This weekend, many Americans will remember what took place 10 years ago early one morning in New York City. San Diego’s World Trade Center will join in remembering by hosting “Peace, Prosperity and Diversity Through Trade: A 9/11 Commemoration,” today from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.
The event will not only pay tribute to the lives lost on 9/11, but also focus on building a better future toward fostering global business and cooperation. The event required months of preparation and was made possible with the help of interns such as San Diego State students Hope Beilma, Jennifer Hanke and Christina Harrison, who took on the challenging work underway at the WTC.
The primary function of the San Diego World Trade Center is to assist local companies and organizations in doing business internationally. It also helps bring international businesses to San Diego, serving as an intermediary.
Within the WTC are seven individual offices. From coordinating to showcasing new ideas to handling the event’s VIP accounts, each of the offices has been working independently on unique aspects of the event.
The interns involved at the San Diego World Trade Center fought hard to get into one of these seven offices. The WTC accepts applications periodically, and during its last hiring period in July it received more than 150 applications. It interviewed 40 of those applicants and hired 14. They were quickly enveloped into the fast pace of the WTC, joining 31 others who are midway through their six-month internships in the building. Some stay on for a month, or longer if they’re invited to, because every person invited into this unpaid internship knows how valuable the experience gained is.
“They allow me to utilize what I’m learning in school in a professional setting. You aren’t doing clerical work, they give you creative freedom,” said Hope Beilma, a San Diego World Trade Center intern and SDSU international business major.
Beilma and the rest of the office have been working diligently to cater to the needs of VIP clients who will be present at the event. Some of these VIPs include CEOs and presidents of other World Trade Centers. The CEO of Edmenton, Canada’s WTC will be present. He also happens to be the touring drummer for Jefferson Starship.
Working in the same office as Beilma is Nancy Nicholson, director of the intern program at the San Diego World Trade Center and also the director of the International Relations Office. Although she is the primary administrator in charge of all the interns, her period of most involvement with the interns is during orientation. After they become part of the process, she prefers to take a more hands-off approach.
“What we do varies day-to-day … (Nicholson) encourages us to apply what we learned in school. Rather than doing grunt work, we’re given a task that requires critical thinking,” Jennifer Hanke, an international business senior who works in the business development office, said.
More than 60 businesses, organizations and civic agencies will be present at the commemoration event, and attendees will be treated to a free performance by Jefferson Starship from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The seven offices of the WTC aren’t limiting their involvement to behind the scenes. All will have tables set up to promote services the San Diego World Trade Center has to offer, and it will even showcase some of the new programs being created there. Christina Harrison, a communications and Spanish senior, has been working on a new project in the office called WEMI. It is a Water Technology Exports program that works toward improving water infrastructure and equipment.
For more information about the WEMI program, the commemoration event or any of the other organizations present at the Port Pavilion this afternoon, visit the San Diego World Trade Center’s website; sdwtc.org.