Assyrian Financial Network

Assyrian American Chamber of Commerce

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2000 at 06:54 PM CT

A Chamber of Commerce is an essential organization for the promotion of business and industry, also for developing business contacts.  This is a common practice in the United States, and the western world, to have a formal business information center.

There are two types of Approved Chamber:

  • Traditional Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
  • Chambers that are Independent from the government and are member owned and led.

These Chambers are to be approved by the government, and they can speak on behalf of, and provide services to the local business communities.

Traditional Chambers of Commerce are the librarians of the information provided for them in the form of references by the Department of Commerce and the Nation’s Industries, to facilitate the needs of the Business community and to enhance their business and industry.  They also render a Public Relations role (PR) and some of them hold annual social functions to entertain their members.  Whereas, the objectives and advantages of an Independent Community Chamber of Commerce includes all of the above plus the following:

Let us at the outset take note of the following facts:  To form a community chamber of commerce it requires a Draft Constitution and Bylaws, terms in both are mainly standard.  The Law clearly states that a chamber of commerce shall be a None Profit and None Political organization.   Hence from its inception it should be registered and approved by the State Department of Commerce.

The membership becomes open to the community.  Members shall elect a Board of Directors and the chief executive officer (C.E.O.).  It is anticipated that all those who are active in business should be the first to join and elect the board of Directors, preferably from those who have a general knowledge of administration and/or are members of another local chamber.  At the same time special effort should be made to encourage others to join; especially those who have a desire to become involved in business but do not know how to start.  The membership would require an annual subscription, the amount of subscription to be determined by the board of directors and approved at the general body meeting.  A member may also be associated with other chambers; such dual membership can become beneficial to the individual and the Chamber.

The question may promptly be asked and rightly so:  What is a Chamber?  Why do we need an Assyrian Chamber of commerce and, what are the objectives and advantages for the Assyrian community to seek the formation of a community chamber while there are formal chambers of commerce established by the Department of Commerce almost in every city of the U.S.A.

Here is an illustration of some of the benefits:


A community chamber of commerce (CCC) is a formal and respectable business communication center; and it is recognized by all business organizations.  It attracts many opportunities to its members and particularly to the community, whereas traditional Chambers facilitates the information and assists its members to search for specific information.

The community Chamber will afford its members the opportunity to meet professionally, for developing business contacts and friendships within an enjoyable social environment.

The Community Chamber can arrange regular luncheon and evening business meetings with prominent and expert speakers catering to a diverse range of interests including special seminars, and business mixers.

The Community Chamber can act as a point of liaison between the membership and other commercial institutions on matters relating to trade.  Can seek sponsorship from corporations, and arrange fund-raising activities to serve the needs of its community.

The Community Chamber can assist interaction with professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs from a wide range of business and industrial communities to assist its members.

The Community Chamber can publish its own Directory.  The advertising revenue from such a directory should meet all the cost for its production and beyond; and it is a good publicity tool.

The Community Chamber can have access to current state and national trade information and resource material.

The Community Chamber can facilitate access to the job opportunities allocated to the minorities in the Public Departments.

There are various factors that can lead the C.C.C. members and by enlarge its community to success and prosperity.   Just to name a few: Educational sponsorship; Talent search; Business Ideas; Entrepreneurial; Trading; and Job opportunities.  Above all raising funds, and seeking contributions from Corporations for the legitimate needs of its community; rest assured when proper approach is made, the flow of contributions could be staggering.   In the United States donations and/or contributions are legally tax deductible.   Most of the corporations contribute substantially towards a legitimate cause, especially when it involves the improvement of the environmental standard of the communities: such as the sports facilities, schools, social centers, etc, etc. In return it is anticipated that if the beneficiary is the community then the chamber of that community may reward the donors with special honorary membership, and invitation to their social and/or sports functions. In the event the recipient is an individual - that means a job security.

Therefore it should be recognized that, we are the most fortunate segment of the Assyrian Nation in the United States of America.  Having the privilege of being the citizens of the wealthiest country on the face of the earth that has unlimited opportunities, and It is truly the country of milk and honey where dreams come true.  There are some that may disagree and say that it was true in the past but not anymore!  Let me assure you, dear reader, when you attend my seminar, you will agree with me that the U.S.A. still is and it will continue to remain the land of opportunities for all those who wish to become self-employed and work hard to achieve their Dream.  A community can achieve its objectives when its members become successful.  Prosperous people can help themselves and their community, and together they can enjoy a brighter future; and are able to extend a meaningful helping hand to the rest of their nation.  This golden opportunity can become a reality and prosperity to all, especially to those of us who have a dream and wish it to become true.  Just look around and see what the other minorities are doing and you shall get the courage to do likewise.

Here, it becomes appropriate to mention the financial struggle of our various organizations, who are voluntarily rendering a noble service, spending their time and funds; and/or depending on the dimes and nickels of donations from our people in pursuing the objectives of our Nation.  Assyrians are known to be a very generous race.  When the majority of people have a hard time to maintain their families; then, what alternative is there for them to fulfil their desire to meet the financial support needed for our organizations to pursue their task?  But, when the people become prosperous, then, it is anticipated that their contributions will become substantially adequate to support the organizations.   At that time, the organizations can become accountable to show positive results of their endeavor.

We are at the age of Information Highway, and at the threshold of the second millennium.  Education has become, as always has been, a vital requirement for every one of us at any age, especially to our young men and women to enable them to pursue the highest level of their goals.   We must admit that in recent years our young people have been progressing well in the educational field.  Yet we should continually encourage and help them to aim for the best.  It is not enough to be contented with their personal success alone, they should inspire their Assyrians friends to follow their esteemed example.   Furthermore, we must always remind our younger generation that they have a sacred task to fulfill:  As they become the heirs of tomorrow; they shall also become the custodians of our Nation's heritage, culture, and traditions.  And above all, they have to continue the task of seeking the recognition of our Nation's, long over due, place in the International arena of the civilized nations.  Therefore it is necessary that they should study the History of our Nation to enable them to understand the current obstacles, and the nobility of our nation's contributions to the civilized world; then they will proudly see it as a sacred duty to represent their heritage.

It is this writer's opinion that, the political dispensation and economical hardships of the twentieth century have compelled our people to become wage earners; most of them can hardly make ends meet and unable to give their children a higher education.  But in recent years we can notice a slow improvement, mainly in the U.S.A.  It is an estimated guess, that over ninety five percent of our people are still wage earners!  A wage earner can not become wealthy.  Therefore, if the current status dose not change, then how do we expect to become a prosperous community and expect to gain the recognition as a progressive minority at Home and abroad?   Nonetheless, we need to wake up and broaden our horizons and grab the golden opportunity and use our God given talents to participate in the American Dream.  Remember, that we are a gifted people, God has blessed us: He has given us wisdom, talent, and the gift of common sense.  It can not be denied that these three are the most precious gifts.  One can hardly find all these three together in other nations!  For instance, if you equate your I.Q. with others of a different race, you will immediately recognize where you stand!  We need to look around and see how the other minorities are prospering and find out what they are doing for a living.  You will then have the courage to take the first step to become self-employed, and only then you can see the prosperity of your endeavor.  If they can do it, why not you and I?  Assyrians are the only minority in this blessed country that did not have a chamber of commerce, until recently when the first one was started in California.

Currently, National statistics show that there are four hundred fifty Billionaires, and three and a one half million of millionaires throughout the United States of America.  Nearly seventy five percent of these are self-made millionaires; and almost half of these have started with an Idea and a small capital of a few thousand dollars.

Therefore, we the Assyrians must concentrate on establishing a community chamber of commerce in every city of the United States, where there is a reasonable size of the Assyrian community.  A chamber can assist those who are currently in business, and they too can help their chamber.  If you choose to become self-employed, the chamber is the place to assist you to get organized.  And once you become established you will then encourage others to follow in your footsteps.

Californians have recently established the first Assyrian Camber of Commerce titled:" The Assyrian American Chamber of Commerce of California." (AACC of California) It is administrated by a group of business professionals.   Mr. Luther Alkhaseh, is the founder and the C.E.O., and Dr. John Aivaz is the President of the Board of directors.  And it has a branch in San Jose, California.  They shall be holding two seminars at the forthcoming 66th Assyrian National Convention in Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend of September 3rd and 4th, 1999. All are cordially invited.   For further information see the web site: or call the Hotline telephone number: (818) 506-7831.

Here befits to mention that it was the generosity and personal endeavor of Mr. Luther Alkhaseh, a respectable entrepreneur, who saw the need and took the initiative single-handed and delivered to us the first Assyrian American Chamber of Commerce of California, completely approved and licensed by the State of California. He deserves our thanks and praises.  His gracious gift may set an example to others in our community to undertake a similar step.   May God richly bless you Dear fellow Assyrian.

I shall be available, by invitation, to give a free of charge seminar in any city across U.S.A. on the subject of "What it takes to form a chamber of commerce".

For further information see the details below.

Wilson P. Benjamin, Real Estate Consultant
1235 West Gate Avenue, Suite 2 • West Los Angeles, California USA 90025-1430
Telephone: (310) 473-5343 • Facsimile: (310) 452-6631

My name is Wilson Pera Benjamin.  An Assyrian born in Nineveh-Iraq.

A self-employed entrepreneur since the year 1946, started in Baghdad, Iraq.

A member of the Assyrian American Chamber of Commerce, of California.

An affiliate member of the British American Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, through Daniel Benjamin's (my son) company the "Design & Print Business" (D.P.B.).  (The Name BACC speaks for itself).

In year 1978 moved to Los Angeles, from London, England.  Studied the Real Estate Law.

In year 1982 I joined Jon Douglas Company - one of the largest privately owned real estate Companies - in the United States; associated by an independent contract until the year 1994.  Thereafter, operating privately as a real estate consultant.

In year 1960 moved to London, England, from Baghdad.  Established a Consulting business of International Trading and Financing.  Also opened a side business of Antiques: "Wilson's Galleries", dealing mainly in British antiques.  In year 1946 started own business of Civil Engineering Contractor & General Merchant.  Undertook major constructional projects and business activities.

In the year 1952 I Joined the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce; and became involved in sponsoring many young students to enable them to qualify for a government grant to study abroad.  Among them there were two Assyrians.  During my many years of diversified business activities, I have accumulated a fair degree of experience, especially in dealings through the chamber of commerce.  Therefore it encourages me to state that there is a lot to gain if one belongs to a chamber of commerce.  Suffice to say that the membership ID of a chamber is a testimony of good conduct, indicating that the holder is a reliable businessperson, otherwise, he or she would have not belonged to such a respectable organization.

Reverting to my offer - to give free seminars, if invited; yes I will be delighted.  But, since the proposal applies to Nationwide; therefore, it is anticipated that invitations may come from many States.   Hence, I would expect that the host should agree to pay the cost of a round trip air fair and the hotel accommodation.  Furthermore the invitation has to be in writing, indicating the approximate attendance and a brief information on the business background of those attending: such as how many are actively self-employed and what kind of business they have; and some idea about the educational aspect and approximate age group.  Any additional information can be helpful.

Contact information:

Wilson P. Benjamin, Real Estate Consultant
1235 West Gate Avenue, Suite 2 • West Los Angeles, California USA 90025-1430
Telephone: (310) 473-5343 • Facsimile: (310) 452-6631

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