Editor’s Note: Think Global, Act Local

March, 2004

On January 29, 2004, nearly 300 business leaders gathered for food, fun and fellowship at Washington Place. It was our second annual gathering of Top 250 and Black Book executives.

The real highlight of the evening was when a full scholarship to the University of Hawaii’s executive MBA program was awarded to Susan Chow of Parsons-UXB Joint Venture. The Top 250 executives had been asked to nominate employees for this prestigious prize, donated by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Business Administration. We are proud to be a partner in developing the next generation of business leaders.

But enough horn-tooting, already. I attended a much smaller gathering at the East-West Center in early February, fascinated by what the experts there see as the stories to watch this year. Research fellow Kang Wu sees no reason to believe the price of oil will go higher in 2004. He, like other economists here, is not in favor of Hawaii’s proposed gasoline price caps, as the current law, scheduled to go into effect in July, would link Hawaii to the high-priced California market. Economist Sumner La Croix is predicting a healthy 24 percent increase in Japanese visitor arrivals this year over 2003. China expert Chris McNally confirms that interest in traveling to Hawaii is enormous, but the visa-waiver issue continues to be a stumbling block. Gerard Finin, deputy director of the Pacific Islands Development Program, likens the Philippines to one of Hawaii’s Neighbor Islands and notes that there is another defining presidential election coming up in May.

East West Center President Charles Morrison sums up the importance of this region with close ties to Hawaii as, “half the world’s population in countries with growth rates of 6 percent and above.”

While Iraq may occupy headlines, there is a whole world that we need to engage in appropriate ways. n

CORRECTIONS: From the February 2004 issue: Both First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii each have Hawaii deposits, not assets, of about $6.3 billion; Karl Yoneshige’s correct title is president and chief executive officer of HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union; and Bruce Chapman is the mentor for Kele’s Coffee owner Terry Teeters. Hawaii Business regrets these errors.

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Kelli Abe-Trifonovich