Gene Bigler, International Consultant; Former U.S. Diplomat
Michael Conniff, Professor of History, San José State University
Herman Boschken, Professor Emeritus, College of Business, San José State University
As part of the Club's celebration of the centennial of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, our panel will focus on the role the Panama Canal played in shifting California's fortunes and opportunities for Pacific Rim trade, will review its tremendous geopolitical impact on California's economy, and will imagine its continuing effects for the next century as trade across the Pacific reassumes its customary prominence in the world economy. Although the U.S. Administration of the canal always emphasized its military-strategic concerns, the new all-water transportation that it provided also helped integrate the U.S. economy and transform global commerce. In more business-oriented Panamanian hands since 2000, with plans to double its capacity by the end of 2016, the canal could become the global logistics hub for the Western Hemisphere, raising expectations and concerns about the impact the canal will have during the Pacific Century.