Tackling today’s complex global challenges requires broad coordination of efforts by businesses, governments, and nonprofits in order to create lasting collective impact. While there is no shortage of good ideas or working models for achieving positive social change, too often uncoordinated operations, isolated decision-making, and tangled lines of communication prevent these initiatives from achieving full scale. Building off the success of the three previous summits, the 2014 Concordia Summit convened in New York City to discuss the role of public-private partnerships in creating positive social and economic impact.
In one of 2014’s featured plenary sessions, T. Boone Pickens, Chairman of BP Capital Management, was interviewed by ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis on his predictions for America’s energy future. Whether it be oil, natural gas, wind, solar, or electric, T. Boone Pickens made it clear that the ultimate goal is to remove American dependence on OPEC, utilize domestic resources, and emerge a leader in self-reliant energy production.
“I look forward to continuing the dialogue and to broadening and deepening the public-private partnerships that serve our national interests and those who serve so well” Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Senator John McCain moderated our opening panel discussion, which brought together three former world leaders: President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga of Latvia, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, and President Aleksander Kwaśniewski of Poland, who reflected on their experience presiding over their country’s transition from government controlled entities to thriving democracies.
Moderated by John Koudounis, Leadership Council Member and President and CEO of Mizuho Securities USA, Inc., President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, President Sebastián Piñera of Chile, and President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia examined the most recent Latin American economic trends and the nature of partnership and collaboration taking place within the region.
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Registration & Breakfast
Concordia is a non-profit organization with a mission to identify new avenues of collaboration for governments, businesses, and nonprofits by convening global leaders and developing new research products. Concordia promotes effective public-private collaboration to create a more prosperous and sustainable future. Co-founders and Chairmen of the Board Nicholas Logothetis and Matthew Swift set the stage for the 2014 Concordia Summit, Scaling Proven Solutions Through Collaboration, with an interactive introduction of Concordia’s history, mission, and vision.
9:05 AM – 9:15 AM Age of Geopolitics
Four geopolitical crises—active and looming—will have global economic impact on a scale unseen since the end of the Cold War. The events in Ukraine and Iraq/Syria today, and the longer term risks of a rising China and a fraying Trans-Atlantic alliance, are by no means discrete: they all contribute to and are exacerbated by a broader danger. We now live in a world where no single power or alliance of powers is willing and able to provide global leadership. Call it geopolitical creative destruction: the old model is breaking down, but the only thing yet emerging in its place is more geopolitical crises, burning hotter, for longer, more often. Our audience joined Ian Bremmer as he discussed the underlying drivers of all the geopolitical chaos in the headlines today—and what could come next.
9:15 AM – 10:05 AM The State of the World and the Role of Partnership
Senator John McCain moderated our opening panel discussion, which brought together three former world leaders who presided over their country’s transition from government controlled entities to thriving democracies. The Senator attributed this successful transition to the leadership of each of the three former presidents. As 2014 marked twenty five years since the establishment of a post-communist Poland, President Aleksander Kwaśniewski reflected on the political and economic growth within the country, signified by events such as the country’s joining the European Union. However, while the country has achieved economic prosperity and democratic autonomy, Poland remains acutely aware of neighboring geopolitical security challenges. President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga commented on the notions of democracy surfacing in Latvia as early as the 19th century, with the country regaining independence in 1991. President Vīķe-Freiberga, a trained psychologist, discussed the question of Russia’s political stance towards its neighbors and the nature of its leader establishing a vertical power structure and the geopolitical ramifications that have been a result of that power apparatus. President Mikheil Saakashvili reflected on ways to challenge this political power and asserted that countries within the region will achieve success in this struggle through democracy, free enterprise, and uncorrupt practices. Though the region may be frozen in conflict, Senator McCain raised the point that the three countries represented in this panel once faced similar challenges and emerged strong, thriving democracies. The resilient leaders who participated in this session, serve as an example of the potential that can successfully emerge from conflict and repression.
10:05 AM – 10:30 AM Regional Spotlight: China’s Economic & Environmental Outlook
During an interview with Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, a renowned China expert and fluent Mandarin speaker, took a sharp look at China, focusing on economic growth and environmental stewardship. In order to determine where China is headed, Prime Minister Rudd argued that it is necessary to first look at how China views the world. Through a Chinese prism of reality, the Prime Minster explained there are five main objectives for the country: have the communist party remain in power, maintain national unity, grow the economy to both improve the middle class and uplift those in poverty, not environmentally destroy the country, and achieve these objectives while preserving sufficient stability within the region. When asked by Ambassador Dobriansky whether China poses an international threat, Prime Minister Rudd argued that though the country has developed an enhanced military capability, the real strategy hinges on the growth of their economy. 25 years ago, China’s economy was the size of Australia’s. Today, it rivals, and will soon surpass, the GDP of the United States. Once China becomes the largest economy, with projections estimating this happening within the next 10 years, it will be the first time the world has seen a non-democratic, non-western, non-English speaking state to do so. This will ultimately affect the way the world fundamentally does business. When asked by Ambassador Dobriansky about the geopolitical nature of China’s relationships, Prime Minister Rudd reminded the audience that China’s current leader, President Xi Jinping, will have the same projected term in office as Russian President Vladimir Putin. He added that President Jinping admires the Russian leader as he stands for nationalist values over Western values and supports President Putin’s push for multipolarity, resulting in less US power overall. Regarding Chinese growth strategy, the Ambassador and Prime Minister discussed the recent transformation from a labor intensive, foreign export heavy model to a new economic model focused on domestic consumption, the service sector, and a massive urbanization program. While the West speaks of sovereign democracy, we should look at the Chinese future of state capitalism. The current reality is that while the United States may be preoccupied with domestic circumstances, economic recovery, and ongoing gridlock in Congress, China is developing an alternative international narrative that is vastly different from the version Fukuyama predicted would constitute the End of History.
10:30AM – 10:55 AM Partnership Spotlight: HealthCorps
During this plenary session, Dr. Mehmet Oz of HealthCorps and Ms. Jeanie Buss of the LA Lakers announced a partnership between HealthCorps and the NBA aimed at transforming our health education system and impacting children’s lives across the United States. Dr. Oz opened with some shocking statistics: In the next 20 years, over 30 percent of America’s children will be obese, for African American children, that number rises to 40 percent, and for Latino children, there is a 50 percent chance that they will be diabetic within their lifetime. Currently, a quarter of the young adults who are applying to enroll in the US military are being rejected for weight issues. In New York City, over half the kids have substantial health issues. HealthCorps asked, how do you bring the private sector to the table? As an organization, HealthCorps trains recent college graduates on how to teach health education, then places these young adults within schools around the country, with the idea that these individuals will be thought of more as mentors than just teachers. The HealthCorps program also works to motivate high school students to be advocates within their community. In NYC, students in the program visited local bodegas, asking store owners to stock whole grains and fresh produce so their family can buy more nutritious food within the neighborhood, and it changed communities. Though the program has seen success, Dr. Oz noted that the program was in need of a “cool” factor and approached the NBA as a partner. In collaboration with numerous Los Angeles NBA players, the program in LA is flourishing. Dr. Oz explained that when these children and their families go to these NBA events, they are gaining a deep understanding of not only how the players are eating and being active, but how they are coping with the stresses of life. Ms. Buss went on to explain the importance of players being champions both on and off the court. The team has always dedicated time to underserved youth within the Los Angeles community, but this collaboration with HealthCorps is especially exciting as the NBA now has the opportunity to see their resources have an even more profound impact. By partnering with experts in the health field, they know that this program can really make a difference. As the partnership extends its reach from LA to NYC, Dikembe Mutombo made a surprise appearance on the Concordia stage, announcing the launch of the NYC program in February. The new program will include outreach to 500,000 children, educating them about nutrition and fitness, and motivating them to be more conscious of their physical health, eating behavior, mental condition, and overall spirit.
11:20 AM – 11:30 AM Reframing Leadership Through Partnership
Every year, the Concordia Summit brings together public-private sector leaders to discuss and build opportunities for public-private partnerships to global challenges. 2014 marked the fourth year of the annual Concordia Summit, which has expanded to tackle many diverse issues through the lens of building P3s in order to foster tangible and scalable solutions. One of the many lessons learned through this process is that true leadership, whether on the part of the public or the private sector, is derived from the ability to partner and create productive collaborations. The founding member and co-chair of Concordia’s Leadership Council, George M. Logothetis, has shown this dedication and style of leadership throughout the span of his career. Whether it is partnering with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative or supporting rising entrepreneurs in his native Greece through innovative study abroad and mentorship programs, Mr. Logothetis has demonstrated through action that true change is created through collaboration. This session drew on Mr. Logothetis’ personal story and experiences, working to scale solutions through partnerships, and inspired attendees to leverage their combined assets to build a more sustainable and just world.
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM Combatting Human Trafficking with Cross-Sector Solutions
During the panel Combatting Human Trafficking With Cross-Sector Solutions, the audience learned that a shocking 83% of the victims who are trafficked in the United States are, in fact, from the United States. Given this alarming reality, the panel discussed steps being taken by the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to identify as assist victims of trafficking. Letty Ashworth and Senator Amy Klobuchar touted the efforts being put forth by the private sector, where companies like Delta and Hyatt have introduced company wide training programs to assist employees in identifying the telltale signs of trafficking while working on the front lines of this issue. District Attorney Cyrus Vance discussed collaborative measures being taken between his office and major financial institutions including TD Bank, JPMorgan, and American Express, where partners share criminal typologies and financial data to track patterns of serial traffickers. Cindy McCain reaffirmed that trafficking is organized crime at its best and remains a growing problem, particularly with regard to minors. She also emphasized the importance of addressing trafficking on the demand side and how preventative measures that raise awareness, including the gaining support from male allies, will truly impact the fight against trafficking. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz highlighted the importance of showing victims within the trade that there is a way out, and that partnerships can do this by offering alternative paths, tangible solutions, and realistic options to these individuals that have succumb to trafficking. Though this session outlined stark and at times surprising statistics for the Concordia audience, the panelists also identified smart, scalable solutions that are being carried out worldwide by public-private partnerships in the fight against human trafficking.
12:40 PM – 1:20 PM Assessing Partnerships in Counterterrorism
Author and journalist Jonathan Alter opened the conversation by asking Senator Evan Bayh and Secretary General Salil Shetty where they believed the root causes of terrorism and extremism stem from. Senator Bayh identified five main causes, including demography – regarding the upsurge of young people in regions that are manifesting terrorism, the economy – where economic growth is not terribly robust and distribution of this growth is disproportionate, the political system – which does not give an outlet to the aspirations of this younger generation, the lack of education – where a robust education system does not exist outside of madrasas, and lastly tradition – where traditional cultures resent the pace at which modernization is taking place based on Western values. Secretary General Shetty countered this analysis with a few amendments. With Amnesty International focusing on human rights violations, he was careful to contextualize his response within a human rights lens as the very word terrorism is complex. It is a legally contested word with no international agreed upon definition, and since 9/11, the greatest number of human rights violations have actually occurred in the defense of counterterrorism, as many dictators have found it to be a convenient way to stifle descent. The United States may combat terrorism from one perspective, but in different parts of the world, one man’s terrorist may be another woman’s liberation fighter. Though Amnesty International avoids using the word, Mr. Shetty continued with what he and the organization believe to be the greatest causes of terrorism. He began with the general lack of respect for anything that is different. He listed intolerance, discrimination, and violence against something we cannot relate to – particularly the demonization of Islam – being driving motivations of these terrorist acts. He then furthered the Senator’s points regarding local motivations including economic inequality, youth frustration, and lack of government accountability. The conversation then moved on to discuss the delicate balance between protecting individual civil liberties while also protecting the public’s safety. The panel spoke of the moral dilemma that arises when reconciling friction that may exist between ethical questions and our fundamental values. Getting this balance wrong can cause cyclical underreactions and overreactions, which, in the end, can affect both public safety and human rights.
12:40 PM – 1:20 PM Concordia Office Hours
In its fourth year, Concordia was pleased to launch “Concordia Office Hours,” where over 90 attendees were afforded the unique opportunity to participate in exclusive conversations with elite members of the Concordia community, including Concordia Leadership Council members, former world leaders, and select Summit speakers. During these intimate conversations, participants received personal insight from today’s foremost thought-leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Lunch
1:55 PM – 2:00 PM A Call to Action from the Concordia Leadership Council