My Travels to Torino and Day 1 of the World Chambers Congress

On Sunday I traveled by train from Milan through the Italian countryside to the city of Torino. Torino, or Turin, was the very first Italian capital and home of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. It is a beautiful town known for its thriving industry and rich history. The city of just under 1 million people is perfectly nestled at the foot of the alps in the North-West corner of the Italian peninsula.

The view from the top of the Mole Antonelliana tower, the symbol of Torino.
The view from the top of the Mole Antonelliana tower, the symbol of Torino.

I have traveled here to attend the 2015 World Chambers Congress (WCC), an event put on by the International Chamber of Congress (ICC) as an international forum for chamber executives, employees and businesspeople alike to discuss pertinent issues facing the business world. I am honored to be here as an employee of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, serving as project manager on their host committee for the 2019 WCC. In the coming year, I will assist in drafting a bid that will be submitted to the WCC selection committee in hopes of winning the 2019 WCC for the City of Orlando. I have been brought on board because Orlando would like to theme their congress around the topic of sustainability. I could not be more excited for this wonderful opportunity.

I have joined a traveling team consisting of the Mayor of the City of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, the Chair of our Host Committee and former Congressman James Bacchus, the President of the Central Florida Partnership, Jacob Stuart, and the Executive Vice President of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce Jose Fajardo. Needless to say, I am in incredible Company.

Myself and Chair of our Host Committee James Bacchus
Myself and Chair of our Host Committee James Bacchus

This year’s WCC is a three day event featuring over 1,500 delegates from all over the world. It is being held in Torino’s Lingotto. The enormous building originally served as one of the first large scale production factories for the Italian car manufacturers, Fiat. In the 1990s it was repurposed into an extremely impressive facility that now plays host to a conference center, a full sized shopping mall, a 4-star hotel, a movie theater, and a polytechnic university.

Day one of the WCC began with an opening ceremony with a very warm welcome from the Mayor of Torino, the President of the Torino Chamber of Commerce, the Chairman of the ICC and the Chair of the ICC World Chambers Federation.

Harold McGraw, Chairman of the ICC, addressing the audience during the opening ceremony
Harold McGraw, Chairman of the ICC, addressing the audience during the opening ceremony

The ceremony was followed by our first plenary session. The session was entitled, “Global Trade in the 21st Century” and was moderated by our very own James Bacchus. In addition to serving in the US House of Representatives, Mr. Bacchus also served as chairman of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization and is currently the chair of the Commission on Trade and Investment Policy for the ICC. The session highlighted the necessity of global commerce and the role that chambers play in facilitating commerce.

After the first session, we had lunch and then we were given some time to network with our fellow delegates. I met some extremely interesting people from all over the world. Some of these people included the Vice Chair of the ICC World Chambers Federation, the Director of International Partnerships for the Paris Chamber, a Project Manger for the Dubai Chamber, the Chair of the Chamber of Trabzon, Turkey, and the Secretary General of the Barcelona Chamber.

During this time I was also able to check out the exhibition area featuring booths from over 60 companies and organizations.

The WCC's exhibition area
The WCC’s exhibition area

After lunch, I was able to attend two more sessions. The first was a competition for best policy advocacy project. This session featured presentations from the Australian Chamber, the Chile Chamber, the Cork Chamber, and the Dublin Chamber, each explaining advocacy programs they have implemented over the past few years. The second, entitled “Setting G20 Business Priorities”, outlined the goals of the upcoming G20 summit in Turkey that will take place in September and October.

This evening, I’m headed to the Welcome Cocktail at the Teatro Regio di Torino, or Royal Theater of Torino, for networking and a short Opera performance. What a rough life!

Thanks to you all for reading! I’ll be getting back to you tomorrow and Friday for days two and three of the congress.

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