The G7 summit in Germany this year will again convene in the shadow of the war in Ukraine—a war in Europe that is intractable and a vexing problem for German leadership, which will undoubtedly be center stage at the summit. Russia, the country unceremoniously booted from the G8 for its annexation of Crimea, appears undeterred by the West, while Germany’s European neighbors quietly descend into fear. European nations, long accustomed to living in peace, without even the semblance of a territorial threat, have begun to actively plan for such contingencies. They are not doing this under German leadership or NATO leadership, but individually. The G7 is hardly the ideal forum to tackle this problem, but as a spotlight on German leadership in 2015, it will be hard to not notice the one area where it has not produced successful results, in addressing Russia’s war in Ukraine and convincing Europeans to stick together behind a common approach to this conflict.
For the next six months (May 1 to October 15, 2015), the world will be focused on a very important topic: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” This is the theme of Expo Milano 2015 (also known as the “World’s Fair”), which is taking place in Milan, Italy, and will be the world’s largest, most historical gathering on food. More than twenty million visitors will visit Expo and hundreds of millions more will be involved in food-related in-person and virtual conversations around the world. This will be an important time for each of us–including children, parents, and teachers, as well as world leaders and influential stakeholders–to share our expertise and points-of-view as we come together to listen, learn, grow, and develop important solutions.
We are living in a new era of development. There is growing recognition and proof that to make progress on global problems we need the ideas, expertise, and resources of every sector. Collaboration has been, and will continue to be, key to success in addressing some of the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.
Epameinondas Gousopoulos is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, currently serving as Curator of the Zurich Hub. His passion is achieving impactful changes that drive the community and humanity forward. His commitment, emotional leadership, and strong communication skills constitute his main characteristics.
June marked the Seventh Conference of the State Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with over a thousand disability rights advocates and senior government representatives convening at the United Nations to discuss the further implementation of the CRPD and the future of the disability rights advocacy movement. The CRPD, hailed as the first human rights convention of the 21st century, was drafted in 2006, and to date has been ratified by 147 nations. This was the first convention signed by the Obama administration in early 2009. The CRPD was designed to transform the worldview of persons with disabilities from objects of charity to individuals who are capable of claiming their rights and acting as functioning members of society. Created in partnership with persons with disabilities, the CRPD is a force for change around the world.
The internet was an experiment that got loose, Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and one of the “Fathers of the Internet”, told comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert in July. He said, “There are about 3 billion people online now. Every time they come up with new ways of using the internet, we all learn something from that.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ihor Prokopchuk, announced mid-day on Thursday that Ukrainian forces had “registered a direct invasion by the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine.” Three hours after this announcement, as Ukraine claimed large scale movement by Russian infantry and mechanized divisions, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was convened to hold an emergency meeting on the Ukraine crisis.
During the first week of August, leaders from 50 African states met in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Realizing the potential profitability of investment and multilateral trade relationships with Africa, countries outside of the continent, including and especially China, are increasingly competing for a piece of the pie.
Thursday, July 24th marks 100 days since over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria by extremist group Boko Haram. Since April 15th, nearly 60 girls have managed to escape their captivity, but efforts to recover the girls have been slow and bungled by a lethargic response from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.
There is an undercurrent in the story of the BRICS in the cultural and political backdrop to international relations that runs deeper than the who-is-up-who-is-down tale of what were once called “emerging markets.” Like all economies, they are up one day, down the next. There is more at stake in these countries than the strength of their markets; the countries’ collective psychology, “national will,” perception, including the self-perception, of social success all contribute to the cultural and political backdrop the BRICS are faced with.
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