6th Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit, October 20, 2017

Advancing National Interests in a Globalized Society

Meridian Global Leadership Summit 2017 Program
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Friday, October 20

Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center Washington, DC

A premise exists in the United States and around the world that there is a binary choice between globalization and nationalism, and that our nation must choose one path or the other. A reluctance to acknowledge the economic stagnation of a large segment of the American population and a failure to articulate the benefits of global alliances has forged the country down a divergent road. This need not be the case. U.S. businesses, governments and civil society possess the resilience and ingenuity to adapt to evolving economic and societal landscapes. Likewise, American principles remain valued and sought after on a world stage. Through collaboration among these sectors, the United States can and should continue to serve as a global leader, while concurrently elevating the security and economic prosperity of all Americans from the country’s heartland to her coastlines.

The 6th Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit, gathered an international audience of over 150 business executives, foreign ambassadors, government officials and civil society pioneers to explore the importance of international engagement and how the United States can more effectively utilize its global leadership position to benefit the entire nation. Setting the framework for the morning dialogue, Meridian’s CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, elevated the idea of sovereignty and offered a definition particular to America’s role in the world today. He posited that the U.S. is stronger at home when globally engaged, as it sets the tone for collaboration and consensus building across nations in order to build a more secure and prosperous world for all people.

This statement resonated with Ambassadors Gerónimo Gutiérrez (Mexico) and Kirsti Kauppi (Finland) who spoke about the compatibility of patriotism and internationalism with moderator Michelle Kosinski, CNN’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent. Ambassador Gutiérrez emphasized that a strong and successful U.S. is important to Mexico as much as a strong and successful Mexico is to the U.S. He specifically offered the daily engagement of Mexico and the U.S. on border issues while highlighting the importance of reframing national security as global security given the interdependence of the bordering nations. Ambassador Kauppi expressed that Finland has gained influence globally by pooling sovereignty in the European Union. Shifting to a domestic perspective, Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Ed Royce (R-CA) expressed concerns about America’s retreat toward nationalism when it comes to global economic participation. They highlighted the U.S. government’s isolationist positions on economic and trade policies like NAFTA, the Iran Deal and the Paris Agreement as opportunities for the American business community to reassert the nation’s leadership in the global economy.

Examining these sentiments on an individual level, Gallup’s Managing Partner Jon Clifton unveiled key findings from the firm’s latest report, “What Happiness Today Tells Us About the World Tomorrow.” The study correlates people’s happiness and perceived quality of life with voting patterns during times of unrest, like Brexit and the Arab Spring. Based on report findings, Clifton’s take-home message for leaders of democracies was to examine how citizens feel before implementing public policies. This focus on the role of the individual in larger policy outcomes also manifested in dialogue with Josh Kallmer (Information Technology Industry Council), Ronald Smalley (First Data) and Frances Townsend (MacAndrews & Forbes) who explored the intersection of cyber and tech with U.S. News & World Report’s Brian Kelly. They noted that while cybersecurity is a bipartisan issue, the challenges associated with government regulation could present opportunities for business solutions that incentivize best practices, such as increasing the security controls of small business owners and everyday consumers.

Extrapolating back to the global picture, Bayer’s British-born CEO Philip Blake shared his views on international business cooperation, using the German-based pharmaceutical company that he runs as a case study. Bayer’s business strategy hinges on partnerships with countries and companies that share its value of innovation to address agricultural issues both domestically and internationally. With its largest percentage of investments in American startups, Bayer believes the U.S. defines global economic leadership and will continue to set the agenda for the development of clean water and sustainable agriculture in order to eradicate global hunger and achieve world peace. Chiming in with an American perspective, David Rubenstein and Glenn Youngkin, co-CEOs of The Carlyle Group – arguably the world’s largest private-equity firm – offered that for businesses to successfully grow in international markets, they must invest in communities and cultures. With the majority of growth opportunities overseas, Rubenstein emphasized the need for American businesses to localize their products and services in order to stay relevant and thrive in the global economy.

Overall, the Summit unveiled that America does not have to choose between globalization and advancing domestic interests, as the two work in tandem to elevate the United States as team player on the international court who leads with a patriotic fervor that any other nation would.

For sponsorship opportunities or for more information on Meridian’s annual Global Leadership Summit, please contact: Frank Justice, Vice President of Convening, at forums@meridian.org or (202) 939-5583.


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Summit Agenda

Welcome and Introductory Remarks Watch Now

What Happiness Today Tells Us About The World Tomorrow Watch Now

Balancing Domestic and International Priorities: a Global Perspective Watch Now

Balancing Domestic and International Priorities: a U.S. Perspective Watch Now

Maintaining Tech Advantage in an Age of Increasing Cyber Opportunities and Threats Watch Now

  • Josh Kallmer , Senior Vice President of Global Policy, Information Technology Industry Council
  • Ronald Smalley, Vice President of Cyber Security Operations & Investigations, First Data
  • Frances Townsend, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Government, Legal, and Business Affairs, MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated
  • Moderated by: Brian Kelly, Editor and Chief Content Officer, U.S. News & World Report

CEO Spotlight Watch Now

Business Leadership Conversation Watch Now

  • David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group
  • Glenn Youngkin, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Carlyle Group

Message from Speaker Paul Ryan Watch Now


Closing Remarks

Summit Speakers

Summit Partners

Albright Stonebridge Group
Capital One
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

Project Timeline

Project summary