Newsletter

December 2016

By Gabriella Ippolito

On December 4, 2016, Austria and Italy each held electoral exercises which had strikingly different outcomes and were seen as gauges of the strength of Europe’s populist and far right political parties.


December 2016
 

When it comes to its vast natural resources, the African continent and its people have experienced a long and tragic history of exploitation. While changes and improvements have occurred in recent years, this immoral and unsustainable imbalance often continues to play out today.


December 2016

 

By Karen Tramontano

 

“I appreciate the Trustees of the Global Fairness Award for recognizing a lifetime devoted to development...Let 2017 be a year of continued fight for fairness for the most vulnerable among us, and those left behind in this world.”

 -Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, accepting the 2016 Fairness Award.


November 2016

By Sarah Tralins

For over a decade, Brazil’s popular politician and former president Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva has led the Workers Party (PT) to electoral success and implemented of a far-reaching social agenda aimed at reducing poverty while increasing spending on education and healthcare. However, this October, Brazilian voters dealt a sweeping rejection to the country’s former ruling party in municipals elections across the country.

The PT’s losses reflect widespread mistrust of the PT party and of the country’s political system. The deep economic crisis, the impeachment of Lula’s successor President Dilma Rousseff for alleged budget violations, and the ongoing Lava Jato (‘Carwash’) corruption probe that led to investigations of over 40 politicians, including Lula himself, have contributed significantly to this splintered environment.


November 2016

By Gabriella Ippolito

For the final state visit of his presidency, U.S. President Obama hosted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on October 18th at the White House. Among the glittering number of attendees and a fabulous menu planned by celebrity Chef Mario Batali, President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi made formal remarks, expressing the two countries’ long-standing friendship and alliance in NATO.

President Obama also voiced support for the prime minister in his current referendum battle in Italy saying, “The upcoming referendum to modernize Italy’s political institutions is something the United States strongly supports because we believe that it will help accelerate Italy’s path towards a more vibrant, dynamic economy, as well as a more responsive political system.”


November 2016

By Sally Painter

International conferences can often bring together like-minds for conversations that resemble echo chambers where participants hear much of what they already know or believe.

The 12th annual Baltic Forum hosted in Latvia, which I had the opportunity to participate in this October, aims to bridge that divide by bringing together a diverse group of participants and panelists who might otherwise not have the opportunity to learn from one another.


October 2016

By Karen Tramontano

 

This September, Sally and I had the honor and pleasure of attending the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting in New York City. After over a decade of supporting its mission, many have used this milestone to reflect on its incredible legacy, which truly has changed both “the conduct and the impact of modern philanthropy,” as President Clinton acknowledged in his closing address.

As the president spoke, I agreed with his recollection that none of us who were there at the initiative’s early beginnings could have imagined the trajectory this journey would eventually take. The final tally counts over 3,600 commitments that are improving more than 435 million lives across more than 180 countries. These numbers are truly amazing.


October 2016

By Sean Keeley 

At a time when European solidarity is facing challenges both internal (e.g., Brexit) and external (e.g. the refugee crisis), the future of the European Union has never appeared so uncertain. While there is no shortage of European leaders who are committed to a strong EU and want to see it succeed, too often this message has failed to connect with Euroskeptic citizens.

This October marks the 80th anniversary of the birth of former Czech president Vaclav Havel, a visionary European leader whose steady leadership guided his country through a period of immense change. Yet in 2016, when a proliferation of crises threatens the credibility and durability of the European project, the question remains: who will take up Havel’s mantle and guide Europe to a more prosperous future?  


October 2016

In September, heads of state and leaders from around the world came together for the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, intent on addressing an impressive agenda of international concerns. The body is also set to elect its next Secretary General from among a diverse slate of potential candidates

Concerns for the basic human rights of workers and inclusive economic growth for societies around the world were high on the agenda at this year’s gathering. The International Labour Organization (ILO) – together with the Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – announced the launch of a new partnership, The Global Deal Initiative, aimed at addressing challenges in the global labor market and enabling more of the world’s population to benefit from the advances brought by globalization.


July 2016

At July’s NATO summit in Warsaw, much attention was given to the Alliance’s vulnerable eastern flank. For example, President Obama announced the deployment of an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be sending an additional 450 troops and armored vehicles to Latvia, as part of a multinational battalion to reassure Eastern Europe. While these new deployments signal a welcome commitment to bolster the alliance in the east, NATO’s southern flank received less attention.


July 2016

In 2017, Ecuador will elect a new president and vice-president and every seat (137) in the National Assembly is up for reelection.   While current president Rafael Correa (Alianza Pais party) initially seemed interested in seeking a third term (he took office in 2007) he has since announced that he will not seek reelection nor push through the constitutional change that would remove presidential term limits.  Though Correa has made recent statements indicating that he may still seek reelection many discount his intentions and say that he is trying to avoid a lame duck presidency. With his current popularity hovering around 30 percent (down from a high of 81 percent when he was first elected), he would not want to jeopardize his legacy by losing an election.  


July 2016

After the narrow victory of the Leave campaign in June’s Brexit referendum, it is only a matter of time before the UK officially leaves the European Union. There are, however, ways to soften the blow that Brexit is expected to cause once the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 – the clause that allows an EU nation to sever its EU membership.