Seventh annual Marshall Forum on Transatlantic Affairs held
The seventh annual Marshall Forum on Transatlantic Affairs in the United States was held September 28-30, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. A signature event of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) program, it brought together over 90 political, business, media, and community leaders from the United States and Europe to discuss the transatlantic relationship in a global context. GMF established the gathering in 2001 as a venue for MMF alumni to exchange ideas and learn about new policy initiatives in an informal atmosphere.
Like its European counterpart that was held in Elmau, Germany in June 2007, the U.S. conference again focused on recurring themes in the transatlantic relationship as we find ourselves in a more global world. Panel sessions focused on global health, immigration and refugee issues, global business, civil rights, U.S. and European voting systems and the 2008 presidential election, Turkey at a crossroads, Transatlantic Trends, and climate change. In honor of the MMF program's 25th anniversary, a special session was held to hear experiences and impressions from former fellows and GMF announced again as it had done in Elmau the creation of the MMF Legacy Fund which is intended to provide sustaining support of the fellowship program.
Among the speakers over the weekend were Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders; Vice President and Director of Marketing Services for The Coca-Cola Company, Jackson Kelly; Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton and former Director of the CIA, Jim Woolsey; German Ambassador to the United States, Klaus Scharioth; Strategic and Environmental Manager for the Municipality of Tatabayna in Hungary, Dr. Barbara Botos (MMF 2007); and Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Michael Webber (MMF 2007).
Other highlights from the conference included a neighborhood Porch Party in Inman Park honoring Atlanta City Councilman and MMF alumni Kwanza Hall and a private tour of CNN hosted by MMF alumnas Cory Charles and Joy DiBenedetto.
A special thanks goes to the Atlanta-based MMFs: Sanjay Parekh, Joy DiBenedetto, Scott Holcomb, Jeff Hancock, and Cory Charles for their support and organization of the conference. "The efforts of our Atlanta-based alumni reminded me of what GMF's networks are capable of, if properly activated," said Neil Sumilas, senior program officer of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. "We look forward to next year's event which will be hosted by the MMF alumni of the City of Los Angeles."