with the goal of facilitating international trade.
Tozzoli was nominated this year for the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy of peace through trade.
Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) was honored for its selection as the World Trade Center Tacoma’s nominee for inclusion in the “Book of Honors.”
Each World Trade Center Association member selects an individual or organization in their region that best represents peace and stability through trade.
The nominees selected will be forwarded to World Trade Center Association headquarters and entered into a “Book of Honor,” which will be prominently displayed at the organization’s New York headquarters.
Udbye then presented a plaque commemorating the selection to PLU President Loren Anderson.
“This honor reinforces our commitment to international education,” Anderson said, giving credit to faculty, staff and students. “Building a globally-focused university is a lifelong pursuit.”
The focus of the day’s events was professor, philanthropist and international business entrepreneur Peter Wang’s speech, “Why Education is Crucial for World Trade, Peace and Prosperity.”
Wang, 64, is regarded as among the nation’s top researchers in the use of mathematical probability models and theories for predicting and assessing security threats.
He earned degrees in math and physics at PLU before earning a doctorate at Wayne State University in Detroit.
He taught at several universities and at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif.
In 1986, Wang left teaching to establish several international trade business ventures and got involved in developing computer aided design and engineering data handling systems.
Using his expertise in probability theory, he developed technological threat forecasting methods for the Defense Department.
He and is wife, Grace, live in Pebble Beach, Calif.
“International understanding is a very vague, complex work,” Wang said. “International understanding must be based on something.”
That something is trade, according to Wang.
Lamenting the fact the gap between wealthy nations and poor nations is growing, Wang stressed education as the key to applying modern technology to improving people’s lives.
“Most people think world trade is a zero-sum game. This is not true,” he said, noting world trade is expanding.
Recently, the Wangs gave PLU $4 million to establish the Wang Center for International Programs, which will prepare students to be leaders in the global economy.
The Wang Center will:
– Support and strengthen the university’s array of internationally focused academic program.
– Coordinate and advance PLU’s nationally ranked foreign studies offerings.
– Become a research institute for faculty and students exploring global issues.
– Offer public education, including symposia and publication.
“I think Tacoma should be proud of PLU, because they had the foresight to move in that direction,” Wang said, noting he chose the university because of the strength of its international programs, as well as his fond memories of the campus.
The Wang Center is being formally established for the 2002-2003 academic year, and the inaugural public symposium is scheduled to take place on April 9-12, 2003.
“Peace starts in our hearts,” Wang, an admitted optimist said about trade’s role in bringing about world stability. “People-to-people will make a difference.”
At the speech’s conclusion, Udbye presented Wang with a World Trade Center Tacoma pin, which he affixed to his jacket lapel.


The World Trade Center Tacoma was established in 1979 when the Port of Tacoma purchased the license from the World Trade Center Association.
It is the primary regional resource for international trade information for the South Puget Sound region.
The World Trade Center Tacoma is committed to developing international trade in the greater Tacoma area and has over 120 members.
The World Trade Center Tacoma provides services such as trade leads, informational programs and hosting and network connections.
For more information, visit their Web site at: