Symposium Report 2011- Immigration

For the first time ever, more people live in cities than in rural areas and people are living a truly urban life. The European Union is the closest experiment to open borders and works because the levels of disparities amongst the EU nations are not as wide as the disparities between Europe and North Africa.

Although exact figures are often thought to be unbelievable, it is estimated that there are approximately 214 million international migrants in the world today- this estimation does not include internal migrations. It should be noted that migrant numbers are not included in this statistic. Instead, migration scholars, such as Khalid Koser prefer to say that 3 percent of the total global population are international migrants, which is believed to be a more accurate statement. One in 35 people is an international migrant, constituting the population of the fourth biggest nation in the world, Indonesia. This may seem like an intimidating thought to think that an entire nation of migrants exists, but Koser asks the question, “Why is the forces of migration is so strong do the other 97 percent of the Earth’s population not migrant?”

Statistics can often be misinterpreted due to the differing definitions of migration terminology. The above stated numbers do not take into consideration the estimated 740 million internal migrants, according to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre.

Despite the current economic crisis, migration has not slowed down significantly. In fact, during the financial crisis unemployment amongst migrants was not as large as to be thought because average citizens were thought to rather accept welfare check than take jobs they thought were beneath them. However, the quality of the life of migrants decreased.  Also during the global financial crisis, flows of irregular migrations decreased, but stocks of migrants increased for fear that after unemployment if they left they would not be able to come back.

Almost 50 percent of migrations now are woman migrants; this used to be due to reasons of marriage, whereas now women are seen as the breadwinners. The feminization of migration is due to many countries’ liberalization where women have a more important role in society, the need for services stereotypically taken on by women such as cooking and cleaning, as well as prostitution and human trafficking.

Migrants are often placed into the categories of legal or illegal, by those who use migration as a political tool, especially for re-election, whereas humanitarian organizations refer to migrants as documented and undocumented or irregular migrants. The term irregular migrants can be used in circumstances where irregular circumstances occur that cause the migrants to leave their documentation behind. Refugees are not included in the estimation of migrants. Contrary to popular thought most migrants come in legally and then become considered ‘illegal’ because they have overstayed their visas.

The term ‘voluntary migration’ has been highly contested. If a family’s home has been destroyed by a natural disaster, they are considered a forced migrant, but if a member of a family leaves the country to find work in another country because their country of origin is lacking openings, are they then considered to be ‘voluntary migrants.’ There is no simple solution to this question, typically governments see these individuals are voluntary migrants, whereas humanitarian organizations are more liberal in interpreting the events that led to migration.

Remittances are the money made by the international migrants that is sent back to the migrants’ families. The top three nations to receive remittances are India, China and Mexico and 50 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP is dependent on remittances. The 2010 flow of remittances is estimated to be about $316 billion. Although some governments may state that the amount of remittances leaving the country in which the money was made, hinders the economy, only 10 percent of remittances are sent back to the migrants’ country of origin and the other 90 percent is sent in the country the migrants are living in to pay for food, rent and other immediate expenses. The danger of remittances stands in that a cultural dependence of this flow of money is established and migration looks more appealing.

International migration law is not recognized as a sect of international law, although it is an emerging field. The UN convention of 1990 does not refer to admission of migrants, but only the legal status of migrants. One of the principles governing migration is that migration and expulsion of ‘aliens’ is a part of the sovereignty of a country. Domestic jurisdiction is an evolving concept and is thought to be better to use than sovereignty in legal terms. States no longer enjoy absolute discretion and must adhere to certain grounds of rejection of aliens, being: a threat to security, not meeting financial requirements, having a contagious disease, a lack of documentation, a prior violation of immigration laws, war criminal status or having a criminal record.

Many fallacies exist about the state of migrants, such as they are unhealthy and bring disease into the country. According to the IOM, this is false, as the strongest and healthiest individuals are those that migrate for work purposes. In fact not only are most migrants healthy, but migrants often underutilize health services and do not take away from public health services, as thought by some. The World Health Organization has reported that Australia has the most access to health care for migrants, whereas Qatar has the least access to health care. Unfortunately the most cited reason for migrants being rejected from the health care system is the government thinks it is too costly.  Switzerland claims that migrants receive full health equality services in hospitals, but migrants are forced to use a different entrance to the hospital, as it is inappropriate for them to enter through the same entrance as a ‘regular’ citizen of the country. The IOM has launched a campaign to educate both migrants and doctors as to what their rights are, as both parties have been fed different stories by governments and are unaware of what their rights and obligations are.

Governments spend billions of dollars a year on making policies concerning migration laws and then approximately three years  later these laws are scrapped and replaced with new ones. Koser believes these funds would be better spent on policy evaluation. When discussing migration, civil society is excluded from official migration dialogues and the legitimacy of representation when one representative represents a thousand organization flounders as a list of three of four concise priorities are difficult to comprise. Private sector is also not involved in migration dialogue, even though they are often a driving force of migration.

Solutions for the models for global governance of migration should exhibit more formal cooperation between states, engage in more robust and regional global dialogues, consider cooperation between regional consultative processes, as well as institutional reform, which would include the creation of a new agency, designating a lead agency from the existing agencies bringing the IOM into the UN system, considering a leadership or WO model. The obstacles that lie within the global governance of migration is that this may impede on a nation’s sovereignty, cause institutional inertia, increase North vs South relations and exhibit a lack of consensus amongst advocates.

The statistic of refugees does not include asylum seekers, internally displaced peoples or stateless persons. In order to be a refugee, the ‘refugee’ must be recognized by the host nation. There are two different ways to determine refugee status. There is the individual procedure and examination and the collective determination of a population. Legally speaking, ‘asylum seeker’ refers to a person who has not been officially recognized as a refugee and the definition of a refugee is based on the well-founded fear of persecution.

The refugee problem was first addressed in May of 1945 in response to the Holocaust and World War II. Within this timeframe there were 40 million refugees and internally displaced people, 13 million expelled Jews, 11.3 million forced labourers and 100 million refugees beyond the parameters of Europe. UNHCR was created during 1949-1950, to replace the IRO that was founded in 1947, as of January 1951. UNHCR’s effectiveness is punted against its non-political mission, as helping those in need is seen by opposing sides as a political act. However, the UNHCR’s objective is not to ask how or why the refugee situation is caused, but rather how to provide basic services for refugees, such as food and shelter.

After the WWII refugees, the next group of refugees came from Hungary in 1956, where the UNHCR helped resettled 200,000 refugees in thirty countries and repatriated 10 percent of the refugees. The next largest UNHCR operations to date occurred in Bangladesh (1970-1971) and then followed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Afghanistan is the single biggest refugee population in the world, being affected by the invasion of the Soviets, the Taliban rule, the “War on Terror,” as well as other internal conflicts. Interestingly enough, the United States of America is the single biggest donor to the UNHCR. Afghan refugees account for 40 percent of all the refugees in the world, not including Palestinian refugees. Proportionally Somalia has the biggest percentage of refugees and Colombia has the most IDPs, approximately three million. These IDPs receive aid from UNHCR although their legal status is less clear than that of refugees. Another group of people of concern to the UNHCR are settled refugees, who still have access to assistance programs.

The principle of non-refoulement is guaranteed by Article 33 of the Geneva Convention which states that a country cannot force people to go back to nation of persecution if they still feel a sense of persecution.

The right of asylum is not acknowledged as an individual right and falls under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 40: the right to seek and enjoy asylum. This however is not an obligation for a state to provide asylum.

In 1951 the UN convention relating to the status of refugees has contributed to providing durable solutions by the UNHCR to refugee situation including voluntary repatriation to the country of origin, local integration into the country of asylum and resettlement to a third country. However, the UNHCR has been shy about repatriation in the past and usually leaves it up to the IOM to handle repatriation as they are not a U.N. entity.

UNRWA- The United Nations Relief and Work Agency is short for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Special attention should be given to the word ‘Palestine,’ as there were refugees who lived in Palestine but were not of Palestinian descent, including Turks, Armenians and other minority groups. UNRWA is the only U.N. organization set up to face a specific refugee problem for a specific group of people, with more than 30,000 employees. UNRWA has a budget of $700 million, as well as a $250 million emergency fund. The United Nations brought in Gordon Clapp,  the former Director of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the USA to help shape UNRWA. UNRWA is not responsible for finding a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, but rather they are to provide schooling and humanitarian aid to Palestine refugees, the longest standing refugee issue in modern history.

In concern with human security in world politics, the concept of a ‘traditional’ security of ‘national’ security erodes from the traditional concept of safeguarding the population and core values of a nation. The three main reasons why this concept erodes with time is due to a shift from interstate to intrastate wars, a fragmentation of global or common threats and fragile or failed states’ security threats that appear above and below the state level. 

In a survey in South Sudan, citizens were asked if they felt a sense of human security for the months to come. A majority of the surveyed said yes, but their definition of human security was equated with food security. This in mind, an interdisciplinary method is needed for human security. Human security catalysts are often economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political security factors. Environmental security is needed in cases where the well-being or survival of the community is being threated due to human activity that threatens the environment or in cases of environmental change or degradation caused by conflict.

Constructivism in a method for studying social phenomena that focuses on the role of ideas in shaping our identities and gives meaning to the world around us. Constructing security interests involves identifying the threats that weapons pose, the enemy and humanitarian intervention, keeping in mind that threats are a part of an ideological issue. Securitization on the other hand is when threats are socially constructed by powerful actors and accepted by a relevant audience and identification of an existential threat that takes an issue beyond the usual rules of policies and calls for urgent extreme or extra-legal measures to respond, for example: The war on terror or the war on drugs.

While new forms of multilateralism to address human security have been established, such as the Human Security Network, regional responses to human security and the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development have strengths such as their crossregional representation abilities, ministerial level initiatives and the taking on of cutting edge issues such as landmines and child soldiers, there are also weaknesses- they are too dependent on individual leadership, lack a consensus on issues of hierarchy and have bad timing and  weak follow through.

The objective of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development is to raise global awareness of the negative impact of armed violence and support the reduction of armed violence. There are about 700,000 deaths annually due to armed violence with 40-50,000 as a result of direct conflict, homicides at 490,000 and 200,000 as a result of indirect conflict deaths. Excess mortality rates are used in these armed violence statistics. There are at least 875 billion weapons held worldwide with more than 2/3 in civilian hands, ¼ with armed forces, few with police and less than 1% with armed groups. New issues on the human security agenda tackle issues such as landmines, cluster munitions, small arms and light weapons, child soldiers, civilian protection and conflict goods.

What is humanitarian action? According to the OECD/DAC in 2007 is to save lives, alleviate suffering, maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies and should be consistent with principles of human dignity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Humanitarian action is so relevant because it is easier to send money in contemporary times, it is foreign policy by default, media attention and it is a way to contain refugee issues.

To be a humanitarian is to have a transnational concern to help persons in exceptional distress while humanitarianisms propound loft goals and hide deep contradictions. Intervention on the other hand is the interference, forcible or supported by force, of one independent state in the internal affairs of the other.

There are for categories in categorizing humanitarianism. The first being the Dunantsists, who are strictly impartial, neutral and independent. Then there are the Wilsonians who are broadly tuned with foreign policy of their home country and have a liberal democratic peace agenda. Thirdly there are Faith Based, such as Islamic relief and fourthly there are the Solidarists who seek justice, human rights or development in addition to the objective of humanitarian assistance. There  is also a difference between development aid and humanitarian aid, as development aid is transformative, long term and utilizes local leadership and humanitarian aid has a conservative agenda, is short term and requires external intervention. There are five different action modes, three of which fall under the guise of protection: denunciation, mobilization and persuasion and the other two being support and substitution.

Actors of humanitarian intervention are those who have political interest and won’t refer to situations, such as Libya, as civil war. If it were to be referred to as a civil wall, humanitarian intervention crisis argument then collapses.

What is terrorism? Terrorism are a universal problem, social phenomenon, a strategy, a tactic, technique, crime, resorted to by the weak against the strong, psychological and physical weapons and are elusive in their goals. Terrorism has a long history starting with the Zealots in the year 60 AD with the Jews in Palestine against the Romans, then the Assassins in 1090-1270 in Persia and then the French Revolution in 1792-1794. However, modern terrorism is born in the 1860s by means of  an organic relationship between terrorism and technology, being triggered especially by World War I. And religious terrorism does not start until the1980s.

The initial terrorist mode is the destruction of the most harmful persons in government and the punishment of official lawlessness., but there are difficulties in defining terrorism because it is a disputed and nebulous concept, the definition must stay away from the avowed reasons of the terrorist, yet take them into account, the direct targets of violence aren’t necessarily the main targets and the problem at the crossroads of ideology. Hence, the US Army, FBI and Department of State do not have a standard, agreed upon definition of terrorism, in fact the United Nations have been meeting for 20-30 years concerning devising a standard definition. Despite the inability to define terrorism there are main agreed upon features of terrorist attacks: they are organized, deliberate and systematic, politically motivated, the usage of force, indiscriminately targeting of civilians, meant to communicate a problem, aimed at a symbol, conducted by state or non-state actors, part of a campaign and to achieve strategic direct or indirect results. 

Remembering Rachel Corrie on the anniversary of her death



Dear Friend,

On this day 13 years ago, American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by Israeli soldiers driving a military bulldozer. She was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. According to numerous witnesses and photographic documentation, she was killed intentionally.

Representative Brian Baird from Washington State introduced a resolution in Congress calling on the federal government to “undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation” into Rachel’s death. The bill was co-sponsored by 77 representatives, but Congress took no action. 

The Corrie family then filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar Inc in 2005, alleging that Caterpillar supplied Israelis with bulldozers even though they knew they were being used to commit war crimes. The lawsuit was dismissed.

The Corrie family’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was also dismissed. The court acknowledged that the U.S. government paid for the bulldozer that killed Rachel, but said that they didn’t have the jurisdiction to rule on the “political question” of U.S. military aid to Israel. 

In 2010, the Corrie family filed a lawsuit in Israel against the Israeli Defense Forces. Israeli officials prevented the physician who had examined Rachel’s wounds from testifying in the case. The court ruled that Rachel was responsible for her own death. In 2014, the Corrie family’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Israel, and the IDF was absolved of any wrongdoing.

Keep Rachel’s message alive by sharing her story with your community. We have cards, a booklet of Rachel’s letters, and posters available for download and order.


U.S. taxpayers send Israel over $3 billion a year in military aid with virtually no strings attached, and now the prime minister of Israel wants $5 billion a year.

The majority of Americans oppose taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, but virtually all Democratic and Republican members of Congress continue to supply Israel with more and more weapons each year (Palestinians do not receive military aid).

American taxpayer dollars have enabled Israel to continue its decades-long illegal occupation of Palestinian land and deny Palestinians basic legal and human rights. With our money, Israeli forces have killed over 9,200 Palestinians as well as numerous international journalists and peace activists since 2000.

We are driving the violence in this region, and we must stop it.

This weekend, AIPAC kicks off its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump scheduled to give speeches. We hope you will join us this Sunday at noon at the White House to protest AIPAC’s influence on American politics and support Palestinian human rights. Your voice is urgently needed!

As always, thank for your commitment to peace, justice, and equality for all people.

The If Americans Knew team

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TRANSCRIPT: Foreign Press Center Briefing with Andrew O’Brien






MODERATOR:  Thank you again for coming to the New York Foreign Press Center.  Since everyone’s made their introductions, I’m not going to go introducing our speakers by name.  But all of you have their bios.  Today’s briefing is on the record.  After our guests make remarks, we’ll open the floor to questions.  Please state your name and your media affiliation before you do.  And with that, let me turn it over to Special Representative O’Brien.

MR O’BRIEN:  Good afternoon, everybody.  As I mentioned, I’m Drew O’Brien, and I am Secretary John Kerry’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State.  And our office is, obviously, delighted to share this platform today with the Darden School from the University of Virginia and Nick and Matt from Concordia.  I’m going to talk a little bit about the importance of partnerships at the State Department and within the U.S. Government and then – and that will sort of help us frame what we’re doing here with the P3 Impact Award. 

So our office, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, was launched in 2009, and we look at it as the entry point for collaboration between the public sector, the private sector, civil society, NGOs, universities.  We’ve talked a lot about universities over the years, so that’s why we’re particularly delighted that Darden is with us in this and civil society.  Under President Obama, public-private partnerships have become a priority for the U.S. Government, also under Secretary Kerry.  They’re a critical mechanism for strengthening our diplomatic connections, enhancing our development work, promoting economic growth, and safeguarding our long-term security as a nation.

Partnerships bring together the best of the public and private sector resources to leverage the creativity, innovation, and core resources of partners for greater impact and to create a holistic, sustainable solution to critical challenges.

We were – our office was created to serve as a resource for the rest of the State Department in learning how to do diplomatic and development work through partnerships.  And we manage a number of these things on our own, a number of these partnerships on our own, supporting the tech ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Southeast Asia, to – we’re the office, the point person for diaspora populations within the U.S. Government, to using mobile technology to help people in remote parts of the world.  So we do sort of a number of different things.  Tomorrow, we’ll have a big gathering on a virtual educational exchange at the Aspen Institute that will connect students and teachers in the Mideast and North Africa with students and teachers in the United States.

So what we’re doing – we all do pieces of this work, and we’re here together these next few days – what I call spread the partnership gospel to others.  We’re recognizing great work that’s done by our partners and organizations around the world.  And that’s what got us to this P3 Impact Award with both Darden and with Concordia.  We’ve created the award to recognize partnerships that are changing the world in most impactful ways.  This collaboration helps to better understand the mechanisms and best practices of a modern P3.  So this isn’t just sort of saying wow, aren’t they creative, aren’t they the best.  This is actually looking at the pieces that go into it, recognizing there are pieces that can be employed other places toward success. 

Judges from each of our organizations read over 50 applications this year and assessed them on each partner’s structure, impact, innovative features, and scalability.  And I will tell you, they were – I mean, I don’t like to be – you have these big competitions, everybody’s a winner. 

MR KREHMEYER:  Right.  (Laughter.)

MR O’BRIEN:  But everybody is a winner, because this is – in a lot of ways, this is cutting edge of what government’s doing, and we’re very fortunate that we’ve got some very willing and eager partners and enthusiastic partners in the private sector with Concordia and Darden. 

So I want to give my colleagues a chance to talk.  I think we’ll start with Dean, give a little UVA overview.

MR KREHMEYER:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Let me sort of add the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, delighted to once again partner with both the U.S. Department of State and Concordia in delivering the P3 Impact Award.

Drew sort of mentioned the finalists, and to say they were impressive and all the applications were impressive is kind of an understatement.  What we’re seeing and what we are seeing through last year’s applicants and this year’s applicants is that businesses absolutely and increasingly are joining in public-private partnerships to address global challenges.  They are providing a far-reaching impact on the communities and societies in which they operate. 

What we’re also seeing at the Darden School is this is of interest to our students.  This is of interest to students who are going to be the emerging leaders, tomorrow’s leaders, who are going to be engaging in these public-private partnerships.  And it’s important that they see this as one of the mechanisms, whereby when they are leading organizations and when they are leading business organizations, that they are looking broadly at how do these organizations really provide value to all of the stakeholders they serve.  One of the ways they do that is through the public-private partnerships, and there’s no better examples than the finalists we received.

One more note I’ll make about the P3 Impact Award is certainly it’s an award, and we had great applicants.  The team did a super job of selecting finalists.  But one of the important things about the award is yes, recognizing the finalists and recognizing who was selected as the winner of that, but also important and maybe more important is capturing the insights and the leading practices that come from those applications, that come from those finalists and that come from the winner, and how can we, through the report that we will issue tomorrow, share those insights and leading practices, so that other public-private partnerships or those that are thinking about engaging in public-private partnerships can utilize those learnings to be more effective in their own realm and sphere.

So let me just wrap up before – and I’ll turn it over to Matt and Nick – and sort of why is this important to the Darden School?  The Darden School – our mission is to improve the world by developing and inspiring responsible leaders and advancing knowledge.  And I can think of very few examples that would better illustrate that than recognizing these public-private partnerships – not just recognizing them, but also working with them to take the knowledge and sharing it broadly to have impact.

And with that, I’ll turn it over to Nick and Matt.

MR SWIFT:  Thank you very, very much, and first let me say on behalf of Concordia how honored we are by the partnership with the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and the U.S. Department of State.  This is a partnership that has really grown organically, come together very well, and it is one of the things that myself and Nick are most proud of as far as what we do at Concordia.

Concordia, as an institute, does three things.  We offer programming, primarily most known for our annual summit held every year during the UN General Assembly, and Nick will talk a little further about our annual summit, which is coming up starting tomorrow.  The second is our annual Partnership Index, and the third is our campaign series, which is really where we’re taking a lot of the public-private partnerships that are being built within the Concordia community, and we are helping make those have better social impact. 

But let me talk to the first part, because that’s how it connects really to the award, the raising awareness piece.  Concordia, we are proud to say, we strive to be one of the leading advocates for public-private partnerships in the world.  And as part of that, our global platform and the community that we have built is a place to highlight some of the best practices and some of the best, frankly, public-private partnerships in the world, and there’s no better way to do that than with the annual P3 Impact Award.  I have to say I was very pleased and proud of the number of applicants that came in this year, but also the quality of the applicants that came in this year.  The process to judge and determine who was the winner was a challenging one, because all of them were exceptional.  And what we hope that this award can do is show leaders of both the public and private sectors the real value of building their own public-private partnerships together.

So with that, I’ll pass to Nick.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  Thanks, Matt, and I’ll just – my name is Nick Logothetis, co-chairman and co-founder of Concordia along with Matt.  I just want to add my thanks to Dean and the University of Virginia and Drew and the team at the State Department.  I’ll just talk a little bit about our fifth annual summit, which is coming up tomorrow and on Friday.

So Concordia initially started as a yearly summit, which then grew to a multifaceted organization, but our summit has always been our flagship event.  And this year we’ll have about 1,000 people.  We’ll have over 20 current and former heads of state.  We’ll have some leading CEOs from companies Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, General Mills, Hershey’s, amongst others.  And we’re very particularly excited that this year we’ll have remarks from Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, at the end of the day tomorrow.

So as we continue to expand Concordia, we also have developed partnerships with organizations that are real experts in what they do – organizations like the Atlantic Council, like the Rockefeller Foundation, like others.  And so we have individual sessions with those different organizations throughout the day.

So we hope that you’ll be able to join us tomorrow and the next day, or one of the days.  Will Hummel in the back there is working with us on our press outreach, and so we’d welcome you to come and see and experience what Concordia is about.  And I just wanted to say thank you again.

MR O’BRIEN:  I think if I could add two more cents about both partners – University of Virginia, the Darden School, where there’s – the colloquial expression is “Talk the talk, walk the walk,” and they do.  As Dean said, you will see what we’re talking about today is infused in their students, it’s infused in their learning life. 

And that makes a big difference, because what I think we’re trying to do – the State Department angle of this – we are trying to help people around the world prepare for an economy that’s 21st century and beyond.  I – different parts of where I go in the world, I use the metaphor that we’re trying – a lot of places 100, 150 years ago had a shipyard or a big factory in their town, small town, big city.  They had something that everybody went to every day and went to work.  That’s how they paid their mortgage, fed their families.  Those don’t exist anymore; we all know that.  There are large companies, but those don’t exist.  We are trying in a lot of ways – I use the metaphor, we’re creating the shipyard of the future.  And it’s at people’s kitchen tables, at their home offices.  It’s at a small business park in a non-urban area.  It’s everywhere.  And that’s what we’re trying to do.  We’re trying to help people think differently. 

Concordia.  If you have not been to the Concordia summit, my opinion – my opinion – it’s the premier private sector – public-private sector event in the world.  I mean, I go to a lot of events.  This is a room loaded with excitement, it’s a room loaded with people that are eager to talk about the issue.  So we are very fortunate to have this great university partner and this forum that this team here at Concordia’s put together.  It is – if you get a chance to go, go.  You will be completely overwhelmed.  So —

MR SWIFT:  Thank you.  Thank you.

MR O’BRIEN:  No, and it’s true.  It’s very accurate. 

Questions?  I know that you joined a little bit late.

QUESTION:  I’m sorry.

MR O’BRIEN:  That’s quite all right.

QUESTION:  Sorry about that.

MR O’BRIEN:  No, no worries.  We can talk to you a little bit afterwards if you’d like to.  Questions?

MODERATOR:  The floor is open for questions.  State your name and media affiliation.

QUESTION:  I don’t even know where to start.  I’m really overwhelmed.  This is really very powerful and insightful.  So my name is Bukola Shonuga; I’m with the African Views Framework.  And I attended a few events this week with the president of Nigeria in town.  And they’re looking for foreign partnership – for foreign partnerships and foreign direct investment and so on, and also looking to see how they can harness (inaudible).

So when you talk about best practices, Nigeria can be a case study of corruption and lack of adequate resources.  Even when you look at a university education in the last 30 years, that’s an issue that (inaudible) taking over the government right now.  So there are no existing industries for graduates to directly work when they graduate and come out of the universities.  So I think that finding a way to private partner with this group will be one thing that we would like to recommend to the Nigerian Government, like let’s – it’s a new day.  So if you’re talking about that much population and you’re looking to have youth employment or reverse, you have to first talk about best practices. 

So it’s a long-winded, but my direct question is – and I’m really sorry that it was long-winded – will you take Africa in this context?  What are your views of what is happening in Africa towards best practices, and how they can better utilize their resources to be the 21st century climate that it should be?  And what would you – in terms of partnership with African countries, what would that look like to you?

MR O’BRIEN:  Would you like me to – it’s a very good question.  And – so President Obama in particular has placed a lot of emphasis on our outreach to Africa as a U.S. Government for what is now amounting to a good chunk of his both terms.  And there’s – not only is it important in a geographical sort of way, but the reality is the world’s youth population is in Africa, and it will obviously continue to be that way.  So it’s – the world population will be very Africa-centric in the years ahead.  Africa has the potential to be the world’s bread basket.  Africa is a place where people are enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and education, and I can talk a little bit about something our office does there. 

There are – there’s a lot of opportunity there.  It’s a matter of harnessing – doing sort of what we’re doing; making sure that government is focused on bringing the private sector to the equation, working with universities, working with other – we do a lot of work with hospitals and health centers.  We – you have to be creative about this, so I think you have to be very open-minded about it, because government – and I’m talking about the United States Government – but government at one time was seen as fixing everybody’s issues here, right.  If you look at sort of the post-war – post-World War II economy, U.S. Government did a lot for people, particularly after the Depression; not even the World War, but after the Depression.  And that sort of – that influence has waned a little bit.  You can see it in our political climate.  And the direct foreign investment that we used to give away as a country has declined sort of steadily too. 

What’s the solution?  The solution is public-private partnerships.  It’s bringing the private sector into the equation.  Now, that could mean a Fortune 500 company; it could mean a Fortune 50 company.  But I think for the work we’re doing, it’s getting people to think differently about how this equation works, and it’s finding young entrepreneurs, people who have great ideas, people who haven’t had the opportunity to have a formal education who may need that.  And how do we make those links, and how do we show people who are – everybody’s going to – not everybody, but a lot of people make their living around the world, like I said, at their kitchen table, in their home office, at a small business park.  Nobody should be left behind because that’s how the world economy is headed.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  And just to add, what Concordia tries to do is not be an advocate for business and not be an advocate for government.  We’re an entirely nonpartisan, nonpolitical organization.  We try and bring the two groups together to help them better understand one another, to help them work more efficiently together, but also, as Matt said, I think, to learn from other experiences.  Because there are unique ways to do business in different parts of the world, but there are many things that are similar.  And so that’s what we try to play a role in.

Specifically as it relates to Africa, I’ll be honest with you:  Concordia has not been as strong in Africa as we would like.  We hope that’s changing.  This year we have our first African CEO representative, a gentleman by the name of Jabulane Mabuza, who’s the CEO of Telkom in South Africa.  And we’re very excited about that and hope to build upon what – he is on a panel to talk about youth unemployment – and build upon what sort of comes from that panel.

MR SWIFT:  And I will also say we have a session entirely dedicated to public-private partnerships and health, focusing on Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, which is a very important initiative from the State Department as well.  So we will be – this will be the first year that we’re doing programming focused on the continent, and specifically in the area of health.

MR O’BRIEN:  There’s – so we do – we have – our office has a program called LIONS@FRICA, which makes linkages between entrepreneurship communities in the United States – Cambridge, Massachusetts; Silicon Valley; Charlottesville, Virginia; and – just to name a few of sort of the – Miami – places we work with in connection with aspiring entrepreneurs, and takes them through trainings over the course of five to seven days on how to pitch a product, how to talk to an investor – soup-to-nuts entrepreneurship crash course.  We do that.  The Global Entrepreneurship Summit was just on the continent this past year.  There’s a lot happening there.  There’s a lot of things to be excited about.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MR O’BRIEN:  Yes, sir.

QUESTION:  Bingxin Li from People’s Daily in China, but I’m based at the UN.  Talking about the Africa – the partnership in Africa, China has a lot of investment in Africa, and there used to be a lot of state-owned companies there, but now there are more and more private companies in Africa, and also as well as the U.S.

MR O’BRIEN:  Right.

QUESTION:  Mainly, they’re private companies.  How – is there a possibility of U.S. and China partnership in helping African countries to – especially in the industrialization of them, (inaudible)?

MR O’BRIEN:  I think one of the things that actually – of the equations – and I’m sorry to jump on this question, gentlemen —


MR O’BRIEN:  One of the equations we see that works very well is when we do have a multilateral or even a bilateral arrangement with another country on a particular issue area.  We see this work very well with health and health care.  We see it work very well – I mentioned the event we have tomorrow down in Washington at the Aspen Institute of virtual educational exchanges, because it’s multilateral.  It’s the United States Government working not only with the private sector and NGOs, but also with other governments. 

So I would say the direct answer is yes, and it’s a matter of doing what we’re doing here, which is trying to find the pieces to put together for success.


QUESTION:  Vasco De Jesus Rodrigues, I’m from Vasco Press Communications in Brazil.  Any thoughts on the Brazilian situation with the economy —


QUESTION:  — on the low side?  Okay, please —

MR O’BRIEN:  Anyone want to – who wants to – I mean, I can talk about —

MR KREHMEYER:  We’ll let you start on that one.  (Laughter.)

MR O’BRIEN:  Sure, but – so we work with other countries that – whose economies are on an upswing, we work with them that are stagnant, and we work with them when they are on a downturn.  So I think what we do is actually – it’s not – I don’t want to say it’s immune from the larger economic situation, but in fact, we’re a solution – what we’re trying to do here.  Public-private partnerships are a solution to that.  We try – the things that government cannot do, we go to the private sector to help us.  For the things that the private sector cannot do, either we’re doing or helping find other pieces to put together.

There’s a very significant large corporate U.S. presence in Brazil.  General Motors comes to mind.  It’s a great – and a great partner to our office – to the Secretary’s office, and they do help with other initiatives around the world.  So we’re – I think we’re one of the solutions when it comes to sort of difficult economic times.  We’re one of the – we sort of keep on chugging.  In fact, opportunity may even knock when that happens. 

MR KREHMEYER:  I would just sort of add, and another way of looking at it is times of stress are often some of the times that create some of the innovations.  And we actually, at the Darden School, have another awards program where we have looked at, within the Commonwealth of Virginia and looking at growing it, what makes resilient businesses resilient.  And it’s looking at how have those companies that are in some of the most difficult economic areas within Virginia – how have they thrived, how have they grown, how have they added employees.

And once again, it’s an award, but let’s don’t stop at the award.  We certainly don’t.  We want to take the learnings from that, which we’ve done, given it to our faculty to look at what are some of the success factors.  And I’ll tell you what one of them is.  One of them is kind of what Drew referred to, is is there an ecosystem around those businesses that is providing support.  And that includes communities that are engaged with the business, that includes trade associations, that includes government, public sector partners – all those things that create an ecosystem where success raises all those stakeholders together. 

So we’ve seen that on the scale of a Virginia.  I would suggest that the findings would be true globally as well.

QUESTION:  Could you give us a bit of – sorry, I’m Gabriel Mellqvist with Sweden’s business newspaper.  Could you give a historical perspective on the growth of this compared to five, ten years ago as the private sectors obviously demonstrated a bigger interest, or how has this (inaudible)?

MR SWIFT:  I would say significantly.  I think —

MR O’BRIEN:  They know this stuff inside and out.  (Laughter.)  This is their thing.

MR SWIFT:  I think for the last 15 years you’ve seen public-private partnerships, or P3s as we call them, as becoming very trendy in the business community.  I think there are so many instances that can be cited where there’s been a failure of the public sector, a failure of the private sector, to accomplish what they need to.  I think disaster relief is a very obvious arena where the private sector has stepped in and played an enormous role.  And it is partnerships between corporations and governments – state, local, federal government here in the U.S. – where that has played an enormous role.  And so one of the reasons why Nick and I founded Concordia in early 2011 was because we saw this as a trend that was growing.  And if you’re the CEO of a large corporation, whether it’s your corporate social responsibility initiatives or something else, the public-private partnership model, I think, is a very appealing one to a CEO.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  And it’s more and more, in certain cases, becoming not only appealing but essential if you want to do business in some places.  And I mean, we can say that there are – another reason why Matt and I founded Concordia was there are – at times it is difficult to work with business and it is difficult to work with government.  People – I think the question we get asked the most is:  Who’s more difficult – business or government?  (Laughter.)  And it really – there’s no answer to that.  It really varies in case to case. 

In some cases you have a very entrepreneurial government, and I mean in different countries and different cities, who are pushing for it, who are acting like business in a sense.  And in other cases you have a very bureaucratic government and a very entrepreneurial business where – but it really varies.  And so what we tried to do was, as one of our main tenets, create a hub where those two groups could come together and learn from one another.

MR SWIFT:  And let me comment on the private sector side.  Here’s what – where we see this going.  The CSR models at a lot of corporations today I think have an impact, but I think the public-private partnership model – the tool of P3s – are very much going to become the norm as part of the CSR approach that these companies take.  And that’s very important, because there’s a lot of goodwill and interest on the public sector side and the private sector side, and in so many instances the public sector brings tremendous scale, the private sector brings great efficiency, and those two brought together really can create powerful P3s.  And I think all of the P3s that applied for the award this year, and certainly the five finalists, which will be highlighted over the next two days, with the winner being announced by Drew and Dean and our director of research on Friday – I think you’ll see the evidence of that.

MR O’BRIEN:  Yeah, and when I first took this position, when I was appointed to this position almost two and a half years ago, one of the first reactions you get from people is that you basically have your hand out, that you’re the U.S. Government going to talk to the private sector about what can – what’s in it for us, can you donate to this, can you donate to that.  And that’s one part of the job. 

I came to understand very quickly that it’s – and again, this is – these folks around the table with me study this and know this – this is about so many other things beyond money.  This is beyond you’re – it’s the CSR that sort of everybody has in common, it’s that social responsibility that everybody has in common.  It can be a question of resources.  And I’m throwing names up, but Bank of America is very good with – a very great partner to our office and to the State Department on resources at different level.  IBM has a model where their employees go and work in country.  Not only are they working at maybe an IBM facility, but they’re actually engaged in some sort of public-private initiative in the area.  That’s a tremendous model. 

So as much as this can be about money that goes to a certain effort, you name it, this is about a lot of other things – resources, people sort of putting their shoulder behind it and their brains behind it.  So again, everybody with me studies this and knows sort of the intellectual promise of this, and it is – as Matt said, it’s – it is where everything is headed on the business front.  They were very wise to go down this road.

QUESTION:  A quick follow-up.  Do we know why companies suddenly are so interested in this?  Do you have any idea where it comes from?

MR O’BRIEN:  I would say the pressures of the global economy are making companies better global citizens.

MR SWIFT:  Yeah.  I think also the information revolution has made every person in the world sort of aware of what’s going on around them and sort of created a reporter out of everyone.  And that puts a lot of pressure on companies to act in a certain way.  I think you also see a lot of cities – cities are really leaders in this front – and countries that are looking to reconstruct or re-reconstruct, like a city like Athens, Greece.  It’s not an emerging country.  It’s sort of re-emerging, in a sense, after economic depression there, using – trying to use public-private partnerships as a tool to really reinvent their city.  And cities often have more flexibility to act over states or countries.

MR KREHMEYER:  And I will add from my perspective students.

MR O’BRIEN:  Students.

MR KREHMEYER:  Students, millenials.  This generation is one that – and I think we should all be very optimistic about it – it’s a generation that wants to positively change the world.  And you see all those complexities that we talked about.  You see the integration of the global economy.  You see the information age.  They are looking at how can I lead organizations and lead initiatives that are really going to drive a lot of positive impact, notable impact.  And for all the reasons that in particular Matt was just describing of why the public sector and private sector are coming together in these partnerships, those are exactly the reasons that students see as well.  And that is certainly a tailwind that is pushing these public-private partnerships, I think, in a very positive way.

QUESTION:  I was just going to – on a (inaudible) note, this sounds like the TED talk.  (Laughter.)  And on a serious note, I think it’s – I mean, especially with the breakthrough of technology, there are so many ways to get information across the world without having to be there.  So I was just wondering again, in developing countries, if there are any plans, especially on the Acordia part – what’s your organization again?

MR SWIFT:  Concordia.

QUESTION:  Concordia, I’m sorry – to make this information available via a virtual training platform so that other young people, especially entrepreneurs and professionals around the world, would gain access to this information and be able to use it to empower their community.

MR SWIFT:  Absolutely.  And that’s something that we will do in the future.  We have not done that yet, but every – at all of our forums and especially our annual summit, we have a series of sessions that we call P3 toolboxes, which is really where you come and you learn real – the basics, the fundamentals of how to construct a public-private partnership.  Those have been very popular with our community, our global community that comes together, especially for the annual summit.  But I think incorporating technology in that would be a – would be a great way to —

MR LOGOTHETIS:  In other words, to package those eventually and then sort of release them to the world.

QUESTION:  It’s also very clear that young people around the world actually have – they know the solutions to their problems; they just don’t have the resources to make some of these things happen.  And I think an organization such as yours do really a lot of good if they have access to that information.

MR SWIFT:  Absolutely.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  Absolutely.

QUESTION:  I’m a little bit slow, so can you give me – can you tell me more about the competition – how it works, who applies, what are the criteria, and just a little background?

MR SWIFT:  Dean?

MR KREHMEYER:  Sure, happy to do it.  So what we do is we open the competition at the beginning of the year and use a number of media channels, social media channels, including great channels at all of our organizations, to invite applications.  And we invite them from, as you might imagine, partners in the private sector, partners in the public sector, and oftentimes NGOs that might be involved as well.  So we invite those.  We extensively use our network. 

The applications, when they’re received, are then reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges.  Each of the applications gets multiple readings, and the judges then select the finalists – the five finalists and the winner, which, as Matt said, we will be featuring the finalists over the next two days at the summit and announcing the winner on Friday.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  Are we allowed to say the finalists now or no?

MR SWIFT:  Of course, that’s public who the finalists are.  We can take you through the finalists if you would like.


MR SWIFT:  So I think we’ll start with the first one.  Partners in Food Solutions.  That’s a partnership between USAID as well as TechnoServe, and it’s a partnership with General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, and Buhler; also a partnership between the Nature Conservancy and Dow Chemical; a partnership focusing on Madagascar between Coca-Cola, RAIN, WSUP, and the Africa Foundation; TV White Space, which is a partnership between Microsoft and USAID; and then also the U.S. Global Development Lab partnering with Village Capital.  Did I – did I miss anything? 

MR KREHMEYER:  Yep, that’s correct.  Yep.

MR O’BRIEN:  That’s it.

MR SWIFT:  And so they will be – there will be five-minute features of each partnership over the two-day period, and then the winner will actually be announced by Secretary Kerry. 

MR O’BRIEN:  That’s right, via video.  (Laughter.)

MR SWIFT:  Yes.  (Laughter.)

MR KREHMEYER:  Secretary Kerry.

MR SWIFT:  Asterisk.


MR SWIFT:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)

MR O’BRIEN:  Via video.  Statistic-wise, just important to reference Matt’s indication that this will grow, we had – and we did the first one last year in 2014 – we had 18 applications.  This year, I think we had at least 50.

MR SWIFT:  Fifty-two.

MR O’BRIEN:  Fifty-two.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  Read off some of the names.  I mean —

MR SWIFT:  We have Chevron, Dow, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wal-Mart, Save the Children, Unilever, Nike, Discovery Education, Walt Disney Company, Yale University, the Nature Conservancy, TechnoServe, RAIN, USAID, Microsoft.  All were applicants in some form, those partnerships.

QUESTION:  Was there a theme of this year’s competition?  Is it about water or —


QUESTION:  Just any —

MR O’BRIEN:  We look at – I mean, anybody in the partnership space can apply.  We had a whole range – health and sanitation, environment, education, technology, public safety, economic development.  We had applications from across the board. 

MR KREHMEYER:  What’s interesting to me about the names of the organizations that you read, Matt, is – and encouraging to me – is that these are leading global organizations.  These are organizations with – yes, deep resources, both financial and capability leadership skill-wise, and a lot of demands on those resources.  And yet one of the important priorities that they place at the head of this list is their engagement in these public-private partnerships, which I think reinforces some of the points we’re making here – is to see these leading organizations, it’s in a lot of ways – we get some, I think, intangible benefit because we actually get to read through all these and really see the exciting things going on in the world of public-private partnerships.

QUESTION:  In the light of this – something just came to mind – with the recent recall of 11 million cars by Volkswagen – is that the news, something to that effect, they have recalled —

MR SWIFT:  I think it’s 17.

QUESTION:  How many?

MR O’BRIEN:  It’s more than 11.

MR SWIFT:  I think it’s 17 —

MR O’BRIEN:  Seventeen —

MR SWIFT:  — as of today.

QUESTION:  Anyone comment on that quickly?

MR O’BRIEN:  I don’t – I actually don’t know enough about the issue. 

QUESTION:  So – okay. 

MODERATOR:  So I think we’re just about out of time unless I see a hand raised, one more question or so?  Well, if —

MR O’BRIEN:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  — there are no more questions, everyone, thank you all very much.

MR O’BRIEN:  No, that’s very great.  Thank you very much.

MR SWIFT:  Thank you all for coming.

MR LOGOTHETIS:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Today’s briefing was on the record and our transcript will be posted as soon as it’s ready at, and that concludes today’s briefing.  Thank you so much.