The 2010 Global Challenges Forum

The purpose of the 2010 GCF meeting was to develop a structure and to lay the foundation for future meetings.   On the first day of meetings a Global Economic Roundtable centered on discussion of the global economy in the context of the relationship between economics and security.  The discussion was an exercise in the dissection of just one complex issue, and more importantly an example of how future GCF sub-forums might operate.  Building upon the progress of the Global Economic Roundtable, the second day of meetings centered on discussing the actual structure and process of the GCF, as well as the content that it would consider.  What emerged from these two days was the groundwork for a new institution, designed specifically to address globalized challenges.

On November 17th  2010, the Global Challenges Forum was officially launched; the culmination of two days of intensive discussions and presentations  in Geneva, Switzerland.  Hosted jointly by the Naval Postgraduate School, the University  of  Geneva, and the Talal Abu Ghazaleh Business University at the U.S. Mission in Geneva, it was the first official forum to be conducted after the 2009 Global Challenges Roundtable proposed the establishment of such an endeavor. Focused on shaping the organization in response to emerging issues of economics and security, the forum set an ambitious agenda for the coming years.    During the Opening Ceremony and Reception  at the InterContinental Hotel, GCF Co-Host, Professor Pierre Alan of the University of Geneva, introduced opening Keynote Speaker, Dr. Bates Gill, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.  Drawing on his extensive knowledge of contemporary security governance, Dr. Gill offered a frank assessment of what he has termed “the global diffusion of the threats, capabilities, and influence in the 21st century global security landscape.”  Tracing the ontological diffusion of hard and soft power across states and institutions in a more multi-polar system, he stressed the growing importance of collaborative partnerships in mitigating shared risks.  Tracing the effects of diffusion on today’s major security institutions, he highlighted their diminished ability to provide for a safe and secure world without being informed by new thinking which harnesses the network-based power of innovation in a globalized world.

In setting the tone for the rest of the Summit, Dr. Gill implied an ambitious future  role for the partnerships and collaborative networks fostered by an institution like the Global Challenges Forum.  He underscored the need for organizations which serve as incubators of innovative partnerships, turning strategic dialogue and monologues into a multi-stakeholder chorus of pragmatic change-makers.

2010 GCF Report

The findings and outcomes of the 2010 meeting, as well as transcripts of all keynote speeches, are detailed in the 2010 GCF Report, available here