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Columbia Convenes Annual World Leaders Forum
Video Highlights Now Available Online

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World Leaders Forum 2006 photo gallery
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The first round of Columbia University World Leaders Forum events, featuring heads of state and thought leaders from around the globe, is now available in video on the Forum's Web site.

The leaders shared their views on some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including poverty, security, and ecological preservation. Events included the following:

Making Globalization Work, Sept. 18
Nobel laureate and Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz opened the forum with a panel discussion on his new work, Making Globalization Work. At the event, which marked the launch of his North American book tour, Stiglitz said, "Globalization today is too often being used as an excuse to reduce social protection, to reduce not only wages but also the programs that have helped to protect those who might otherwise lose from this integration." The panel also featured George Soros (Open Society Institute), Nancy Birdsall (Center for Global Development), and Tina Rosenberg (The New York Times).

Croatia and Euro-Atlantic Integration in Southeastern Europe, Sept. 20
Dr. Ivo Sanader, prime minister of the Republic of Croatia, shared with the Columbia audience his views on Croatia’s integration in Southeastern Europe. "Croatia is on the way to normalizing its life as well as its society and relationships with its neighbors," he said, adding that in the decade since the "terrible war [in the Balkans] ended, we have shown that everything is possible." The event was sponsored in conjunction with Columbia University’s Harriman Institute.

Planned Reforms for Bolivia, Sept. 21
The first indigenous head of state elected in modern times in South America and a former coca-growers union leader, President Evo Morales of Bolivia provided an overview of planned reforms designed to create greater social equality. "An economic model oriented fundamentally toward concentrating wealth in the hands of the few is not going to work in our country ... [but] we have always respected economic diversity in our country," Morales said. The talk was preceded by a performance by the SilverCloud Singers, an intertribal Native American singing and dance troupe.

Is Economic Development Compatible with Ecological Preservation?, Sept. 21
Sir Michael Somare, prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Robert G. Aisi, ambassador of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations and Don Jay Melnick, Executive Director, The Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) drew upon the experience of Papua New Guinea to discern how nations can incorporate ecological preservation within their long-term economic development strategies. Prime Minister Somare noted "Papua New Guinea is the world's third-largest rain forest ... with 832 living languages and 1,000 dialects .... While we have been endowed with breathtaking natural beauty and biodiversity, such gifts carry unique challenges."

Deepening ASEAN-US Relations and ASEAN Integration, Sept. 21
H.E. Ong Keng Yong, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), led a frank discussion in conjunction with Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asian Institute. The event highlighted recent trends and development within ASEAN, US-ASEAN relations, free trade agreements, the emergence of China, the rising price of oil and the impact of global terrorism. The secretary-general noted the prospect for better relations between ASEAN and the United States, saying, "We know that US military and strategic interests in the region will always be there, and ASEAN will try its very best to handle any challenges in this direction."

Security in the 21st Century, Sept. 26
A distinguished group of women world leaders from Ireland, Nigeria, Canada, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Honduras considered how policies emphasizing individual human security must be integrated with more traditional approaches to state security. Among the panelists were Mary Robinson, former U.N. high commissioner for human rights, former president of Ireland, and Columbia University professor in the professional practice of public affairs, and Kim Campbell, former prime minister and minister of defense of Canada. Participants shared plans to cooperate across cultures, regions, religions, generations, forms of governments, and the public and private sectors to advocate for policy changes.

The World Leaders Forum continues through the academic year. To receive information about upcoming and newsworthy events, e-mail: pubaffairs@columbia.edu. To arrange an interview with an expert from Columbia's World Leaders Forum Experts Bureau, please contact one of the individuals noted at the top of this release.

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Published: Oct 06, 2006
Last modified: Nov 14, 2007