Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Engage, Debate and Celebrate in Paris

In September 2007 some 600 international alumni and guests gathered in Paris to engage, debate, and celebrate with the Columbia Alumni Association.

The weekend’s centerpiece was a daylong series of discussions entitled "Who Are We?: A CAA Forum on Globalization, the Arts, and the Media," featuring academic and professional luminaries on the most pressing issues of the day.

The discussion on Globalization was chaired by Lee C. Bollinger '71LAW, President, Columbia University which included Susan Fuhrman '77TC, President, Teachers College, Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate and University Professor, Columbia University as presenters.

Lee C. Bollinger said "Forces are reshaping our world, and we as academics—as teachers and researchers—must find our way into this new world to find the issues that need our attention."

He later introduced the keynote speaker saying "There is a yearning in the world for people who can speak to the world—not just to their own countries or to a few countries but actually try to speak on behalf of citizens around the world."

The keynote address was given by Kofi Annan, Nobel laureate and seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations who said "Have you ever wondered what would have happened if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been declared before the 30s, before the World War?"

It was wonderful to meeting Kofi Annan and his wife again this time in Paris. I was accompanied by my best friend Tamara who came for the weekend gala celebration in Paris all the way from Basel, Switzerland. We had a blast in Paris and also met my good old SIPA buddies who came flying from across the globe to join the grand Paris celebration.

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