Press Release: Council Hosts US Cabinet Secretaries, World Leaders

The Bay Area Council, the business group that represents the largest employers in the San Francisco-Silicon Valley-Oakland Bay Area, next week will host the largest diplomatic gathering in California since the founding of the United Nations in 1945.

At the invitation of the State Department, the Bay Area Council has worked with the White House and executive branch agencies to assemble 150 meetings over two weeks to address some of the most pressing challenges on the planet, including transportation, energy, health, the environment, technology and women empowerment.  The conversations and policy-setting negotiations are part of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, founded in 1989.  The 21 countries or “economies” that will gather in San Francisco represent approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, approximately 54 percent of the global economy and about 44 percent of world trade.  There will be approximately 3,000 delegates and 200 registered journalists.

Global leaders to be in attendance include:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood
  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
  • U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
  • U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
  • Ministers representing the 21 APEC countries including China, Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Vietnam, and Australia

“We will have enough U.S. Cabinet members in town to form a shadow government,’” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “The first project of the Bay Area Council was actually to host the founding of the United Nations in 1945, so this is return to habit for us. It is our hope that hosting this distinguished diplomatic gathering, 66 years later, can have the same far-reaching impact, and can create the future we all hope for.”

A key event of the gathering will be the Women and the Economy Summit, led by Secretary Hillary Clinton and organized through a partnership of the Council and the U.S. State Department. The Women and the Economy Summit is structured to change national policies, empower women across the 21 APEC countries or economies, and launch a global dialogue about the status of women. Topics will focus on women as agents of economic growth, the impacts of increased female employment on the global economy and the importance of women-owned business to economic progress and strengthening communities.

Continued Wunderman, “Part of the reason we were asked to host these meetings was the Bay Area’s role in the global economy.  Our region is home to more Fortune Global 500 companies than any other place on the planet, except Tokyo, London and New York.   The Bay Area is a top-four exporting region in the U.S., with more than $50 billion in exports, primarily to APEC countries.  Companies here are supported by a diverse and truly global workforce.  We are honored to have the opportunity to host this historic gathering.

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