Paige M.Econ, IAP
Airport Director, Air Service Development
9/11/2001, I was in Geneva, Switzerland working at the Development Division
of the World Trade Organization Secretariat. I had transitioned from an
internship to a short-term contract and I was working at that time doing
a paper on the participation of African countries in world trade. I was
actually annoyed because while researching on the Internet, I noticed
the connection had slowed down and some sites were frozen. I saw a weird
picture of one of the World Trade Center buildings smoking, but thought
it was fake and moved on to my research. Suddenly, my office colleague,
Amar Breckenridge from Sri Lanka, burst in and said that, "America
was under attack." Then I tried to get online and after many minutes
happened upon a website with details of the buildings demise.
I called my then brother-in-law who worked on
Wall Street, but the lines never connected. I then called my then wife
and daughter who were suppose to be in NYC to visit her brother, if they
had extended their flight for a longer visit after visiting me in Switzerland.
However, they did not, else they would have been stranded. Instead my
then wife and daughter left to ensure they arrived back in Antigua in
time for the new school year.
Back in Geneva, all work stopped. For companionship,
my colleagues and I went to a bar and watched the whole scene unfold on
TV for hours.
The result was that WTO member countries signed
on to a new round of trade negotiations, the Development Agenda, after
months of stalling because they felt we needed to build global solidarity
on trade to reduce terrorism.