Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Watson's 'Prominenci' Agenda Brings Together Former Leaders of Austria, Chile, and Italy

April 1, 2010

Three former national leaders will be in residence together at the Institute in early April, as part of Watson's "prominenci" agenda for bringing leading policymakers and academics into collaboration to shape alternative futures for a better world. Emblematic of this approach is a public panel on Wednesday, April 14, on "The World in 2030: Tomorrow's Scenarios, Today's Responsibilities," featuring all three leaders: former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Chile's past President Ricardo Lagos, and former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. But there is much more on their schedules.

Romano Prodi, Brown Professor at Large
Prodi, who is also a past president of the European Commission, will begin his visit with a roundtable discussion on Monday, April 5, on "Italy and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership," in which he will be joined by the Italian Consul General in Boston, Liborio Stellino, and others.

The event, co-sponsored with the Department of Italian Studies, will address questions including the following:
• As the many nations on the Mediterranean Sea struggle with their multiple identities, economies, and politics – and with relationships across Europe – how are they progressing with the creation of the 43-nation "Euro-Mediterranean Partnership?"
• Will the Partnership result in freer trade, improved security, and greater cultural exchange?
• What is Italy's role in the region and the Partnership?

During Prodi's last visit at the Watson Institute, in the fall, he participated with Gusenbauer in a four-part series of panels on "The European Union in a Moment of Crisis." Videos and summaries of all four panels are available here.

Ricardo Lagos, Brown Professor at Large
Arriving in residence at Brown in the wake of two devastating earthquakes in his region of the world, Lagos will speak publicly about these emergencies in their broader context on Thursday, April 8.

Among the issues he will address in his talk on "Responsibility, Relief, and Recovery in Chile and Haiti" are:
• Similarities and differences in the earthquakes and their aftermaths;
• Historical inequalities as a factor in disasters; and
• Economic, social, and political reverberations in both countries.

When he was in residence in the fall, Lagos sat for a video to discuss the state of progressive politics worldwide. A clip can be viewed below.

Alfred Gusenbauer, Watson Institute Visiting Professor
On Thursday, April 15, Gusenbauer will give a talk titled "After Greece: Europe’s Economic Imbalances and their International Implications." 

Europe’s leaders have promised a new and potentially contentious effort to coordinate economic policies and bring some measure of balance among their widely divergent national economies. Following the recent debt crisis in Greece and fearing the prospect of similar problems in other European states, leaders of all 16 nations that use the single euro currency have agreed to reshape the way the euro is managed. Gusenbauer will analyze how this new balancing act could play out in Europe and around the world.

Gusenbauer has already spent some time at the Institute this spring, and a video of his talk in March on "Global Economic Crisis and the Next Wave of Change in Post-Communist Europe" can be viewed here.

More Activities
While in residence, all three leaders spend time with students and faculty – and each other – contributing to the Institute's research and teaching on global issues while also pursuing their own research and writing and work in such capacities as chair of the African Union-UN Panel for Peacekeeping in Africa (Prodi), United Nations special envoy on climate change (Lagos), and leadership in the Socialist International (Gusenbauer).

As Institute Director Michael Kennedy has said, "The Watson Institute for International Studies is extremely fortunate to be able to host very distinguished visitors, but even more significant than that, to organize conferences and discussions with them that wind up having lasting impact."