Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair Joins L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and More than 900 Business Leaders for Kick Off of 91st Annual World Trade Week Celebration

More than 900 business leaders and members of the diplomatic corps kicked off a month-long celebration of world trade in Southern California, the largest celebration of its kind in the country

May 8, 2017 10:00 am
by L.A. Area Chamber

LOS ANGELES – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Esri President Jack Dangermond and more than 900 business executives and members of the diplomatic corps to kick off the 91st Annual World Trade Week (WTW) at the Westin Bonaventure. The WTW celebration in L.A. is the largest of its kind in the country.

The morning’s program featured a conversation with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, founder of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. This non-profit organization is dedicated to making globalization work for the many, not the few. Blair discussed his focus bringing together the best ideas in both public and private policy sphere to provide answers to some of the today’s major global challenges. “One of the advantages of leaving office is you get to see much more of the world … to study it. And in my view, the single biggest characteristic of the world today is the scope and speed of change. Technology and migration are changing our lives," said the Former Prime Minister.

Guests also heard from Jack Dangermond, co-founder and president of the world’s leading company in geographic information systems, who shared insight on how technology trends are changing government, business and society. "You and I are not only living in this digital transformation time, but also we are living in a time when the arrows are going in the wrong direction on so many fronts — population, over population, climate change, environmental issues, social conflict, mass migration — these are geographic changes … I see them through a geographic lense,” said Dangermond.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave the welcoming remarks, advocating for increasing regional employment through exports and celebrating L.A. as a global city. "What better place to be, the most global city, not just on the face of the earth, but I would argue in human history. A place where 39 countries have the largest populations outside of their home country. A place where over 200 languages are spoken. A place where it doesn’t matter where you come from, you are here and you are at home,” said Mayor Garcetti.

Ambassador Vilma Martinez, President of the Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners, was awarded the Stanley T. Olafson Bronze Plaque Award for her outstanding contributions to the world trade community in Southern California.

This year’s Export Achievement Award, given to companies in the five-county area who have demonstrated success in exporting or in providing export services, was awarded to three companies: Borla Performance Industries, Cosmobeauti Lab and UltraGlas, Inc. were each recognized for their successes over the past two years. Port of Los Angeles Trade Connect was awarded the Bob Kleist Leadership Award for their inspirational and visionary leadership in the development of leaders in the global trade industry. 

In addition, as part of the World Trade Week’s Education Initiative, 16 local college and high school students were awarded scholarships totaling nearly $10,000.

The L.A. Area Chamber’s annual Kickoff Breakfast jump starts more than 30 events hosted by partnering organizations celebrating world trade in Southern California. World Trade Week dedicates itself to educating the public on the importance and benefits of global trade on the local and national economy through a series of educational programs and events.


The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

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