Javier Solana calls on ESADE MBA students to “be part of the leadership of the world”

solana mbaAddressing some 500 participants from the ESADE MBA classes of 2010 and 2011, of 46 nationalities, ESADE Professor Javier Solana, asked them to not only to concentrate on their careers, but focus also on the globalised world in which we live. “Geopolitics will be very important for your future life” he stated. In his first address as professor of ESADE, Javier Solana touched upon some of the issues that are changing the geopolitical landscape. Firstly he highlighted the transfers of power between countries and within countries post financial crisis, pointing out the changing roles of non-state actors, as well as the shift caused by population growth and the transfer of GDP, from West to East. Also on population changes, he highlighted, “By 2020, half of the population of Africa will be under the age of 18 years of age. This has massive implications for all of us. We all need to be aware of it.” “The world of today is a multipolar world without sufficient multilateralism—and this is very difficult to handle” Prof. Solana said. He went on to explain that Europe has a long history of multipolarity dealt with by war, rather than multilateralism. He continued that the creation of the EU was a positive consequence of this, but that now we must build a structure of governance that will protect peace throughout the world. Prof. Solana called for global solutions to global problems, a profound change in mindset and the involvement of all new countries in world governance. “The G7 and G8 are obsolete, it is important to change the structure of governance to better reflect reality.” He noted that the institutions created post-war, particularly the IMF, World Bank and the WTO must be transformed. “Brazil, China, India, etc must be incorporated” he said, “it makes no sense, for example, for Belgium to have the same number of votes in the IMF, as China.” Focusing on the key challenges for the future Prof. Solana first discussed poverty. “It is true that globalization has produced many benefits for many people.” he stated, “in China, a vast number of people, more than the entire population of the US have risen out of poverty in the past three decades, large parts of the country still lives below the breadline … Do not forget that poverty is not only unacceptable, but will become a source of instability for everyone in the future: we need to solve the issue.” He advised. The second fundamental problem Prof. Solana highlighted is the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 20% uranium enrichment program will cause difficult consequences for the region and the world” he noted. The other major issue he pointed out was climate change. “This is a real and extreme problem” he began, “we have to organize the world in such a manner that every country is willing to do its part to cut CO2, it is not enough for a

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few to try… we must see how we can solve this problem today, not tomorrow. It will only get worse. We mustn’t stifle China’s and India’s development with these measures, but we must cut CO2 emissions.” He called for “Responsible Sovereignty” noting that states cannot just do what they want in this arena. Following Prof. Solana’s address, Dean of ESADE Business School, Alfons Sauquet opened the floor to questions. An MBA participant from Nigeria got the ball rolling by asking about Prof. Solana’s views on terrorism. “It is an important challenge we must all be aware of” Prof. Solana responded, “Terrorism is never acceptable. We must combat terrorism and also look into the reasons that make someone becomes a terrorist.” Other questions focused on Chavez, the current situation in Israel and Palestine, the future of developmental aid, the role of the IMF, the accession of Turkey to the EU and the role of China in the coming decades, among others. Concluding Prof. Solana said “Carry these ideas close to your minds and hearts. It is people like you and institutions like ESADE who can make a difference, we are global citizens, we must engage and commit to the problems of the world at large. There are many, but there are also many solutions. I hope you will be part of these solutions.”

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