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Informal Global Governance Meetings - An Exploration

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posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:18 PM
In the book "Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making", David Rothkopf (these days the CEO and editor of the FP Group) writes the following things:

The should be acknowledged, however, that the meeting of minds of superclass members goes beyond agenda-setting to effective decision making. This is particularly true where the gaps left by weak and dysfunctional international institutions, or by the absence of legal jurisdiction or enforcement mechanisms create a void to be filled.
Long accustomed to dismissing as an impossible and perhaps even dangerous fantasy the idea of global government but recognizing the need to better manage global issues, many have focused on the idea of global governance as an alternative. Typically this substitution of a few letters is a kind of code that means fulfilling government roles with mechanisms that either lack the full traditional power, authority, or mandates of governments, or with hybrids that involve both governments and other actors such as the private sector or NGOs, or some combination of all these.
The notion of such hybrid networks of institutions and actors is a promising one, and it is a central concept in the evolving public debate on these issues. It is linked to views such as those in the dean of of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School Anne-Marie Slaughter's A New World Order, which explores how we can make more effective use of international networks of government agencies and officials. It also echoes views that are increasingly acceptable to the international community of businesses as well--because the investment in hybrid networks emulates the way international business strategic alliances regularly work today. Some speculate that this approach will win support from the private sector to help bring order to the potential chaos of the unregulated global marketplace. Richard Darman speculates that "we will reach a stage where companies, facing a choice between multiple regulating authorities worldwide that are not in coordination and a more coordinated regulatory arrangement, will themselves become a force for the very institutional developments they say they currently oppose ... It is going to be a series of ad hoc connections, topic area by topic area ... that will develop that way first exactly because nation-states do not want to see sovereignty threatened? Probably yes. Is there a stage at which some global authority starts to have serious taxing power, which will be, in fact, a precondition to having some fundamental change in political and governing power worldwide? I don not expect that in my lifetime."

The World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, which meets every year, is one of these. Yet there are many others that go unnoticed, unignored, or so on. Last month we had the Munich Security Forum, for instance.

In this thread, which I'll probably update infrequently, I'll try to explore some of these various hybrid networks/meetings and write about them for the general consumption.

posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:22 PM
Körber Foundation

Created by German businessman Kurt A. Körber, founder of the German manufacturing company Körber AG, the foundation is describes itself as "a forum for initiative. It promotes and supports people who are not content with merely keeping the status quo. It focuses on exchange and dialogue, the power of sound arguments and willingness to communicate. By recognising role models, by identifying good examples and by developing paradigms it provides stimuli not only for ideas, but also for actions."

The Wikipedia page is a bit more helpful, describing it as "a platform to discuss present political topics and develops operational projects on social and political issues. Its agenda is focused on key areas of European foreign policy in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS. The foundation pursues this agenda with four discussion fora: Bergedorf Round Table, Körber Dialogue Middle East, Political Breakfasts, and Körber Network Foreign Policy."

Only two events the foundation hosts, however, should be kept an eye on.

The first is the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, which usually meets in November, is described as a place that "gives an international group of 200 eminent politicians, government representatives, experts and journalists the opportunity to discuss some of the central German and European foreign policy issues." It is, by most standards, relatively well documented and covered.

The second is the Bergedorf Round Table, which is described by former German Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker as "a training camp for all who are prepared to cross the boundaries of their own discipline, political party and interests in order to learn by confronting the different experiences and perspectives of others". Compared to the Foreign Policy Forum though, the various 160 Round Table meetings thus far are much less well documented. Given that more than 2,000 VIPs have attended one of these meetings, including the Pope John Paul II and Vladimir Putin, this is something that should attract attention. The Wikipedia page describes these as follows:

Except for short statements to kick-off the discussion, participants do not report prepared speeches, but intervene spontaneously. The discussions take place at venues where the topic under discussion is immediate and tangible. Participants come from Germany, other member states of the EU, from the US and from the region which is concerned. Following the conference a summary is sent to the participants and foreign policy-makers. Every Bergedorf Round Table is published as a protocol in German and English. To ensure confidentiality, the participants edit their contributions before publication.

These are then more along the lines of the ad hoc meetings that Richard Darman described, meeting on a topic-by-topic basis to describe pressing issues and (potentially) come up with viable solutions or ideas on how to proceed forward. Given that we don't know what they talk about, or even how often these round tables are held, it's a mystery to us.

...well, most of us at any rate. I happen to have a number of little birdies that whisper things to me. Occasionally, they bring me little tidbits of information. Useful little details, though often with some segments redacted or covered up to help protect their own interests. In any case, one of these has to do with the topic at hand.

As such, I present to you all, a preliminary agenda for the 161st Bergedorf Round Table, to be held in Berlin in less than a week:

Food for thought, hmmm?~

posted on Mar, 7 2016 @ 07:12 AM
Dialog Retreat

There little is known or available about the Dialog Retreat meetings. In fact, there is barely anything public on it all. The official website has nothing but a password protected login screen. The closest we can get to a public description is a blog post from Steven Hsu, a startup founder who has attended one of these retreats:

Dialog is an biannual 2-day thought retreat, gathering 150 global leaders to discuss how to change the world. Dialog was created in 2006 to bring together global leaders across industries to discuss some of the most pressing world issues, to provide an opportunity for cross-pollination & collaboration.

There are no speakers. No panels. All attendees participate in break-out facilitated discussions. And we limit the discussion to only 150 global leaders who can have an impact now and emerging leaders who can help implement the plans we develop.

There are no speeches, just many coordinated, moderated break-out discussions of 6-15 people. The agenda is determined by the attendees directly, based on their interests and needs.

Dialog is an invite-only retreat and we carefully curate all participants. Dialog is 100% off-the-record and not-for-attribution. Dialog is hosted by Auren Hoffman and Peter Thiel.

Other than that, the most notable reference one can find is a mention in a Politico article from last year about U.S. Senator Rand Paul:

At times, Paul has simply seemed uninterested in playing the donor game. Earlier this year, the senator had agreed to speak at the Dialog Retreat, a gathering hosted by Auren Hoffman, a prominent investor with deep ties in the well-heeled Silicon Valley world. But just before he was to appear at Hoffman’s, Paul pulled out so that he could take his family on a spring-break excursion to Florida. Paul’s aides were aghast, realizing they’d missed an opportunity to cultivate the very type of donors likely to be receptive to his small-government philosophy.

Even my little birdies tell me little: that the last meeting was held somewhere in the Balkans sometime late last year, and that the next meeting will occur somewhere in the Southwestern United States sometime this month.


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