World Trade Centers Association’s First Ever Virtual General Assembly Attracts More Than 1,000 Participants

New Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Powered Matchmaking Platform Connected 160+ World Trade Centers and a Record 570+ B2B Delegates from 70 Countries…

New Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Powered Matchmaking Platform Connected 160+ World Trade Centers and a Record 570+ B2B Delegates from 70 Countries

NEW YORK, May 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) — an international trade organization connecting more than 300 World Trade Centers (WTCs) in nearly 100 countries — gathered more than 1,000 participants from 70 countries at its 2021 General Assembly (GA) and Business Week from April 26-30. Celebrating «The Power of Our Community,» the first ever virtual GA brought together 169 Member WTCs and more than 570 B2B Delegates from their global business networks consisting of leaders from business, government, academia, media and international organizations, reflecting the WTCA’s diverse global footprint. Attendees participated in three days of livestream sessions featuring prominent keynote speakers and a full week of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered B2B matchmaking opportunities across all time zones.

«The COVID-19 pandemic provided us with a unique opportunity to reimagine our association’s premier global annual event and enhance its value to our members and their networks. We utilized advanced technology to enable attendees to learn from leading experts and easily connect with potential business matches around the world,» stated John E. Drew, WTCA Chair, Board of Directors. «The success of this year’s virtual GA provides a glimpse of the future of the conference and exhibition industry, and how important a global organization like the WTCA is to strengthen connections and collaborate in international trade.»

The business conference offered a series of informative fireside chats, panel discussions and presentations on topics to help attendees navigate today’s changing environment. Robin van Puyenbroeck, WTCA Executive Director-Business Development, moderated the engaging conversations with keynote speakers Feike Sijbesma, Honorary Chairman of Royal DSM, on the importance of purpose-driven leadership in a time of economic turbulence; Hamid Mamdouh, Senior Counsel of King & Spalding LLP, on SMEs, thriving markets and the future of trade; and Suzanne Gaboury, Director General, Private Sector Operations Department of the Asian Development Bank, on access to finance in emerging markets and the role of women entrepreneurs. The global audience also viewed a thought-provoking fireside chat titled «Creating Inclusive Global Trade» — between Bernard Kuiten, Head of External Relations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Mariette Mulaire, President and CEO of World Trade Center Winnipeg — on how to achieve inclusivity in global trade by bringing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the dialogue. Additionally, the conference offered insightful conversations on the global economic outlook with Peter De Keyzer, Founder and Managing Partner of Growth Inc.; disruption and innovation in real estate with Sharif El-Gamal, Chairman, Founder and CEO of Soho Properties; measurement of social well-being with Roberto Rigobon, Professor of Applied Economics of MIT Sloan School of Management; and selflessness and building a stronger business community with Richard Lui, author, filmmaker and anchor at NBC/MSNBC.

«We firmly put the WTCA on the map as an important voice on international trade, driving the conversation on the role of companies as purpose-driven social actors who need a voice in the debate on creating a more inclusive global trade infrastructure. With our tremendous global network, we are well-positioned to continue to lead critical conversations on this topic,» stated Robin van Puyenbroeck. «Using AI technology, we successfully introduced a new virtual platform for facilitating business matchmaking on a global level, across industries and sectors. With this event, we demonstrated the true power and potential of our global WTCA community and provided many tangible benefits to our members and their networks.»

Further, attendees were introduced to WTCA partners of the Global Trade Helpdesk — an initiative by the WTO, UNCTAD and ITC — that simplifies market research by bringing together key trade information from across 11 different organizations in a single search. Lastly, John E. Drew and Robin van Puyenbroeck announced the launch of the WTCA «Trade Wins» Podcast and the 2022 WTCA GA, to be hosted by World Trade Center Accra, Ghana.

To view the recordings of the livestream sessions from the 2021 WTCA General Assembly (April 28 and 29), please visit


World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

Chanelle Kasik

Phone: +1 212 432 2644


About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 92 countries. As the owner of the «World Trade Center» and «WTC» trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit

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SOURCE World Trade Centers Association