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THE BIG QUESTION—October 1, 2009

THE BIG QUESTION is a new multimedia project on the World Policy Blog.

David A. Andelman: The Acorn Dossier, by William Beecher

The ultimate nightmare for the nuclear age is not the behavior of a rogue nuclear power like North Korea, nor the potential for evil of a "wannabe" like Iran. Rather it is the all but totally unpredictable event of an errant nuke falling into the hands of an all but totally uncontrollable, not to mention unpredictable, even undetectable, hands of a nuclear terrorist. Undetectable, that is, before it's too late. This is the premise of the riveting nuclear thriller, The Acorn Dossier; an entirely new genre of spy caper from an author whose career has uniquely positioned him to offer us such a delectable and exciting yarn. William Beecher, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, served for years as the Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times. He then covered national security out of the Washington bureau of the Boston Globe before moving to the Department of Defense and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he was intimately involved with the teams that actually tracked the whereabouts of the world's nukes. Who better, then, to posture the nightmare scenario that unfurls in this book? As it opens, a team of elite retired Spetsnaz commandos are assembling quietly but most efficiently in a plush villa in Ljubljana, Slovenia; they have gathered from the four corners of the former Soviet empire for one final, highly lucrative, covert operation. The organizer of this rogue enterprise is former Spetsnaz general Nikolai Brik, codenamed "Merlin"—but whose full nickname is Merlin the Merciless. And merciless he certainly turns out to be. Merlin, it seems, is a veteran undercover operative. Put on the shelf in the post-Soviet world of Kremlin-backed oligarchs and what he sees as their American allies, he nurses a deep grudge against his former bosses, but especially against the United States. His reasons unfold as we wind through the intricacies of a tale centered on deeply hidden caches of "suitcase bombs," sequestered during the depths of the Cold War in various towns across America. Their "sleeper" handlers have long since been forgotten, it appears, by everyone but themselves, but Merlin prepares to change all that. The assumption is diabolical, frightening and deeply relevant, for the suitcase bomb is by no means the figment of the unquestionably vivid imagination of William Beecher.

GCLS UPDATE: Iceland's president: Our most pressing problems are interlinked

Closing Remarks: President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland Summary by Josh Sanburn, World Policy Journal After three days in which global leaders, academ

GCLS UPDATE: Appetite for Reduction

PANEL: Global Commodity Crunch: Food, Water, Oil, Energy, Trade? Master of Ceremonies: John Authers, Investment Editor, Financial Times Panelists: Badr Jafar, Executive Director, Crescent Petroleum Group Josh Margolis, Co-Chief Executive Director, CantorCO2e Henk-Jan Brinkman, Senior Adviser for Economic Policy, World Food Programme Zachary Karabell, President, River Twice Research Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal After Financial Times journalist John Authers introduced the panel, Badr Jafar examined the issue of oil shortages from an industry perspective, explaining that the "roller coaster" of oil prices in 2008 was precipitated both by oil speculation and the depletion of reserves. As demand for oil steadily increases in China and elsewhere in Asia, the threat of a serious shortage continues to loom portentously. Going forward, investments to increase capacity must come from public-private partnerships, too little of which currently exist, he says. "The next 10 years is going to be crucial in seeing whether we move more towards partnership or more towards conflict." He then addressed carbon emissions, presenting several practical ways to move toward their reduction. The most important thing the world can do is rid itself of its dependence on coal; "by displacing coal with natural gas worldwide," he said, "we can reduce carbon emissions by over 70 percent." He also called attention to rainforest degradation, imploring us to appreciate rainforests' natural carbon capture and storage capabilities and to take action to protect them. Josh Margolis of CantorCO2e, a business focused on environmental rights, also emphasized the urgency of cutting carbon emissions. The United States emits dozens more tons of carbon per person than places like India and China, but that these developing economies strive to someday consume like Americans "keeps [him] up at night." But he was optimistic about the global potential to address the issue, citing America's pending cap-and-trade bill that seeks to cut emissions by 8 billion to 1 billion tons by 2050. "We should never waste an opportunity presented by an acute crisis," he said, and the opportunity is there "if we accept that we really have to solve the problem."

GCLS UPDATE: Who Isn't a Journalist?

PANEL: Global Media Keynote: Li Xiguang, president of Tsinghua University's International Center for Communication Studies Master of Ceremonies: K

GCLS UPDATE: A Celebration of Innovation

PANEL: Innovation, Entrepreneurialism and National Competitiveness in a Global Age Keynote Speaker: Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen of Finland Special Speaker: H.E. Dr. Ivo Sanader, Former Prime Minister of Croatia Master of Ceremonies: Aart de Geus, Deputy Secretary General of the OECD Panelists: Juan-Felipe Muñoz, Managing Director, The Otun Group Dr. Eric Bonabeau, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, Icosystem Corporation Stephen Shapiro, Founder and Advisor, 24/7 Innovation Bruce Mau, Creative Director and Founder, Bruce Mau Design Susan Polgar, Chess Grandmaster Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal "Activity breeds innovation," Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen of Finland told an eager panel. "New things are not created without taking risks." And never has there seemed a more urgent need for new ideas than now, with the world's economies still reverberating from the worst slump in generations and public debts expanding almost beyond control. The key to a sustainable recovery will be entrepreneurship and innovation, he said, and in Finland, "it is in times of crisis when governments have to be particularly active" in promoting them. Finland's experience, he continued, shows that extraordinary difficulties can be overcome with the right policies and enterprise; so too for the rest of the world, "in the coming years governments will play a bigger role than before." Former Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader also shared his country's experience, illustrating how it has achieved its progress while shifting from a heavily controlled to a vibrant "knowledge-based" economy. The key, he said, was major investments in human capital and fostering of "competitiveness in everyday life." Education is one important component of this, but "this alone will not guarantee competitiveness;" it is essential to balance education with employment needs while giving special attention to rule of law and control of corruption. He concluded with a call to the European Union "to leave the doors of integration open" in order to ensure lasting peace and stability. Shifting the regional focus, Juan-Felipe Muñoz spoke of the rigid social systems in Latin America.

GCLS UPDATE: Substantive Growth in a Hollow Shell

PANEL: Geo-Politics and Geo-Economics of the Middle East Master of Ceremonies: David A. Andelman, Editor, World Policy Journal Panelists: H.E. Reza Pahlavi, Former Crown Prince of Iran Dr. Paul Sullivan, Professor of Economics, National Defense University Dr. Priya Satia, Professor of Modern British History, Stanford University Zachary Karabell, President, River Twice Research Dr. Mustapaha Tlili, Founder and Director, Center for Dialogues Islamic World, U.S.-The West, New York University Felice Friedson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Media Line Eyal Weizman, Director, Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College Panel summary by Max Currier, World Policy Journal David Andelman focused the morning panel on two flashpoints: Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  Reza Pahlavi began by reminding his New York audience that no place is “immune from the consequences of far away places.”  He described the Iranian government as “corrupt authoritarians” with a “stranglehold over a defenseless population.”  Noting especially the June 12 elections, he explained the government has “lost any semblance of legitimacy” and “robs Iranians of their dignity.”  Mr. Andelman announced the breaking news that Iran reported a previously undisclosed nuclear enrichment facility and asked Prince Pahlavi if there is a consensus in Iran about the peaceful use of nuclear power.  Nobody, Prince Pahlavi said, would suggest that sovereign nations could not use technology for its own peaceful means.  But he did add that Iran has not convinced the international community that its nuclear intentions are peaceful. Prince Pahlavi recommended, and Felice Friedson later agreed, that, because “the luster of the Iranian revolution has vanished,” the international community should show humanitarian support for the people of Iran, creating “internal pressure” such that the Iranian regime “will be forced to change its policy.”  Similarly, Zachary Karabell believes China’s economic growth, with enough political freedom to alleviate extremism, can be a model for the development in many Middle East countries.  Dr. Paul Sullivan believes that economic development is imperative across the region: “[Tension] has more to do with money and power than religions.” Dr. Sullivan emphasized the importance of water security in the region. 

GCLS UPDATE: The Road to Copenhagen and Beyond

PANEL: National Targets, Global Challenge: Climate Change, Copenhagen, and Beyond Master of Ceremonies: Josh Margolis, Co-Chief Executive officer, Cantor CO2e Panelists: Dr. Thomas Malone, Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management Robert Laubacher, Research Associate, MIT Sloan School of Management Aart de Geus, Deputy Secretary General of the OECD Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group Dr. Lisa Randall, Professor of Physics, Harvard University Dr. Gerd Leipold, Executive Director, Greenpeace International Dr. Renate Christ, Secretary, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr. Doug Arent, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Center for Strategic Energy Analysis Dr. John Felmy, Chief Economist, American Petroleum Institute Panel summary by Max Currier, World Policy Journal Jeff Felmy began with an impassioned plea: “The first thing we need to do is agree on the facts and then we can talk about policy.” Much of the subsequent discussion focused on diagnosing the problem of climate change from different perspectives without touching much on substantive policy prescriptions, although Aart de Geus did urge governments to levy taxes on emissions to encourage business growth in the “right direction,” and for governments to coordinate their actions “as collectively as possible.” “We’re dealing with a massive market failure,” Changhua Wu said.  Robert Laubacher added another failure, that of the mainstream media in “presenting complexity.” He lamented that the attendant issues (science, geopolitics, law) of climate change are “extraordinarily complex issues” which are “not easily understandable for the lay person.” The panel spent considerable time discussing why too few people support the dramatic changes that are required to substantially reduce carbon emissions.

GCLS UPDATE: The Future of Giving

PANEL: Social Entrepreneurs — The Next Generation of Smart Philanthropists Special introduction: Amir Dossal, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Partnerships Master of Ceremonies: Matthew Bishop, U.S. business editor and New York bureau chief, The Economist Panelists: Eric Broyles, Chief Executive Officer, Megree Akhtar Badshah, senior director, community affairs worldwide, Microsoft Corporation Kamran Elahian, philanthropist, chairman and co-founder, Global Catalyst Partners Robert Weiss, president and vice chair, X Prize Foundation Dr. Paul Jhin, CEO, The Information and Technology Corps Michael Landau, chairman, MAP International Noella Coursaris Musunka, founder, Georges Malaika Foundation Richard Samans, managing director of the World Economic Forum Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and founder of the Pearl Initiative Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal After a special introduction by Amir Dossal, Matthew Bishop began the panel with a call for private-public partnerships. “Even Bill Gates, with all his money, realizes he cannot solve the problems he's grappling with on his own,” he said. Philanthropists need to forge smart and efficient alliances that use everyone’s skills effectively to address the pressing problems of the world, while “the public has to understand what's going on and be brought into the process as well.” Noella Coursaris Munsaka addressed education initiatives in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Congo, after 20 years of war, is a challenge to work [with],” she acknowledged, but she also spoke to the importance of forging effective partnerships between and among sectors. It is key to have government involvement, private sector activity, and especially community initiatives in education and literacy projects. “If we work together more, I think we can achieve more goals over there and more goals sitting around the table like this,” said Munsaka. Michael Landau then described MAP International’s creative solutions for infrastructure and education projects, especially in Uganda. Like the other panelists, he emphasized the importance of what he called “trilateral donor programs”—partnerships between governments, the private sector, and recipients. He put it bluntly: “it is not enough to have a partnership with [just] the government, because they don’t have money.” But government involvement is necessary, he allowed, to achieve anything “massively transformative."

GCLS UPDATE: Poland as a Global Power

PANEL: President Lech Kaczynski: Poland in Globalization Introduction: David A. Andelman, Editor, World Policy Journal Featuring: President Lech Kaczynski, Republic of Poland Panel summary by Max Currier, World Policy Journal Amid glazed sea bass and raspberry chocolate purse, David Andelman introduced Lech Kaczynski, president of the Republic of Poland, as “the leader of perhaps the single most dynamic nation to emerge from the Warsaw Pact.” President Kaczynski agreed, pointing out through a translator that Poland is a large geographic nation with an emerging economy that will soon be the sixth largest in the European Union in terms of GDP growth per capita. Poland, he later added, should be the 20th member of the G-20 because it is robust economically and it seeks to “contribute” as an engaging and productive member of the global economy. Before a mixed European and American audience, President Kaczynski praised “the new U.S. administration” for taking “momentous decisions” regarding missile defense. “What we’re seeing is a new offer of American leadership in the world” based on “universal negotiations” for which “I wish all the best.” He characterized the U.S. "offer" in "the context of a changing multilateral world,” implying a difficulty in engaging both Europe and the United States, as well as Russia. “Reconciliation is better than conflict. … Development is always better than going backwards,” he said. "We will see in the coming years if this offer is doable.”

Clinton Summit: What We Talk About When We Talk About Infrastructure

PANEL: The Infrastructure of Human Dignity Star Spotter: Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, Barbara Streisand, Ricky Martin, Eve Ensler Moderator:  John Podesta, president and CEO of Center for American Progress Panelists: Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health Wangari Muta Maathai, founder of The Green Belt Movement, Kenya Ingrid Munro, founder of Jamii Bora Trust and CEO of Jamii Bora Group By Ruthie Ackerman for World Policy Journal When we think of infrastructure we think of roads, sewage systems, and buildings. But a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative led by John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and former White House chief of staff under President Clinton, took a different look at infrastructure. Entitled “The Infrastructure of Human Dignity,” the panel focused on the systems that affect the world’s most vulnerable people: clean water, health care, and food systems. This is, as Podesta pointed out, the infrastructure needed “to support a decent standard of living for all people.” Each panelist represented a different starting point on the issue: Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work on the green movement in Kenya, believes environmental education should be a universal education in all schools, especially given the link between conflict and resource management. In wars around the world—and, especially, those in Africa such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—battles over natural resources have sparked and prolonged those conflicts. The solution, Maathai said, is to develop a new consciousness over what she calls natural capital. “People come out of university with a lot of knowledge. They are full in the head. But it is important to be able to apply that knowledge. How do we tend the soil? This is important.”

GCLS UPDATE: The Only Thing We Have to Fear...Is Everything?

PANEL: Emerging Security Challenges Master of Ceremonies: Dr. John Henry Clippinger, Professor, Harvard University Panelists: Dr. Linton Wells, Distinguished Research Fellow and Force Transformation Chair, National Defense University Major General Robert Schmidle, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources, United States Marine Corps Dr. Eric Bonabeau, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, Icosystem Corporation H. E. Shaukat Aziz, Former Prime Minister, Pakistan Dr. Paul Sullivan, Professor of Economics, National Defense University Dr. Thomas Malone, Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences, Yale University Carol Dumaine, Deputy Director for Energy and Environment Security, U.S. Department of Energy Panel summary by Max Currier, World Policy Journal Dr. John Henry Clippinger began the discussion by enumerating a few of the many, disparate security challenges we face today: worsening climate change, unbridled access to conventional weapons, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Armed forces securing a perimeter, he said, is not a sufficient means of security anymore. Former Prime Minister Aziz noted other security challenges such as economic instability and “uppermost...the lack of leadership and cohesion at the global level.” Mr. Aziz insisted that terrorism is not primarily a security issue, however, but rather a symptom of societal problems—human rights, basic needs, education, women's rights, children's rights, and a lack of effective dispute resolution (which leads to helplessness)—that must be addressed at the root cause. “Eventually,” Mr. Aziz said, “you have to have dialogue. You can’t kill an entire population. But you do have to negotiate from a position of strength…using both carrots and sticks.” Carol Dumaine from the Department of Energy (DOE) paraphrased author Jared Diamond: “The single biggest problem is the idea that we have a single biggest problem.... It’s what we least expect that could be the greatest threat and also the greatest opportunity.” Accordingly, the Department of Energy is engaging an interdisciplinary approach to create “scenario and foresight techniques” that will allow for better identification of root causes and stresses on natural and man-made systems. This should, Dumaine contends, help the DOE anticipate how stresses may manifest in “high impact, unknown probability events in the area of energy security”—such as the impact of extreme weather on nuclear power facilities or Arctic ice-sheet disintegration on animal feed security.

GCLS UPDATE: The Internet's great. Now, how should we use it?

PANEL: Education — Cognitive and Digital Tools for the Minds of the Next Generation Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Howard Gardner, Harvard University psychologist Keynote: Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha Panelists: Johann Koss, CEO of Right to Play Dr. Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, NYU globalization and education professor Jorge Pardo, sculptor Dr. Stephen Kosslyn, Harvard University psychology professor Dr. Fred Mednick, Founder, Teachers Without Borders Allan E. Goodman, President, The Institute of International Education Mark Inglis, Founder, Limbs4All Dr. Larry Stone, teacher and sommelier Panel summary by Josh Sanburn, World Policy Journal The topic of education and how it relates to new technologies brought a diverse group of people together—a former Olympic speed skater, a sculptor, a sommelier, a mountaineer, and (to top it off) the prime minister of Albania. Sali Berisha addressed technology in Albanian schools in his keynote address, saying he began working toward Internet access in every school in the mid-90s. "Now, my country's totally different," he said. "There is Internet and a computer lab in every school. But in the digital age, you never run with the speed of time. Time is faster than you." Prime Minister Berisha said he eventually wants the Internet in every Albanian household. He believes it will empower his country and that it is the "best tool for the global march of people." While online access was a running theme, Dr. Stephen Kosslyn suggested there was too much emphasis on technology itself. "It's like an emphasis on canvas and wooden frames," he said. "There should be more of an emphasis on what you do with technology."

GCLS UPDATE: The Brains of the Operation

PANEL: Socio-Biological Perspectives of Neuroscience Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Eric R. Kandel, Professor of Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Physiology at Columbia University Panelists: Dr. Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor, The Rockefeller University Dr. Stephen Kosslyn, John Linsley Professor of Psychology and Dean of Social Science at Harvard Dr. Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, University of Southern California Dr. Gerald Fischbach, Scientific Director, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal How does the human mind function, and what are the implications for human behavior? Dr. Kandel, who won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his research on memory storage in neurons, began by introducing neuroscience as the “common language” between the humanities and the sciences. The study of the functioning of the human brain can offer insight into decision-making processes, peer bonding, aesthetics, and aggression patterns. As we address global issues, he said, it is critical to understand the biological processes driving the human beings involved. He turned to Dr. Cori Bargmann of the Rockefeller University, who studies the relationship between specific neuro-circuits and specific behaviors. “Humans are a social species,” she said, but “humans are also animals” and certain factors underlying human behavior are “built into our genes” by biology. Take mammalian childbirth, for example, when chemicals are released during labor that “profoundly changes the brain of the female to induce maternal behavior,” Bargmann explained. When it comes to aggression, biology is also an impetus. The unequal distribution of resources can trigger primal conflicts between creatures, noted Bargmann, but the environment in which a creature is raised—in a group or in isolation, for example—also plays a role. Dr. Stephen Kosslyn began by asking what seemed a simple question: “what shape are a German Shepherd's ears?”

GCLS UPDATE: Wikipedia? Check. But wiki government?

PANEL: Digital Technology — Tools for Social Change Master of Ceremonies: Frank Moss, Director of the MIT Media Lab Panelists: Joshua Schachter, Google engineer Jeffrey Friedberg, Chief Trust Architect, Microsoft Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia Dr. Howard Gardner, Harvard University psychologist Dr. John Henry Clippinger, Co-director of the Law Lab, Harvard University Martin Varsavsky, Argentinian entrepreneur Panel summary by Josh Sanburn, World Policy Journal Today, it is commonly accepted that the Internet has created the foundations for the possibility of possessing collective human knowledge. The question the panel of professors, entrepreneurs, and computer and software engineers addressed was how to turn that wisdom into collective action. Joshua Schachter, a Google software engineer, said there's an increasing opportunity to organize people to solve common problems together, like access to health care, lack of education, and poverty. "People acting in their own interest is great," Schachter said. "But can we get everybody to chime in and do something that's useful?" A couple panelists referred to "wiki government," a concept first brought forth in a book by Beth Simone Novack, that argues for a better government through collaborative democracy. "Can we find issues that are important, where there's a lot of expertise, and then mobilize it in such a way that the expertise can be used without a group or person dominating the ultimate outcome?" asked Dr. Howard Gardner.

GCLS UPDATE: Confronting the Crisis

PANEL: Global Financial Crisis—Risk, Regulation, Remuneration Master of Ceremonies: Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and NY Bureau Chief, The Economist Keynote Speakers: His Excellency Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan President Michelle Bachelet of Chile Panelists: Paul Wilmott, Founder, Wilmott Magazine and Wilmott.com Lex Fenwick, Chief Executive Officer, Bloomberg Ventures Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences, Yale University Juan-Felipe Muñoz, Managing Director, The Otun Group John Authers, Investment Editor, Financial Times Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal

“The world today faces innumerable challenges,” began Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz, like climate change, nuclear proliferation, security challenges, and—of course—the global financial crisis. Aziz first explored several factors that precipitated the crisis; for one, risk management systems in most institutions were driven by greed and arrogance and a lack of proper checks and balances. Capability was lacking in the financial system, as well; “regulators, in my view, had big gaps in capacity,” said Aziz. Looking forward, he called for a “massive exercise in raising capital.” In the throes of the crisis, governments provided what the markets couldn’t with their massive capital injections, but in his view “governments should remain regulators and only regulators.” He also advocated reforms to executive compensation as well as consolidation and coordination or regulatory activity. But the most important reform to be made is that of leadership. “I would sacrifice everything to get good, strong, hands-on management and leadership” that has wisdom as well as street smarts, he said. “With a little humility, we have to make sure we don’t repeat what happened.”

World-renowned mathematician Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot, the inventor of fractal geometry and chaos theory, spoke next, analyzing the theoretical flaws that drove financial decision-making leading up to the crisis. Traditional theories of pricing, he explained, were outdated and simplistic, “grossly fail[ing] to fit reality.” The real risks were much greater than what traditional theory would imply, and since the risks were oversimplified, brokers were overconfident, prompting market decisions that eventually proved disastrous. He called for more serious research on pricing and expenditures, and pointed to his book, The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward for a model of market behavior that more accurately reflects reality.

The people ultimately responsible for risk management “simply didn't understand the risks and the instruments,” emphasized Lex Fenwick, the CEO of Bloomberg LP. And he is not optimistic about the future.

GCLS UPDATE: Ted Turner, In Conversation

Introduction: Amir Dossal, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Partnerships Featuring: Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation; Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Managing Editor, Financial Times Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal Lunch began with a message from Ban Ki-Moon. Amir Dossal, executive director for the UN Office for Partnerships, spoke of behalf of the UN secretary-general, who reached out to the GCLS to forge "a new multilateralism that delivers." He urged continued action on the Millennium Development Goals as their target date of 2015 looms ever closer, and warned that "a new crisis" involving the near-poor is spreading. He also introduced the UN's Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System (GIVAS) as a networked, twenty-first-century system to monitor the global impacts of the financial crisis in real time. Finally, he called for cooperation at December's summit in Copenhagen on climate change. "These and other problems transcend national borders; so too must solutions," Ban said. "I will look to you to press your leaders for action." After delivering Ban's message, Dossal turned to the man of the hour—esteemed media mogul, innovator, and philanthropist Ted Turner. He told of his first interactions with Turner, recounting how he once came to the UN with a billion dollar offer. Turner's net worth had gone up by $1b in the past year, and since the United States had been stingy in its international obligations, he had offered to pay on its behalf (intending, by the way, to later sue the U.S. government).

GCLS UPDATE: Making Africa the next India

PANEL: Spotlight on Africa — Trade, Security, Economy, Development Keynote: Sierra Leone Information Minister Hon. Alhaji Ibrahim Kargbo Master of Ceremonies: Johann Koss, CEO of Right to Play Panelists: Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Dr. Paul Sullivan, Georgetown University economics professor Dr. Joanna Rubinstein, UN Millennium Project Director for Global Health and Science Initiatives Michael Landau, Chairman of MAP International Dr. Phoebe Asiyo, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Noella Coursaris Musunka, Founder of the Georges Malaika Foundation Johnny Copelyn, CEO of Hosken Consolidated Investments Nuhu Ribadu, former Executive Chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Panel summary by Josh Sanburn, World Policy Journal The problems surrounding Africa cover a vast range of issues: lack of efficient governance, health crises, misguided leadership, the history of colonization, and resource exploitation by the West are just a few. But panelists threw caution to the wind and, in a wide-ranging discussion, attempted to address them all and provide solutions to some of the continent's most frustrating and seemingly insolvable issues. The discussion at times centered around what Dr. Paul Sullivan of Georgetown University called the "great scramble for resources." In this scramble, Africa has long been at the receiving end, as major powers have combed the continent for timber, rubber, oil, copper, and other raw materials. Sullivan also recalled how Africa was often used as a strategic tool during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said history showed a "plundering of Africa," but also criticized the way many outside countries have now attempted to aid the continent. "We're still dealing with Africa piecemeal," he said. "Everyone's doing microfinance. Microfinance is good, but we need to look at wealth creation." He described a new revolution taking place involving eco-friendly technology. "It is green. It is clean. Can Africa be part of this?" Much of the discussion focused on how the continent can move forward. While outside countries can do a lot to help, the panelists talked widely about the need for Africans to learn to help themselves.

Clinton Summit: The "Girl Effect"

By Ruthie Ackerman for World Policy Journal Moderator:  Diane Sawyer, anchor ABC’s Good Morning America Panelists: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil Melanne Verveer, first-ever ambassador-at-large for women’s issues in the U.S. State Department Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank The Nike Foundation calls it the "Girl Effect”: give a girl the opportunity to change her world and she will change the world of those around her as well. (Watch the video on YouTube and you can see for yourself.) This not only works in business, but in preventing the spread of terrorism as well, explained Melanne Verveer, at the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) morning session, moderated by Diane Sawyer. The morning panel was the CGI model at its best, a mix of public- and private-sector organizations, which seems to work best in tackling the world’s problems. “The most dangerous places in the world are those places where women are put down in the greatest way,” Verveer said. “Women are on the frontlines of moderation.” Not only are women important to maintain national security, said Zainab Salbi, but that involving women in peace processes helps to keep conflict at bay for longer. But why suddenly does there seem to be a flood of interest in what has been traditionally thought of as “women’s issues”?

GCLS UPDATE: Financial collapse will be catalyst for change

PANEL: Corporate Culture and Entrepreneurship After the Credit Crunch Keynote: Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Master of Ceremonies: Ali Velshi, CNN Chief Business Correspondent Panelists: Lex Fenwick, CEO of Bloomberg Stanley Bergman, Chairman and CEO of Henry Schein Johnny Copelyn, CEO of Hosken Consolidated Investments Mark Angelson, Chairman and CEO of World Color Press Panel summary by Josh Sanburn, World Policy Journal While the downfall of Lehman Brothers occurred just over a year ago, a number of prominent CEOs, as well as the prime minister of the Netherlands, agreed that the collapse that precipitated the global financial crisis will be a catalyst for change. What that change will be exactly is yet to be determined. The Dutch prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende (who arrived directly from the United Nations General Assembly and praised President Barack Obama's speech), said a change in culture is needed to solve the current global financial problems. "Business as usual is not an option," he said, insisting that companies across the world curb reckless behavior. "Taking excessive risks has caused real misery. But the current situation allows us to change corporate culture." A number of the experts participating in the panel, "Prospects: Corporate Culture and Entrepreneurship After the Credit Crunch," seemed to be in agreement, though Bloomberg CEO Lex Fenwick, added that employees today are too scared about losing their jobs to offer risky ideas.

GCLS UPDATE: To Your Health — Global Initiatives for Today and Tomorrow

PANEL: Global Health—Development Needs, Research Developments Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Barry Bloom, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Joan L. And Julius H. Jacobson Professor of Public Health Panelists: Dr. Seth Berkley, President and CEO, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; Dr. Majid Fotuhi, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Hospital; Aart de Geus, Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Dr. Matthew Spitzer, President of the U.S. board, Doctors Without Borders; Ellis Rubenstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer, United States Malaria Coordinator, President’s Malaria Inititative Panel summary by Mary Kate Nevin, World Policy Journal Considerable progress has been made in the science of health around the world, though vast resource gaps remain before breakthroughs should be expected, concluded the seven contributors to the “Global Health: Development Needs, Research Developments” panel of the Global Creative Leadership Summit. The first, Dr. Seth Berkley of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, spoke highly of scientific progress in drug and treatment-related breakthroughs, but highlighted the need for “better prevention tools.” This kind of progress will require increased partnerships to ensure that various “sectors can work together seamlessly [to] work on solving these problems.” In the field of dementia, Dr. Majid Fotuhi suggested that this disease, often attributed to developed countries, actually affects the entire world. Cognitive dementia, Fotuhi explained, is not necessarily caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, lifestyle elements like hypertension, obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle have a much greater impact on the brain. As a result, he championed interventions to reduce obesity, including economic incentives to encourage healthier choices. “We need to take the same approach to obesity that we have taken to smoking cessation,” he said, and “we need to take action now.”
FALL FUNDRAISER

 

PORTFOLIO


Nauru: A Cautionary Tale 

 

Vlad Sokhin documents life in Nauru, a tiny, once-wealthy Pacific island where land has been stripped bare and the hulking shells of the phosphate mining industry have been left to rust.


Those the Jasmine Revolution Forgot 

 

Photographer Nicholas Linn and writer Sam Kimball capture the struggles of the Tunisian underclass following the 2011 Revolution. 

Tough Love: Las Amorasas Más Bravas 

 

Bénédicte Desrus and Celia Gómez Ramos explore Casa Xochiquetzal, a shelter in Mexico City that allows sex workers to age with dignity.

Iran's House of Strength 

 

Jeremy Suyker penetrates the tight-knit community of zurkhanehs, traditional rooms for training warriors dating back to the Persian Empire, and the modern efforts to preserve this Iranian cultural heritage. 

        

Bolshoi Babylon 

 

Director Nick Read examines the dysfunction that led to an attack on Sergei Filin, artistic director of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, before Russian President Putin stepped in to restructure the Bolshoi’s leadership.

 

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Are the U.S. and China on a collision course?
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