World Economic Forum bringing summit to Miami
By Paola Iuspa
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris this week announced that the World Economic Forum organization will hold a regional summit in Miami.
The group's first Miami Hemispheric Business Summit will take place in October, Ms. Harris said.
"We have two tentative days," she said. "We have to see" when President George W Bush will be able to attend.
Speaking to a crowd of 100 during a reception for World Business Week sponsored by the Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce at the Biltmore Hotel, Ms. Harris said it was time to show the world Florida "beyond its beaches and Disney World."
She said Florida has matured into an international trade hub and its representatives need to be involved with others living in democracy and eager to establish partnerships.
The World Economic Forum based in Davos, Switzerland is a nonprofit group in charge of bringing together world leaders in business, politics and intellectuals in an effort to improve the state of the world, according to the forum's website.
The 30-year-old organization holds an annual meeting in Davos and regional meetings and summits throughout the year with the goal of addressing problems facing the world or one region.
The World Economic Forum does not use capital to assist developing countries such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization do, according to the organization.
The nonprofit, which has private companies as it members rather than countries, focuses on ideas that can make a difference. The forum will have nine regional meetings and summits by the end of the year.
Others have been held in regions organizers considered "key markets" and include China, East Asia, Europe, India, South America and South Africa.
Jerry Haar, senior research associate and director of the Inter-American Business & Labor Program at the University of Miami's North-South Center, said the summit would earn South Florida "respectability and visibility" in the international community.
"It will be very good for the service industry," Dr. Haar said. "It will generate visibility, although it may not have much of an economic multiplying effect."
World Economic Forum held a meeting in Mexico last month that was attended by about 600 people. The two-day gathering, organizers said, featured 35 concurrent sessions held over 40 hours at a beachfront resort.
The World Economic Forum's next event will be the "2001 China Business Summit" in mid-April. The objective of that session, said officials, is to analyze some of the issues reshaping the domestic economy and re-examining China's engagement in the global community.