No matter who you are, any international conference can be an overwhelming experience. As with most things, the surest way to fully grasp what to do and where to go is by experiencing it. But everyone will experience a first time, so I’ve jotted down a few notes from past experience that helped me here in Istanbul, and will hopefully lower the learning curve for you at your next international conference.
Are you a big fan of any band? I love music and I like some bands a lot, but to actually be a “big fan” is a different thing. One of the bands I’m a huge fan of is U2, and the reason is that they actually use music as a means to achieve great impact in our world.
According to 350.org, it's—you guessed it!—350. This is because scientists say that the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million.
The biggest misconception that a lot of people have is that the end of a war means total peace. Most, if not all of the time, post-conflict can be one of the most trying times for the people of any country, particularly for women. Post-conflict means the restoration and the rebuilding of communities. It’s that time when many, especially women and children, struggle to get over the trauma wrought by widespread violence.
“A resounding success. We have had open, honest, and frank discussions, making this year’s session most fruitful.” So were the words of the President of the World Bank/IMF Group Board of Governors. I picked up a rumor that the Prime Minister will be addressing the plenary session this morning and made my way to the grand hall. It seems I am early but just in time for the closing remarks.
The OECD bulletin last week came with a headline that is catchy at the very least - Conditional Aid: Recipients can say “no.”
Of course, whilst a general healthy skepticism towards aid and its conditions is to be kept, what seem to be the main points in this debate are the following:
While I’ve yet to meet an actual youth delegation, there are still a number of young people here. Interns, assistants, conference support, information desks, coffee, photocopying, mic running, IT support, and of course depending on your definition of “youth,” active members of NGOs.
My first day at the Annual Meetings, and it’s a good thing I’m here early. Security is tight and traffic is backed up. Still, delegates can be seen happily chatting away as they wait to pass through the metal detector, the press is photographing the lines, and meetings are being planned for lunch. A thermal camera screens us as we are cleared through.
It’s not like I was expecting apathy, but in any case it’s not what I got at all. The World Bank meetings are well-known, and opinions are pointed. Perhaps it’s because of a recent shoe-throwing incident aimed at IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Khan at a pre-meeting university seminar. Perhaps it’s because of the protests organized around the city (activists can be seen handing out flyers and the police running drills). Or perhaps it’s simply a collection of pointed opinions on all things political, economic, or cultural.
The outbreak of the H1N1 virus (otherwise known as "swine flu") has taught the world an important lesson: Strong public health surveillance systems are critical to deal with such situations.
Today the day starts early. The morning is dreary, gray sky, a sprinkling of rain…but that’s more than likely to change as the day continues. I’ve just arrived in Istanbul, not the capital, but Turkey’s commercial, financial, and transportation hub nonetheless. The airport has welcome signs to the IMF-World Bank meetings for all the international delegates expected this week. I smile as the passport officer greets me. I’ve been living abroad for nearly a year, and it’s always nice to visit.
According to the United Nations, sexual violence is rampant in developing and emerging countries where poverty levels are at an all-time high and where social and economic inequity and inequality are widespread. In fact, in a World Health Organization report, 2002 alone saw nearly 150 million girls suffer the nightmare of sexual violence.
Just when we thought the entire world was careening in the direction of currency conglomerations, here’s a new manifestation of what else but a dose of glocalization in the financial sector—a town that’s skipped its national borders to join the European currency, and one that’s retreated from its national borders to create a local one.
How should the world look after the global finanical and economic crisis? Ask experts your questions and hear them debate the issue.
A special high-level panel will discuss the post-economic crisis world on Friday, October 2, in Istanbul during the Annual Meetings.