Sonya Kosta Di Nova’s passion is international relations and business. Originally from Bulgaria, Sonya came to Columbia in 1992 and has worked with organizations and individuals from all over the world. Sonya serves as the president and CEO of Transcon Trading Co., Inc. and is an adjunct professor at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. She is an avid supporter of international cooperation and exchange in the community, and believes one organization in particular has had a tremendous impact on supporting these efforts locally—The Columbia World Affairs Council.
The Columbia World Affairs Council (CWAC) is dedicated to promoting international awareness in the Midlands. Founded in 1993, it serves as a bridge between the local community and its global counterparts by offering citizens opportunities to interact with key players in international affairs. Members might get the chance to spend an evening with an ambassador, attend seminars presented by different nations, or dine with foreign diplomats, dignitaries or international business executives.
Sonya began working with the CWAC in 1996 as a student eager to help develop the international relationships that were being built through the organization. Since then, she has been involved as a business owner and also a Sister City trip representative. She says her experience with CWAC has enhanced her ability to interact with clients and students, most of whom come from different cultures. “The better you understand other cultures, the better you work with other people,” she explains. “A cultural outlook has always helped me in business and also in the classroom, and my understanding has been greatly enhanced by the CWAC.”
“The CWAC enriches the lives of people, both in and outside of our community, by helping them adjust to and appreciate other cultures, and enhance their understanding of certain viewpoints,” Sonya says. “I think that it builds tolerance. You can learn about different things like cuisines and business practices, and you have the opportunity to communicate with real people from other cultures.”
The CWAC not only builds relationships between South Carolina and the world, but also helps unite the local community. Sonya describes the Council as a place to exchange ideas and contribute back to the city by encouraging people to collaborate across a variety of sectors for a common purpose.
“What impresses me most about the CWAC is the mixture of people that come together and are sincerely interested in meeting and discussing ways to increase collaboration in the areas of life and business,” Sonya says.
South Carolina has experienced rapid growth in international business, politics and culture over recent years, and Sonya believes the CWAC has contributed greatly to this by increasing Columbia’s international focus.
“Columbia is a very international-oriented place on cultural, political and business levels and the CWAC has been a huge contributor to building that image,” she says. “As a city, we have so much to offer. People want to come to Columbia because of this unique sense of cultural appreciation and international flavor. The CWAC is a wonderful way to help people become global citizens— it brings together people, cultures, understandings, viewpoints and so much more.”
For more information about the Columbia World Affairs Council, please visit www.columbiawac.org or call 803-252-2197.