A Powerful New Force in Public Diplomacy
Buckwandaechuppe artifact, World trade Centres Association, Guy Tozzoli, North Korea, Cultural Assets Exchange Foundation
Most of us see World Trade Center buildings as towering real estate monuments adoring the skies of the capital cities from continent to continent. They are hubs of activity between foreign exchange specialists, global trade managers, government investment promotions officials and a complementary web of transportation, logistical, marketing and international finance executives.
Upon closer review, World Trade Centers are more than just real estate or even symbols of man’s interest in transacting business. The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a powerful compact of individuals and institutions that develop and manage World Trade Centers, (WCs) that understand the covenants of global trade, foreign investment as well as cultural understanding and peace. For without a functioning knowledge and appreciation of the cultures of people of other nations, there is no basic for long-term international trade and investment. The business leaders behind this network of facilities embrace their role in bridging relations between people of other nations. Think for a moment about the amalgamation of immense amounts if investor capital, and trade development organizations required to develop just one of these projects. Multiply this several hundred times on a global scale to understand the power of the WTC network. Its ability to reach all levels of government and society throughout the world gives promise to the WTCA’s new role in public diplomacy. This was demonstrated most recently by the WTCA’s President, Mr Guy Tozzoli.
Mr Tozzoli led the efforts to return the revered Buckwandaechuppe artifact from Japan to Korea. This was a historic opportunity at a time when there is a vast heritage recovery movement underway across Asia. Starting with Japan and both Koreas, from China to India, to the Middle East, a new mood is promoting states to make a greater effort to stop works of art from being illicitly exported. Mr Tozzoli saw in the return of Bukwandaechuppe not only an opportunity to correct a cultural injustice but to initiate increase communication and understanding among three nations involved: Japan, North Korea and South Korea. This objective is entirely in keeping with the mission of the World Trade Centers Association, which combines trade development with an interest in promoting peaceful relations among countries.
The Buckwandaechuppe was created in Bukwan, Korea about 500 years ago to celebrate Korea’s resistance to an invasion by Japan. About 100 years ago, the Japanese returned to occupy Korea, and in 1904, this invaluable symbol of sovereignty and pride was taken from Korea by the occupying Japanese governor. The artifact was sent to the Emperor of Japan where it remained for over a century. Over the years, many Korean cultural groups sought the return of the artifacts to Korea without success. In 1999, these groups asked the Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee to assist in effectuating the artifact’s return.
In its wisdom and understanding of the power of World Trade Centers Association and the deep personal interest of the WTCA President, the Nobel Committee asked Mr Tozzoli to serve as mediator to those concerned parties. Subsequently, the groups asked Mr Tozzoli to represent them in negotiations for the transfer of the artifact to North Korea. Also involved with Mr Tozzoli’s efforts were Ban Ki-Moon, currently United Nations Secretary General, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae Chan and North Korean President of the Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium Kim Yong Nam. The transfer was discussed at a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2005. This led to further talks at the 15th Korea Cabinet-level meeting in Seoul.
On November 17, 2005 the National Grand Ceremony in Seoul was held to celebrate the return of Buckwandaechuppe from Japan. Then, the artifact was eventually transported to Kukan, it’s original place in North Korea in early 2007 for an international festival in 2008 a historical event to which many peace loving countries will dispatch delegates. In this instance, the government of Japan must be given gull credit for their appreciation of the delicate balance between North Korea, South Korea, other powers throughout the Asian continent and the rest of the world.
The world is watching. Pooling their resources and diplomatic clout, Greece and Italy plan to forge a formal alliance to pursue the return of ancient artifacts from museums in other nations. Peru seeks the return of the collection of Machu Piccu artifacts from a 1914 expedition most recently in the hands of Yale University. Last year in the United States, Illinois State Museum returned an artifact to Kenya. It is believed that this is the first time that a foreign museum has returned an African artifact to its rightful owners. Hopefully this will set a precedent for the return of other African artifacts held in foreign museums. African governments are petitioning international courts for return of their national treasures. As China grows in power, there is movement to reclaim and restore the relics that symbolized China’s ancient culture and heritage that have been scattered throughout the world through centuries of trade and conflict. Less powerful countries have had limited success in regaining their treasured artifacts through auctions, buying back artifacts that were previously stolen or removed from within their borders.
In recognition of the concerns of citizens of many nations to recoup symbols of national pride and heritage along with the successful return of the Buckwandaechuppe artifact, Mr Tozzoli and the leadership of the World Trade Centers around the world expanded their public diplomacy role. In 2000, led by Mr Tozzoli, the World Cultural Assets Exchange Foundation (WCAF) was established. The Foundation uses the vast network of the WTC’s to identify areas and opportunities where it can be of assistance, working in close cooperation with the appropriate and other assents to their original settings. Under Mr Guy Tozzoli’s leadership the Cultural Assets Exchange Foundation will also promote the general exchange of cultural artifacts as a way of encouraging increased international understanding of the world’s cultures and the sharing of ideas that leads to respect, friendship and relations that are good for business.
To learn more about Mr Guy Tozzzoli, World Trade Centers Association and the World Cultural Assents Exchange Foundation;