Saturday, May 25, 2024

The West must face the uncertainties created and entertained by globalization

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Following successes of the similar programs in Europe (Vienna and Geneva notably), the Istanbul-based International Organization along with its European (think-tank, academia, cultural diplomacy, and media) partners decided to launch the special executive program for future leaders on its own.

Hence, by the Program’s launch on 24th February 2023, this format gathered participants of diverse professional backgrounds and varied geographies, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East – largely the emerging leaders from the government, international organizations, or industry. The Future Leaders Executive Program’s concept is rather simple: Participants are spending a whole day with top-level speakers – mainly the world leaders that shaped events of the past decades (two per month, last Friday-Saturday in month) in an open, Chatham House rules-based atmosphere, all situated within the historic premisses of the city on two continents.

On the 24th of March 2023, Yves Leterme, former Prime Minister of Belgium in the context of the 2nd month of the Future Leaders Executive Program, entertained its participants on various issues, ranging from the Global Leadership Crisis to the uncertainties of the future and all the consequences its entails.

The maxim “To govern is to foresee” once summed up a fundamental rule of effective governance. It is beginning to sound more and more like “To govern is to manage the unpredictable.”

This adage appeared as the title of a document that served as the full session’s lesson plan.

The Prime Minister left a lasting impression on the audience by combining logical political and business strategies, outlining important social issues in detail, and leaving enough room for debate from a range of viewpoints. The political choices and plans Mr. Yves Leterme have made throughout his tenure are based on well-known traits of Belgium, the state of its economy at the time, history, and his capacity to foresee global events.

The fundamental concept of government must be to assume responsibility for managing public affairs, unpredictable events and situations, political fervor, and opinion formation with a focus on managing disaster and uncertainties.

Following his presentation, topics covered included managing a world that is changing quickly, the demographic explosion, climate change, and resource shortages, as well as geopolitical changes, globalization, international political economy democracy, etc.

Addressing the governance crisis in third-world countries, Yves points out the fact that “Democracy and good governance cannot be exported but supported”. He thinks that many of the issues face by the governments in crisis in the global south are due to the attempt of the Western world to impose democracy in those countries.  Moreover, he does think that democracy is something that does not exist, and we shouldn’t talk about it. He took the example of countries that are not democracies but whose economic situation is not fallen apart.

As the session was moving toward its end, the Prime Minister gave his insights on the role of Belgium in regional cooperation at the EU level and in international cooperation as so many institutions are headquartered in Brussels.

In closing the session, he took advantage of a question asked on his opinion of youth participation in politics and expressed his faith in the capacity of young people to work for the betterment of the world.

As the event draw to a close, Prime Minister Yves Leterme and President of ICYF, Taha Ayhan (as a principal host to the event) jointly expressed what all participants had already concluded throughout the day: that the Future Leaders Executive Program offers a unique setting. Excellency Prime Minister and President Taha both agreed that this particular format – in which an established experience meets the new passions and drives through cross generational leaders’ talks – represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for emerging leaders from verities of environments: the state, intergovernmental, and corporate sectors of all meridians.

The day-long talks with Excellency Leterme was an enlightening, farsighted and engaging experience for all who participated. It gave a lasting impression on the attendees and inked a top standard stamp for the Program’s forthcoming rounds.

The mesmerising ship of insights and wisdom gets a full swing sail once again. Its next fascinating port of call awaits before too long, with a former Secretary General of OPEC, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin and former EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Fishery, Dr. Franz Fischler (on 28th and 29th April).  

About the author:

Faroukou Mintoiba

Faroukou Mintoiba graduated from Istanbul Commerce University with a master’s degree in political science, with a specialization in African Studies and International Relations.

As a social activist, he has been a consultant in humanitarian work and voluntarism for different organizations. He advocates for youth social and political involvement and is currently working at Istanbul-based international organization ICYF (Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum).

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