BOG 2017: Geopolitical Symposium Debates Global Issues
In a stimulating panel discussion moderated by Chairman of the Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, and attended by a packed house, three acclaimed public figures presented their views on pressing current issues. These were Amb. Stuart E. Eizenstat, Special Advisor to the US Secretary of State on Holocaust Issues, former US Ambassador to the EU and 2017 laureate of TAU’s George S. Wise Medal; the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, former Prime Minister of Australia and 2017 TAU Honorary Doctor; and Mr. Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank, former Governor of the Bank of France and a 2000 TAU Honorary Doctor.
The symposium was held at the Raya and Josef Jaglom Auditorium.
Introducing the participants, Prof. Frenkel noted that Mr. Abbott had led Australia through a dramatic period successfully. “In terms of Australia’s relations with Israel, we could not have had a better ally in Mr. Abbott,” he said.
In his presentation, Mr. Abbott reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to “supporting Israel within secure borders.” He opined that although Israel’s economy and military are strong, the people-to-people relations between Israel and its neighbors remain cold. “Very few of Israel’s neighbors accept that Israel has the right to exist. This will be the work of a generation or more,” he said.
Amb. Eizenstat spoke of the unsettling impact of globalization on what he termed, “the other side of the digital divide – those who are not able to connect.” Since the 2008 financial crisis the middle classes have lost jobs and homes. “We have to recognize the needs of those who do not benefit from globalization,” he stressed.
Mr. Trichet spoke of the current challenges facing the European Union, including pressure on the single euro currency, Brexit, and the debate over what he called “the reformist paradigm” – the trend toward federalizing the EU.
The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session.