Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to hear from Nonprofit Fair Trade Speaker, Doug Dirks this Thursday, March 8th from 9:15-10:30AM in COBE 102A. Mr. Dirks will be speaking to the IB320 “Managing in a Global Economy” class, however all IB Majors are invited to attend this lecture.
Doug Dirks, Ten Thousand Villages Public Relations
Doug Dirks has developed relationships with many artisans in developing countries during his more than 20 years of working for Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit fair trade organization that markets handcrafted products made by artisans from more than 130 artisan groups in 38 countries. As one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating long-term buying relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to unique gifts, accessories and home decor from around the world.
A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Canada, Dirks began what he downplays as a “humble” career, in the late 1970s as an auditor for Arthur Andersen and for the Auditor General of the Government of British Columbia.
In the early 1980s, Dirks served for three years as Job Creation Administrator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bangladesh. During this time, Dirks worked alongside a number of Bangladeshi colleagues to start several small businesses designed to employ women who were otherwise considered unemployable. Some of the products these women made were exported to fair trade organizations such as Ten Thousand Villages U.S. and Ten Thousand Villages Canada.
It was obvious to Dirks that these sales made a tremendous difference in the lives of the women artisans. He returned to the United States in 1985 ready to promote the sale of products made by these artisans, beginning his more than 20 year tenure with Ten Thousand Villages U.S. as Marketing Director and later in the role of Producer Relations Director.
A native of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, Dirks moved to New Hamburg, Ontario in 1996 to work with Ten Thousand Villages Canada as Executive Director.
In 2002, Dirks returned to the United States to take on the role of Marketing Director for Ten Thousand Villages U.S. Since 2006, Dirks has been a Ten Thousand Villages artisan storyteller in his role as a Public Relations representative. His wife, Joanne is the manager of the Ten Thousand Villages retail store in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. He served as board chair for the Fair Trade Federation from 2008 – 2010.
Dirks has traveled to many of the 38 countries where Ten Thousand Villages buys products and has met many of the artisans who handcraft the products featured at Ten Thousand Villages. His travels have enabled him to collect many personal artisan stories showing how sales through Ten Thousand Villages have positively affected the lives of artisans, their families and their communities.
Dunia Marketplace will be hosting Doug Dirks visit to Boise March 8 -11, 2012. Dunia Marketplace, located in Boise’s historic Hyde Park, purchases a majority of the items in their non-profit fair trade store from Ten Thousand Villages and covers southern Idaho with off-site sales and the message of fair trade.
For more information on Doug, click on the following links to see YouTube videos of his stories.
For more information on Ten Thousand Villages, go to http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/
For more information on Dunia Marketplace, go to http://www.duniamarketplace.com/