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Dennis J. Snower

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

Dennis J. Snower

The challenge addressed by the GES is simple and profound: We live in an increasingly interconnected world, in which people from different nations, cultures and walks of life required to make costly contributions for the benefit of the wider human community. Many global problems that we face—ranging from financial crises to climate change, from deforestation and overfishing to pockets of poverty in the midst of plenty—require us to contribute to the common good, knowing full well that our contributions will be inadequate unless many others make these contributions as well. The accumulation and aggravation of these problems over time has led many to doubt whether humanity has the capacity to achieve just and sustainable outcomes—a broadly distributed prosperity that does not go at the expense of future generations.

The GES seeks to find decentralized ways of aligning our visions to act in the public interest. The central strengths of the GES—ones that distinguish it from any other conferences and symposia— is that it is both research-based and solution-oriented. The solution orientation highlights the need to act, not just to investigate and discuss. The research base is meant to ensure that the solution proposals generated by the GES are not merely based on opinions, but draw the rest on a hard foundation of empirical evidence and analysis.

The GES brings together communities of decision-makers in the spirit of global citizenship. We hope that they will help develop strategies, policies and institutions that will incentivize us to act in the public interest. Beyond that, the underlying aspiration is that, in the process of working together on problems that we all share, people from diverse parts of the world and diverse backgrounds will find a common human identity—along their many other identities—that will induce us to contribute to our common good.

We are delighted that the GES 2012 takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is an important location to conduct global problem-solving, since Brazil is a vibrant, emerging force that has a central role to play with regard to global citizenship. It has valuable insight and experience to contribute in areas as far ranging as resource conservation, social integration, energy security, economic stabilization, and much more. We applaud the Getulio Vargas Foundation for collaborating with us in this year’s enactment of the GES.

The success of the GES is in your hands. We encourage all of you to bring your insights, experiences, courage and initiative into the neutral, creative space that the GES provides, so that we collectively can do our part in becoming agents of change.

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