Monday 23 October, 1700 – 1800

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Session Report

The panel discussed the topic raised by the day’s previous sessions, and where the main turning points for global order were emerging.

In looking at the approach of the United States under the Trump administration, it was pointed out that in some regions, like the Middle East, Trump’s more transactional approach was received as more honest than the Obama administration and previous presidencies, whose words were often not backed up by action.

It was broadly agreed that the US stays relevant because of its security contribution, but in economic terms, the contrast is with China, which is felt to have less of an interest in trying to export its way of life. As some of the economic anxiety in Western countries can be drawn to the rise of China and other newly industrialized countries, the relationship and interplay between China and the US is inescapable.

There was some discussion over the future viability of the nation-state, but many of the talks throughout the day seemed to reveal the enduring resilience of the nation-state – Iraq was a prominent example, where state collapse has been predicted often but has not come to pass.

Discussion of the Middle East also highlighted the contest of ideas taking place in the region beyond the military contest against ISIS.

Finally, technology – and the difficulty of predicting its societal effects – was a major theme. Most acknowledged technological changes as one of the most important factors shaping the future of the world – but knowing how that will manifest is much less clear.

Speakers

Mina Al-Oraibi

Mina Al-Oraibi

Editor in Chief, The National

Summary

Mina Al-Oraibi is Editor-in-Chief of The National, a daily English-language regional newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. Previously she was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE) and a Yale World Fellow. At ISE she worked on developing policy recommendations for improved governance in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a focus on Iraq and Syria. Before that she was Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Alawsat, the international Arab-language daily newspaper, from 2011 to 2015, having served previously as the Washington Bureau Chief for the newspaper. She has written extensively on US and European policies in the Middle East and is a frequent guest on television and radio news programmes, including on the BBC. She is a Special Advisor to the Global Dignity Day Movement and a member of the Global Future Council on Regional Governance and the International Media Council. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009. She has a BA (Hons) and an MA in Modern History from University College London.
Alexei Chekunkov

Alexei Chekunkov

Chief Executive Officer, Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund

Summary

Alexei Chekunkov was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund by the Supervisory Board of Vnesheconombank, chaired by the Prime Minister of Russia, in September 2014. He is also a member of the State Commission for the Development of the Far East and Baikal Region. From 2011 to 2013 he served as a Director and Member of the Management Board and Investment Committee at the Russian Direct Investment Fund, where he was responsible for investments in the healthcare, energy and natural resources sectors, and for establishing the $2 billion Russia–China Investment Fund with the China Investment Corporation. From 2001 to 2011 he worked in the private equity sector in Russia, managing investments for international and Russian sponsors across a broad range of sectors. He graduated in International Economics from Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Joseph Liow

Joseph Chin Yong Liow

Dean and Professor of Comparative and International Politics, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

Summary

Joseph Liow is Dean and Professor of Comparative and International Politics at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He held the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, where he was also a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program. He is the author, co-author or editor of 14 books, most recently Ambivalent Engagement: The United States and Regional Security in Southeast Asia after the Cold War (2017) and Religion and Nationalism in Southeast Asia (2016), and his commentaries on international affairs have appeared in many publications including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and National Interest. He sits on the board of several peer-reviewed academic and policy journals and the expert panel of the Social Science Research Council (Singapore), and is Singapore’s representative on the advisory board of the ASEAN Institute of Peace and Reconciliation formed under the auspices of the ASEAN Charter. He holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, an MSc in Strategic Studies from the Nanyang Technological University and a PhD in International Relations from the LSE.
Pawel Świeboda

Pawel Świeboda

Deputy Head of the European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission

Summary

Pawel Świeboda is Deputy Head of the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), the in-house think-tank of the European Commission. Prior to joining the EPSC, he was President of demosEUROPA – Centre for European Strategy, an EU policy think-tank based in Warsaw, from 2006 to 2015. Before that he was Director of the EU Department at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2006 and EU Advisor to the President of Poland from 1996 to 2000. He is a member of the Strategic Council of the European Policy Centre and a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and from 2013 to 2014 he was Rapporteur of the Review of European Innovation Partnerships. He has a BSc in Economics from the LSE and an MA in International Relations from the University of London.

Key Quotes

‘No one has the secret formula or the monopoly over the model [of governance] that is foolproof. We have seen in recent years the very fundamental problems with the Western model… On the other hand, you have Asian societies with other models, who would be well advised not to gloat, because every model will have a particular context and particular weak spots. The trick for governance is to identify and deal with those weak spots before they become big problems.’
Joseph Chin Yong Liow

‘In spite of this very grand rhetoric about One Belt, One Road, there is no master plan somewhere. It’s more an ideology, and it’s going to be a learning curve for China on how they apply that.’
Alexei Chekunkov

‘Iraq for the longest time has just been waiting for aid. Now the conversation is changing to trade… The more we have trade, the more you will see Iraq strengthen.’
Mina Al-Oraibi

‘Our future prosperity entirely depends on our embrace on technology. China invests massively in AI, it leads in the production of electric vehicles, China has strength in solar panels… this is where we feel the competitive pressure [in Europe]. Which is good because we need to up our game in many ways.’
Pawel Świeboda

‘Globalization and international trade creates wealth. It does not promise to distribute that wealth and it should not be expected to. Distribution of wealth is a governance and policy issue. We shouldn’t confuse the two. The sooner the Trump administration learns that, the better for them.’
Joseph Chin Yong Liow

‘I think we have a choice between a society that celebrates diversity and has a certain code of conduct, and a polarized society. The jury is out which model will prevail… but this is the choice that needs to be made.’
Pawel Świeboda

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