Wang Tsoo

When I was going through Seattle airport last week, I saw a fascinating sign. It was a billboard from Boeing featuring a black and white photo of a airplane hanger with a small plane as the background, and then a large image of a man's face. The sign said something alone the lines of, "Boeing's first engineer, Wong Tsoo, was trained in China." I understood the sign in many different ways, especially because I know that a center for Chinese immigrants was recently built in Seattle. Thus this signage has something to do with the ethnic make up of Seattle. At the same time, it serves of course as a wonderful advertisement for Boeing, to give a sense of that company's historic roots. But mostly I understood it within the context of a wider American phenomena, along the lines of Franz Boas or Albert Einstein. American institutions and American companies acquire and maintain an international reputation for themselves only by means of occasionally actually getting very high caliber international employees.

I think there are some Icelandic companies that have picked up on this idea, but by no means all of them.


Lissy said…
I was thinking about this after one of the visitors today at Vikingaheimar was asking me about my experience at the Smithsonian. This happens to me about Berkeley too. Just the sense that the prestige of an institution rests of the shoulders of every employee there, the obligation towards excellence.
Lissy said…
Of course, one of the professors I worked with at Berkeley, Linda Rugg, she has a particular interest in the weirdness of the immigrant experience for Nordic peoples, something she calls "Whiteness studies"

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