WASHINGTON, D.C.–Looking to address the challenges facing artisans worldwide, the Aspen Institute will launch the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise here today at an event hosted by the U.S. Department of State. Among the 24 founding organizations are Walmart, West Elm, Global Goods, The Museum of Arts and Design and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The new organization hopes to enable companies, non-profits, governments and international organizations to collaborate to support and grow artisan enterprises and provide best practice services to the organizations that support them, as well as uphold the broader recognition of the importance of the artisan sector to development, economic growth and preservation of cultural heritage. A statement said that behind agriculture, artisan activity is the second largest employer worldwide and is often the primary means of income in the developing world.
Representatives from the 24 founding organizations as well as approximately 200 private sector executives, senior government officials and non-profit organizations will participate in the event later today. Melanne Verveer, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Elliot Gerson, the Aspen Institute’s executive vice president of Policy and Public Programs, will officially launch the alliance and deliver opening keynote remarks, followed by presentations from West Elm, Walmart, United States Agency for International Development, the International Folk Art Market-Santa Fe and Global Goods Partners. More information can be found at aspeninstitute.org/AllianceforArtisanEnterprise.
The launch comes on Global Goods’ launch of Fair Tuesday, a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that encourages consumers to buy one Fair Trade item today, as well as spread the word on social media using hashtag #FairTuesday.