|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by UN Office for Partnerships on Blouin Creative Leadership
Summit on Building a Globalization Platform
At a headquarters press conference today, United Nations Office for Partnerships Executive Director Amir Dossal said that each year since 2005 the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit provided a platform for innovators, experts, and Nobel laureates to find new ways of addressing the Millennium Development Goals.
Introducing summit founder Louise Blouin, Mr. Dossal said that the Millennium Development Goals belonged to all – to the world at large – and not just to Governments and the United Nations.
The summit, set to take place in New York City from 22 to 23 September, aimed to engage its participants in a dialogue to look at the impact of globalization within the frameworks of food sources and commodity issues, health issues, and business regulations, among others, Ms. Blouin said. In coordination with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the summit would address the most critical issues of the twenty-first century surrounding economic recovery, global governance, environmental reform, foreign policy, poverty, development and technology, as well as their impacting consequences beyond borders.
Cultural respect was at the forefront of sending health and financial aid to countries in need, she said. “The Goals are complex, and touch a lot of people in different ways. Trying to make things simple when there is so much complexity is always a challenge.”
Understanding culture, stressed Ms. Blouin, was an important component in international problem solving. The international community could not send aid to Africa or other places in need if it did not simultaneously engage with the local culture and traditions, otherwise recipients would not effectively use what was given. “One cannot understand foreign policy without respecting the culture.”
While culture had many meanings, she said that its core meanings in this context were about tradition, soul, and what was important inside each individual. Culture was not just about where a group was today, but where its members had been and where they were going.
Another main goal of the summit was to look at the long-term effects of world problems, such as dwindling oil reserves and unsustainable food supplies. Instead of simply focusing on today, participants would envision what the world would look like in 15 to 20 years if a variety of action plans were followed – or not.
“What will happen if we do not feed certain parts of the world?” Ms. Blouin asked. “These food shortages engage violence on a local level, which in turn brings military action, then corruption, and then military action from other countries.”
In this way, she added, little problems would grow bigger and bigger every day. Food-related problems might have at their root issues of trade and efficiency, and solutions would involve technology, education, trade and cultural understanding. As another example, issues in the Middle East were not just about the Middle East, but were instead world issues, and must be addressed through cultural diplomacy.
Not only innovators, but countries also had much to learn from each other as well, Ms. Blouin said. Assessing and improving the well-being of a region, for example, a variety of factors should be incorporated, she said, pointing to Bhutan’s “Happiness Index”. “It’s not just about money.”
She went on to say that the summit would be engaging more and more with Mr. Dossal and the United Nations Office for Partnerships. When bringing partners together, she said, it was important that each party bring something tangible to the table. This year’s summit would be attended by President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Sukhbaataryn of Mongolia, media leader Arianna Huffington and many others.
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