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Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, EU Ambassador Discuss Global Economy
June 15, 2012
The World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., hosted the event in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium.
Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, head of the delegation of the European Union to the United States, discussed the challenges of today’s global economy and the importance of partnerships in a June 11 event sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., in the Jack Morton Auditorium.
“We are all truly now global citizens,” underpinned by a global economy, Sen. Hagel, chairman of the Atlantic Council and a Georgetown University professor, said in opening remarks. “We will continue to face the issues that we are having to grapple with when a new world is being built.”
Economic and political instability, bailouts and high unemployment are just a few of the problems plaguing European countries, said Stella Dawson, U.S. specialist economics director at Thomson Reuters and moderator of the event. The repercussions affect the United States, which is struggling to rebuild its economy, too.
This volatility, said Sen. Hagel, can lead to confusion, chaos and conflict, so it’s “all the more reason for steady, wise, careful, integrated, global partnerships.”
Amb. Almeida agreed. “Who can today say, ‘This is my little problem, I can solve it myself and forget about the rest?’ ” He added, though, that he is optimistic about the overall direction of the world and the positive effects of globalization.
Yet consensus and partnerships are hard to come by. Sen. Hagel pointed to a media machine obsessed with confrontation. He used to appear on Sunday morning talk shows, he said, that framed him as “clashing with” or “taking on” another senator. “It’s all about divide, it’s all about opposition,” he said.
Amb. Almeida offered some insight into why consensus can be difficult to achieve among the 27 members of the European Union.
“If you imagine a country that only has one president, two parties and one Congress—imagine that—and you realize how difficult it is for a country like that, which I’m not identifying, to reach a consensus,” he said jokingly. “Multiply this by 27, and you will realize how difficult my life is.”
If anything is certain, the pair agreed, it is that any substantial, long-term solutions will take time to develop—and will only develop with strong global partnerships.
At the conclusion of the event, George Washington University President Steven Knapp offered remarks and awards for both Sen. Hagel and Amb. Almeida. Sen. Hagel was recognized for his career in public service and outstanding global leadership while Amb. Almeida was recognized for his outstanding commitment to international public service and global education.
“The opportunity to host discussions like this is one of the areas in which the missions of the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., and the George Washington University very nicely converge,” Dr. Knapp said.