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Dennis J. Snower

Director, Global Economic Symposium (GES) President, Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Welcome to the GES. Our challenge is clear: We live in a world of integrated economies and divided polities. As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected and interdependent, we are generating not only increasing wealth in both developed and developing countries, but also increasing problems that are global. From climate change to financial crises, the globalization of problems is widely recognized.

But the instruments of policy are largely in the hands of national politicians. The disconnect between the global economic problems and national politics presents us with one of the major challenges of our age: how can we come together as a global community to deal with problems that we all share?

The overarching theme of the GES 2011 – “New Forces of Global Governance” – is particularly significant in this context. The “hard governance” of national laws and policies is not adequate for addressing problems that transcend national boundaries. So the GES seeks to explore the potential for “soft governance” – the power of global responsibility arising out of global need, powered by the explosion of opportunities to work together through modern telecommunications. The GES seeks to bring people together across countries, cultures, faiths, ideologies, occupations, and ways of life, in order to address our common problems on our common planet. We seek to mobilize the new, soft forces of global governance to help us work together in a common cause.

Against this backdrop, the GES 2011 launches a new cooperation between the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the Bertelsmann Foundation. There are huge synergies to be exploited, in conducting a global problem-solving exercise that is research-based, action-oriented and globally interactive. This exercise will take place on a knowledge repository developed by the German National Library of Economics, the largest economics library in the world.

We are delighted by the huge outpouring of enthusiasm and support that has come our way this year – from the Kieler Kaufmann Society to the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Economics, Research and Transport, from the engagement of Veolia and AUDI to the involvement of local civic groups and students, from our knowledge partners to our media partners, and many more.

We hope you will be stimulated and enriched by the GES and, more importantly, inspired to work with us on an ongoing basis in building a global community of decision makers and activists to address our global challenges.

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