The Greater Seattle region, as I am fond of pointing out, is the most internationally tied region in the United States. Our businesses, educational institutions, arts and neighborhoods are all connected to the international economy. Thus it is no surprise there are numerous international organizations in the area such as the Foundation For Russian American Economic Cooperation, Japan America Society, World Trade Center Tacoma and the little shop I work for, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle.
These organizations fill a variety of important niches supporting and bolstering our region’s international activities. But, they also work together through International Staff Group (ISG), which brings the heads of these organizations together once a month to discuss issues of common interest, work on projects and coordinate on a range of issues. Earlier this year, for example, the group sponsored an International Washington reception at the Governor’s Mansion.
Also part of ISG are government entities such as the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) and the international functions of educational institutions at the University of Washington and Washington State University. In a region as international as ours, cooperation within is as essential as outside ties. ISG and its members fulfill both.