Marco Polo Meets Hadrian’s Wall – A Reading of Robert Kaplan

By Jonas Parello-Plesner, Co-Chair of Meridian’s Rising Leaders Council Steering Committee & Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute The Rising Leaders Council at Meridian International Center had the pleasure of hosting foreign affairs expert Robert Kaplan for a salon dinner last week while he was in Washington, DC talking about his new book The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century. Having read the book prior to the event and then engaging Kaplan in conversation on stage, I have some thoughts based on my reading of the book. The Return of Marco Polo’s...

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Interns’ International Experiences Enhance Cultural Exchange

A combined total of 20.5 years abroad in 15 different countries. Eight foreign languages spoken. GlobalConnect division’s five new interns embody the diversity of backgrounds and cultural experiences Meridian emphasizes as the foundation for global leadership. Exploring Cultural Outreach through YLAI YLAI (Young Leaders of the Americas) Program  Intern Alexandria Anderson also understands the importance of cross-cultural communication in community development. As an undergraduate at Spelman College, Anderson studied abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia in a field studies-based program focused on multiculturalism, globalization, and social change. From potato farming with her host family to participating in a welcoming ceremony in...

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Ukraine – Communicating Strategically

Ukraine has been a constant topic in the global news cycle over the past year or so, especially since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014.  The public narrative and the news cycle around that particular event and the subsequent unrest in eastern Ukraine have been driven primarily by Western media on one hand and by Russian media outlets on the other.  Little in this global discussion and debate has been shaped by Ukraine’s own narrative.  One may legitimately ask, “Why is this the case?” In part this has to do with the reality of...

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Freedom of Expression Key to U.S.-France Counterterrorism

As in the United States, journalists and independent media play a critical role in French society. Dating back to the establishment of “fourth estate” the French have protected their right to investigate, critique, and lampoon those who hold positions of power. During a recent dinner with French journalists in Washington on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), I was reminded of our shared values and challenges. My discussion with French journalists Vincent Jarnigon and Violette Lazard underscored a fundamental challenge binds us together. Both nations have nurtured the notion of freedom of expression and tolerance....

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The “Spark” of Euromaidan and Meridian

When I meet international visitors, most of which are participating in one of Meridian’s exchange programs, I often talk about the impact of these exchanges on the lives and careers of previous participants. I often mention Meridian alumni who went on to shine in the global spotlight. Some are very well-known: Nicolas Sarkozy, Mikhail Saakashvili, Romano Prodi, Hamid Karzai, Margaret Thatcher. A few are better known locally: Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, President of Guatemala, Norovyn Altankhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia, Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat, Finland’s current President, Sauli Niinisto, or Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister of Israel. In total, some 168 current or former heads of state have stepped through Meridian’s doors mostly as participants in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.

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