Peace building through trade in Afghanistan – a World Trade Centre Association project

The World Trade Center in Kabul has launched an ambitious plan to bring all the tribal leaders in that strife-torn country together for a series of constructive discussions and training. The emphasises will be on education, skills training, leadership development and conflict resolution among other important topics. Following guidelines Mr Guy Tozzoli, President of the World Trade Centers Association developed when the WTCA was established in 1970, this programme will be uniquely tailored to the needs of the region involved. It will be Afghans talking to Afghans about solving the nation’s problems together and replacing conflict and tension with cooperation, constructive efforts and optimism for the region’s future.
The program is going forward under the aegis of the Afghanistan National Institute for Peace and Justice, which is part of World Trade Center Kabul. The Institute was launched August 5th by Aziz Sadat, with well-attended inaugural celebration in Kabul that emphasis the Institute’s commitment to reuniting the nation as a collective force with common bonds, purposes and convictions.
The Institue will also serve as a forum where primary actors in volatile tribal, community, regional and political disputes can be convened in a safe environment in which to air their grievances, and to interact with opposing disputants in civil, candid, creative and productive ways a means to resolve their differences through equitable, practical and durable resolutions.
Furthermore the Institute will interact with similar institutions through the world in order to enhance curricula, to engage in the cross cultural fertilization of theory, processes and skills in the continual quest to develop « best practices and to develop objective evaluation processes and instruments for programmic evaluation with metric measurement based upon verifiable date.
As stated above the Institute will be an affiliate project of the World Trade Centre Kabul as a non-governmental non profit educational institution which however will be accountable to the public in terms of transparent disclosures of revenue sources, amountsand purposes of expenditures and general statements of activities performs.
For Guy Tozzoli: »It’s extremely gratifying to me to see how the World Trade Center concept together as the head of the World Trade Centers in New York has flourished in all kind of settings. In the largest cities of the world, it means helping clients identifying the right trading partners for them out of a great mass of private forms and governments agencies involved in trade. In mid-size cities, a World Trade Center showcases for the region’s services and organizations available to help international businesses. And in a region like Kabul, where a world trade infrastructure is non-existant, the World Trade Centers begins by educating community leaders in the fundamentals of business management.
But in every case the driving force remains the same – economic development. It’s essential for human progress. It produces jobs and employment, which translates into the food, clothing, shelter and other necessities of life required by families everywhere. Poverty is often a prime breeding ground for conflict and economic development is the remedy. World Trade Centers are powerful engines of economic development, and as shown by the World Trade Center in Kabul, the engine can accommodate a wide variety of regional circumstances.
Every time a World Trace Centers helps a client anywhere make contact with an overseas trading partner, it is another small step toward international understanding and a way from ignorance, tension and conflict. When this process is replicated every day by about 309 World Trade Centers in 88 countries around the globe, the impact is significant. But the most important benefit is that we are not only expanding trade, we are expanding trust, and trust is the essential ingredient for peace. »