The University Record, May 6, 2002

Albright hosts Davidson conference

By Mike Waring
U-M Washington, D.C. Office

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright along with dozens of diplomats and corporate leaders convened in Washington last month for the first of a series of high-level round table discussions dealing with globalization.

The half-day session, “Winning the Peace While Fighting the War: A Results-Oriented Agenda for Closing the Rich/Poor Gap,” was sponsored by the William Davidson Institute, an affiliate of the U-M Business School. Albright, who currently serves as the first distinguished scholar for the institute, led the high-level discussions, along with Davidson Institute Director Jan Svejnar and Business School Dean Robert Dolan.

Numerous members of Congress participated in the conference, including Michigan lawmakers Sander Levin, Lynn Rivers and John Dingell. Ambassadors from 12 nations also spoke, along with such American corporate leaders as J. Willard Marriott Jr. of Marriott International and Frederic Poses of American Standard Companies.

The session focused on the efficacy of American foreign aid and whether such aid actually reaches the poor for whom it is intended, and how to make such assistance more effective in encouraging other nations to create better systems of governance.

One participant estimated that there is more than $9.3 trillion in “dead capital” in the hands of the poor that could be unlocked through changes in property rights and improved access to legal protections in other countries. Women also must be engaged in developing countries to control capital and make positive decisions for their families about the use of resources.

As a result of the discussion, a report will be produced and an agenda will be created to guide policy makers on the best ways to use grants, soft loans and traditional loans to help Third World countries. It also is anticipated that further briefings for congressional staff will occur, with a strong probability that hearings on these issues will be held in Congress. Additional round table discussions are envisioned to continue the dialogue on these issues.

For more information, contact Sharon Robinson of the William Davidson Institute’s Washington, D.C., office, (202) 354-3885 or sharrob@umich.edu.