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Guidelines and Instructions

for the Global Economic Symposium


Panel Sessions

The GES consists primarily of panel sessions, in which the panelists debate the session topics, after which the audience joins in.

Each panel consists of about four panelists. There are about six session slots per day. Each session slot has about two parallel sessions. Thus over the two days, there are about 24 sessions in all.

Each panel session is focused on a particular global problem, summarized in the Session Descriptions. The aim of the panel session is to discuss alternative solutions to this problem, in order to identify the ones that appear most promising. Thereby each panel session contributes to the mission of the Global Economic Symposium, namely, to recommend strategies and policies for tackling global problems, thereby creating shared visions of the future. In short, the GES is action-oriented; it is not merely a discussion forum. The panel debates are off the record.

Each panel of the GES is composed of a Moderator and several Panelists. Each panel session runs for 75 minutes, divided into two phases. The first phase is “Debate:” 50–60 minutes of exchange between the Moderator and the Panelists. The second phase is “Open Floor:” 15–25 minutes of open participation from the audience. Panel sessions are off the record.

Debate and Open Floor

The Debate phase consists of rapid exchanges between the Moderator and the Panelists. The Moderator leads the debate, asking the Panelists questions, to which the Panelists respond briefly. Panelists are of course expected to respond to one another, so that a lively debate ensues. (There are to be no introductory or concluding statements of the panelists, just questions and responses.) At the end of the Debate phase, the panelists may summarize their main points, if necessary.

In the Open Floor phase, the participants in the audience will be permitted short questions (maximum 30 seconds), followed by short responses from one or more panelists. The Moderator determines what sort of questions to ask for and moderates the resulting discussion.

Submissions to Proposed Solutions and Virtual Libraries

In order for the Debate phase to be maximally fruitful, each Panelist is required to post a short summary of his or her proposed solutions in the “Proposed Solutions” section of the Virtual GES, the website of the GES. Moderators as well as experts belonging to the wider GES Community can also submit their proposed solutions, so that the Virtual GES contains a broad, balanced portfolio of proposals for each panel session.

The Moderator studies these solutions in advance and composes his or her questions accordingly. Consequently, by posting their proposed solutions, the Panelists ensure that their ideas will be fully taken into account by the Moderator.

Panelists can contribute background information on each session to the virtual Library of the Session.

The Virtual GES

The power of the GES lies in its focus on solutions to global problems. This focus is supported through the Virtual GES, the web-based platform of the GES ( The Virtual GES mirrors the GES itself: both are divided into themes, which in turn are divided into panels.

The Virtual GES is a repository of proposed solutions to global economic problems. Thereby, it is a useful resource for the GES panel sessions. The GES panels debate the solutions that are described in the Virtual GES.

The Virtual GES has the following components:

  • The Challenge, summarizing the global problems,
  • Proposed Solutions, containing short summaries of proposed solutions, contributed by the Panelists and other international experts.
  • Solution Fora, in which the Panelists can defend their positions and exchange ideas prior to the GES, so that the Panel Debate can proceed efficiently.
  • Virtual Libraries, containing background information (articles, presentations, op-eds, speeches, reports, etc.) to which Panelists and other experts are free to contribute.

The Participants in the GES audience are expected to have familiarized themselves with the relevant material in the Virtual GES, so that they can play a maximally useful role in the Open Floor phase of each panel session.

Contributors to the Virtual GES include both Panelists and international experts belonging to the wider GES Community. The Virtual GES is (i) both a communication platform between the Panelists, Moderators, and a worldwide network researchers and policy makers and (ii) a repository of policy proposals that informs on the outcome of the GES.

After the GES has taken place, the solutions that have received support will be summarized in a report entitled Global Economic Solutions, to be presented at various major international organizations. The resulting input from the policy-making community, as well as from other policy makers, researchers and the GES Community, will be summarized in the Virtual GES and serve as groundwork for the next GES. In this way, the GES is meant to initiate an ongoing dialogue about how to address the major global economic problems of our times.

Plenary Sessions

There are also two plenary sessions, one identifying the world’s major challenges and the other summarizing potential solutions.

  • In the Opening Plenary, leading decision makers aim to identify the most significant of the world’s global economic problems, examine how these problems arise and venture ideas on how they could be tackled.
  • The Closing Plenary is an intergenerational dialogue on global problem-solving. Here internationally renowned leaders exchange ideas with the GES Fellows on this question: Does our global problem-solving lead to a future that is genuinely in the interests of the next generation?

At the beginning of the Plenary, the moderator summarizes the purpose of the Plenary and introduces the panelists. Each panelist then has the opportunity to deliver a short statement. The moderator then initiates a lively debate among the panelists. (In the Closing Plenary, the GES Fellows choose two spokespersons to engage in debate with the senior leaders.) The Plenary ends with a short question and-answer exchange with the audience. Plenary sessions are on the record.

Special Events and Labs

The GES 2009 has several special events and thought labs:

Pathbreaking Insights: Concise exposés on radically new ideas to redesign our future – economically, technologically, politically or socially – in order to tackle important global challenges.
Application Labs: Short presentations, generally involving interaction with the audience, of pioneering practical applications that have the potential to transform the way we address well-defined global problems.
Book Sessions and Thought Labs: Book presentations and short exposes, that can change the way we think about finding new avenues towards global cooperation.
Knowledge Lab: Presentation of the German National Library of Economics (the world’s largest economics library) of its knowledge resources, enabling GES participants to access an unprecedented wealth of knowledge in the analysis of global problems and the formulation of solutions to them.
Economic Policy Labs (in German): Roundtable debates, focusing on concrete policy problems and policy solutions, by leading decision-makers on major current economic affairs in Germany and Europe at large. (These labs are appropriate for German speakers only; please see separate handouts.)

These sessions are all on the record.

Global Economic Workshop

Future Scenarios from the Financial Crisis

The scenarios Healthy Economy and Financial Ecology provide a context for discussion of the four main themes and 23 sessions to be held during the Global Economic Symposium 2009. Scenarios by themselves do not offer solutions, but rather help participants open their mind to different futures. Our aim is to encourage participants to explore and stay with ‘the problem’ for a little longer, to understand how various worldviews lead to a different framing of an issue, how this leads to different solutions, and how the success of these solutions in turn depends on the context of each scenario.

We invite the participants to challenge proposed solutions (in every session) through the lenses of these scenarios. The session will allow participants to have a solid understanding of the scenarios and how participants collectively prioritize issues in different futures.


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