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Gift to ISOP Sets Business Forecast's Sights on 'Greater China'Hong Kong's Central District, with I.M. Pei's Bank of China on the left.

Gift to ISOP Sets Business Forecast's Sights on 'Greater China'

A generous gift to UCLA International Studies from Wilbur K Woo will fund a conference on Asian economy as part of the renowned Anderson Forecast

By Jean Roth

For fifty years the UCLA Anderson Forecast has been among the most widely followed economic forecasts in California, providing projections for the state and national economies. Now a generous gift to UCLA International Studies and Overseas Programs by Wilbur K. Woo, a UCLA graduate and leader in the Chinese-American community, has established the annual Wilbur K. Woo Conference on the Greater China Economy that will focus on China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as part of the Forecast.

Proceeds from the $500,000 endowment will be used to invite leading policymakers and economists from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to speak at the Conference on the Greater China Economy.

Woo, vice chairman of the board of Cathay Bank, said that the gift was "in gratitude for the training I received at my alma mater many years ago." He added that the mission of the conference was to promote understanding of the economic ties between the Greater China region and the United States.

Geoffrey Garrett, vice provost of International Studies, expressed his deep appreciation to Woo for the endowment. "Wilbur Woo's generous gift will afford the UCLA community a wonderful opportunity not only to learn more about the evolution of the Greater China economy but also to interact with the business leaders and policy-makers who make this economy so dynamic," Garrett said.

Edward Leamer, director of the Anderson Forecast, was enthusiastic about the extra dimension to the forecast the conference will provide. "The days when a US forecaster could ignore the global economy are long gone," Leamer said. "The linkages that this gift will support will help us understand the critical role of Greater China in the global economy and its very substantial effects on California."

In time, it is also hoped that the focus of the conference may expand to encompass more of Asia, one of the most important drivers of global economic activity. "We hope the event will become more global in focus, expanding to include issues relevant to the development of Southeast Asia," Woo said.

Wilbur K. Woo was born in Guangdong, China, in 1915. He emigrated to the United States when he was five years old, returning to China for his secondary education. Woo graduated from UCLA in 1942 with a business degree in business administration. In addition to his long career at Cathay Bancorp, Inc., he has been an active member of numerous governmental and civic organizations, including the US Small Business Administration National Advisory Board, the Asian American National Business Alliance, the California Trade Commission, the United Way, and the China Society of Southern California.

Wilbur Woo founded the California-Taiwan Trade and Investment Council. In 1996 he received the Neil H. Jacoby International Award from UCLA.

Profiles of featured speakers at the inaugural conference held on December 5, 2001, and slide shows of their presentations may be viewed online at

http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/eass/china/conference.htm.

UCLA International Institute