World Trade Centers Association goes new ways to promote trade and peace

OSLO Conference on Peace and Trade co-hosted by WTCA and WTC Oslo was attended by about 200 participants from the business community, Held in Oslo’s famous City Hall, where the Noble Peace Price is awarded annually, ambassadors, government officials, business leasers and others heard speakers from the business world and academia comment on the close connection between peace and trade.
The conference was opened by the Commissioner Annette Wig Bryn of the City of Oslo and Mr Svenn Kristiansen, deputy major, Per Saxegaard of WTC Oslo welcomed the attendees. He then introduced former Norway Prime Minister and President of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights Kjell Magne Bondevik as the first speaker and Jean Egeland, former UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs as the mediator. WTCA President Guy Tozzoli then spoke about the WTCA and how the association’s work contributes to world peace. Asis Sadat of WTC Kabul spoke movingly on how his team is developing business opportunities and education youth as a mean to offer a hopeful future and alternative to terrorism. He was followed by Vijay Kalantru of WTC of Mumbai describing how international trade has helped stabilize relations between India and Pakistan. Dan Grisworld presented an overview of the connection between peace and trade as reflected in his work at the Cato Institute and Havard Hegre of the International Peace Institute of Oslo offered considerable statistical data demonstrating that as trade between countries increases, the like hood of aggression diminished.
The last part of the program was lively panel discussions with all the speakers returning to the stage. They were joined by Ms Liv Monica Stubholt, state secretary, Norwegian Ministry for Foreign affairs who challenged the connection between peace and trade. Her arguments which focused on labor issues and profits for multinational corporations were countered by data presented my Mr Hegre and Mr Griswold and by the personal experience of other panelists. The conference ended with considerable applause and with suggestions from the audience that the WTCA repeat this event annually.