In the recent Women’s World Cup the US Women’s Soccer Team won a dramatic 5-2 victory over Japan.   The game drew record-breaking viewership, not only in terms of women’s sports, but in terms of men’s – with 25.4 million viewers.  In other words, more people watched Women’s final in the US than watched the Stanley Cup Finals and Game Six of the NBA Finals. 

Following the victory another interesting piece of data emerged; the US Women were paid $2 million each for winning.  Compare this with the winners of the most recent Men’s World Cup, Germany, who took home $35 million each, and the US Men who received $8 million for reaching the round of 16. 

By James LeGrice of Insight Public Affairs

 David Cameron is about to embark on what will likely be the greatest challenge of his premiership. This Thursday at a summit in Brussels, he will formerly outline to European leaders his demands for a reformed European Union. He hopes that by securing these reforms, Britons will vote to remain in the EU when given the option in a referendum that could take place next year. However, Mr. Cameron’s demands present considerable obstacles in the form of EU treaty changes and the prevailing attitudes of prominent European leaders. Even if all runs according to plan, Britain’s “Europe” question could still remain unanswered after the referendum’s results are counted.

Earlier this month almost 39 million Mexicans (47% of the population) voted in a mid-term election which was widely perceived as a referendum of President Peña Nieto’s mandate thus far.  All 500 members of the lower house in Congress, nine governors, and numerous mayors and state legislatures were up for election.  Though the formal distribution of seats is expected at the end of this month, the majority of the results are available.  President Enrique Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), was able to maintain its majority in the lower house and gained nine seats (260/500 seats).  The PRI’s alliances with the Green Party and the New Alliance Party are partially responsible for this win which surprised some analysts because the President’s popularity is currently at an all-time low.   

This year’s Wroclaw Global Forum brought together policy makers and business leaders from Europe and the United States to discuss, Shaping the Policy and Business Agenda for a New Europe. During the three-day event, many of the speakers focused on challenges to Europe’s security including ISIS, the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean, and Russian aggression. Leaders from both sides of the Atlantic acknowledged that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is best situated to address these emerging challenges; however, to be most effective NATO must engage in a series of institutional changes beginning with enlargement.

Earlier this month Turkey held an election for all 550 seats in the Turkish Parliament.  The election was widely viewed as a referendum on President Tayyip Erdogan's administration, particularly since the President has been seeking a constitutional amendment to transition Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidentialist system, which would grant him more power.  The Turkish electorate; however, voted against President Erdogan’s growing autocratic tendencies and his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), lost the majority which it had held for thirteen years in the Turkish Parliament.  

By Barbara Shailor, former Special Representative for International Labor Affairs at the Department of State and Senior Advisor to Blue Star Strategies. 

The International Labor Organization, the United Nations Specialized Agency, designated to monitor global trends in employment, has just released Global Employment Trends 2014:  Risk of a Jobless Recovery raising new concerns about joblessness, particularly among the young. The ILO reports that in 2013, more than 202 million jobseekers were unemployed across the world, an increase of 5 million since 2012.  The global jobs gap since the economic collapse in 2008 now totals about 62 million.  The ILO projects that unemployment and the jobs gap will continue to worsen through 2018.

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Burundi, a small, landlocked country in central Africa, is currently experiencing the most intense political and social turmoil since its 12-year-long civil war ended in 2005.  The turmoil was sparked by the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy(CNDD-FDD) party’s announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza will seek a controversial third term in elections slated for the end of June, prohibited by the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement that ended the civil war. Nkurunziza’s supporters argue that the Constitution allows him to serve another term because he was first elected by Parliament, not by direct suffrage, but the opposition maintains that a third term would be unconstitutional. This has led to widespread protests in the capital Bujumbura, leaving more than 20 dead and hundreds injured as protesters have been met with live ammunition from police and military forces. 

By Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Managing Director at Blue Star Strategies and President at  This article was previously published in Latinvex. 

In a recent paper for the Atlantic Council I explored the growing impact investing sector in Latin America and its potential to make a difference in health, education, the environment and other areas.  The paper centers on a series of interviews with investors, entrepreneurs, the public sector, and multilateral agencies active in social impact investing in Latin America.  Through case study analysis certain clear trends emerged and from that lessons learned were extrapolated and a draft roadmap for growing the sector was created.  This article provides a brief summary of the paper (available here).  

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet recently called for the resignation of her entire cabinet, replacing five ministers and moving four to new positions. The move comes in the wake of corruption scandals and economic woes that have shaken many Chileans’ faith in both the political system and in the Bachelet administration.

Bachelet has painted the cabinet shuffle as a way to refocus her policy agenda, which includes education, tax, and constitutional reforms. However, the move demonstrates the failure of the left-leaning stance that has defined Bachelet’s first months in office. With this new cabinet, Bachelet has signaled a return to a more moderate position in order to shore up support for her reform agenda.

By James Le Grice of London-based Network Partner Insight Consulting Group

The UK General Election is just over a week away, and political pundits are almost unanimously ruling out the prospect of any party winning a Parliamentary majority. This year’s election has seen an unprecedented focus on popular small parties and the potential coalition agreements that either Labour or the Conservatives may seek with them to form a government. Many question whether Britain is seeing the end of its traditional two-party system. This point, however, is overstated. The unlikelihood of either major party securing a majority reflects more on recent shifts in their ratio of Parliamentary seats and the struggle of their leadership to appeal to a wide support base than it does on a British preference for coalitions.

Excerpted from an article by Jeffrey Gedmin, Blue Star Senior Advisor, Co-Director of the Transatlantic Renewal Project at the World Affairs Institute, and Chairman, global politics and security, at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is coming to Washington. We should listen carefully to what he says.

I had a chance to get a feel for Abe’s challenge on a recent visit to Tokyo and Okinawa as part of a delegation of policy experts and former senior U.S. officials (the trip was sponsored by the Japanese foreign ministry)…

What I heard in Japan was almost identical to what one hears in Eastern Europe these days. In a world where Kantian idealism clashes ever increasingly with Hobbesian brute force—as Leon Aron puts it in the case of Ukraine, a situation where the West wants peace, and Putin wants victory—the West would do well do take seriously the challenges that are the true drivers of Japan’s new realism under Shinzo Abe. As one influential Japanese analyst told me and colleagues: “What Vladimir Putin is doing on the ground, the Chinese are now doing in this part of the world by sea.”

Last month the leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU) met in Astana, Kazakhstan, to discuss regional economic growth strategies. Despite the EAU having been launched only three months ago, the summit underscored the degree to which geopolitical struggles in the post-Soviet landscape are undermining the economic benefits of the alliance. The Union was set to represent the strength of Eurasian regional ties and offer an alternative to other free trade agreements. And yet, despite its potential and the goals it had set for itself, the alliance is showing signs of weakness and intensifying rifts between its constituents, ranging from economic interests to international political matters.