Washington, D.C., June 7, 2006-Pangea
Artisan Market and Café, located at the International Finance Corporation
(IFC), hosted “Bolivia Day” on June 7. The day’s events consisted
of a brown bag panel discussion on “Indigenous Peoples,” followed by
a book signing by Kevin Healy, author of “Llamas, Weavings, and Organic
Chocolate: Multicultural Grassroots Development in the Andes and Amazon
of Bolivia.” That evening, Pangea will host a Bolivian cultural
event and evening reception.
Pangea had its grand opening on May 22, 2006. Among the opening
event guests was World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, who was on hand to
lead the morning ribbon cutting. "Pangea provides a window into the
work that the World Bank Group does with local communities in developing
countries, and in assisting socially-oriented enterprises to become sustainable
businesses," Mr. Wolfowitz said. "We're excited to share these
stories with the public, and to help the grassroots producers we work with
to gain market access. We are also looking forward having Pangea as a venue
for a continuing conversation about important issues in international development.
With its unique combination of handcrafted
products and interactive learning opportunities, Pangea presents a unique
shopping experience for customers. The new retail store and café, operating
out of IFC headquarters at Pennsylvania Avenue and 21st Street, will sell
handicrafts made by skilled artisans from developing countries in Asia,
Africa, and Latin America. Featured products include crafts, home
décor, jewelry, accessories, gourmet coffee and small food items.
Pangea’s opening week theme was Women’s Economic Empowerment. Throughout
the week, the store hosted brown bag lunches and panel discussions related
to the theme, featuring the leaders of three remarkable social enterprises:
Hagar in Cambodia, SEWA in India, and Gone Rural in Swaziland. Each organization
has a compelling story to tell about its work with disadvantaged women,
and its goal of ensuring a sustainable livelihood for these communities.
“Pangea has given us an outlet for our product in the United States,
so not only are we selling, but we are able to grow our business through
this wonderful store,” said Zoe Dean-Smith, managing director of Gone
In addition to hosting special events
and discussions, Pangea enhances the visitor’s experience with interactive
kiosks that narrate the individual stories behind each product. “With
Pangea, we want to involve the public and other partners in a discussion
of how business can engage more proactively in the fight against poverty,”
said Harold Rosen, director of IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiative. Mr.
Rosen’s group works with a commercial retail operator that manages Pangea’s
merchandising and sales, while GBI designs and implements the educational
and outreach programs of the store.
GBI works with enterprises with social
missions from poor and disadvantaged communities all over the world. By
providing business services, and financing and marketing solutions to these
small businesses that otherwise would not have the capacity to develop
and expand, their local economies are exposed to growth, sustainability,
and competitiveness. This partnership ultimately results in the creation
of more employment opportunities and increased incomes for these communities.
If you are interested in learning more about Bolivia Day and other events,
please contact Vanessa Ferragut at firstname.lastname@example.org.