10th Marshall Forum addresses globalization
From October 23-25, 2008, 200 alumni of GMF's Marshall Memorial Fellowship program convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the 10th annual Marshall Forum on Transatlantic Affairs. Entitled "Who is in Control of Globalization? Transatlantic Dialogues on New Policy Initiatives," the three-day gathering also hosted grantees, partners, and GMF fellows to discuss the transatlantic relationship in a global context.
In a dynamic keynote speech, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, the former Danish foreign minister, addressed the twin challenges of international security and finance. "The global balance of power is changing," he said. "American global influence has already diminished -- and Europe has no military clout and is weakened by demographic decline as well as Europe's own inability to act in unison.
"We have to get away from European ideas about developing our Union as a 'counterweight' to the U.S. And this might make it easier for the next American administration to regard Europe as the best partner in a rapidly changing world."
Other speakers included Jesper Møller, CEO, Toms Confectionery Group & Chairman, Confederation of Danish Industry, and Steven Fries, Chief Economist, Royal Dutch Shell (scenario presentation available here), who set the tone for in-depth conversations throughout the conference. Connie Hedegaard, Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, opened the Saturday sessions on global climate challenges with a keynote speech, causing one participant to remark, "Hearing Connie [Hedegaard's] speech was great. She is the kind of person we need to bring the climate negotiations forward."
In small discussion groups, night-owls, and site visits, participants discussed the current financial crisis, the upcoming U.S. presidential election, the political participation of ethnic and religious minorities, the geo-strategic role of Wider Europe, developments in urban policies, reactions to the rise of Asian countries, the status of the international climate negotiations, and the relationship between energy and security, among other topics. In one breakout session Joe Quinlan, GMF Transatlantic Fellow and Chief Market Strategist for Bank of America Capital Management, gave his analysis of the causes of the financial crisis, prompting one participant to urge the formation of "an independent group of analysts that could offer recommendations to policymakers for a way forward."
GMF chose Copenhagen as the host city in recognition of Denmark's role as a transatlantic and global player. It was a founding member of the Atlantic community in 1949, provides a high amount of development aid, participates in solving security problems -- such as Afghanistan -- and will host the 2009 summit on climate change. It also was chosen because of the ongoing partnership between GMF and Denmark on various policy issues -- trade, the Balkans, and the environment -- and because of the strong network of Danish alumni of GMF's Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. Denmark was one of the first participating countries in the program.
Participants networked throughout the weekend and developed opportunities for future collaboration. Planning for Marshall Forum 2009 are already underway and will once again work to promote greater cooperation and understanding between the United States and Europe among a group of young transatlantic leaders.