From candid conversations on the need for increased funding for diplomacy and development to timely discussions on access to education for Syrian youth and the need for global businesses to embrace cultural nuances, the 4th Annual Global Leadership Summit offered international decision-makers and thought-leaders with a fast-paced morning of substance and dialogue. An audience of approximately 200 business executives, foreign ambassadors, government officials and civil society trailblazers convened at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on October 16 to explore why foreign policy matters through political, economic, business and cultural lenses.
Gallup Global Analytics Managing Director Jon Clifton kicked things off with the release of the firm’s new “good jobs” metric, which aims to provide a better definition and a more positive measurement on the global workforce than those conveyed by unemployment rates. This set the stage for a conversation with leadership from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel. The Congressmen addressed why foreign policy is and should continue to be should be and is important to Americans from both security and humanitarian perspectives. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), and China’s economic growth – or lack thereof – were among the areas analyzed during a fascinating conversation between Financial Times World Trade Editor Shawn Donnan and Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who is currently Chair at Albright Stonebridge Group and the Chairman of Meridian’s Board of Trustees.
Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Chairman and CEO Miles Young joined with Warner Bros. Executive Vice President Dee Dee Myers to showcase the power of culture in business. Mr. Young detailed how his international advertising and marketing firm embraces the culture of the 183 cities in which they work by striving to be “most local of the multi-national businesses and the most multi-national of the local companies,” while Ms. Myers shared Warner Bros. realization that 60% of their audience is now global and that they are now aiming to create films for this global audience.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken challenged the leaders in attendance to acknowledge and confront the access to education issue for the more than two million children who are out of school in Syria and the 700,000 Syrian youth refugees living in camps and communities without schools in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other countries.
The morning of dialogue culminated in a global leadership spotlight where Meridian President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday discussed the international business landscape and global priorities with the new President and COO of one of the biggest brands in the world. The Coca-Cola Company’s James Quincy underscored the need for business and government to form partnerships and pursue policies that drive innovation and spur growth. This is something that Meridian pursues on a daily basis through our international exchanges and cultural programs. Overall, the program provided much food for thought for global leaders from both the public and private sectors.