Washington, DC. – On Friday, October 12, several of the world’s top CEOs and diplomats gathered in Washington to discuss the state of global leadership at the Meridian Global Leadership Summit. The event, hosted by Meridian International Center, in partnership with Gallup and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, mixed Gallup World Poll results with insights from David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, The Carlyle Group; Jay L. Johnson, Chairman & CEO, General Dynamics Corporation; Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO, FedEx; Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO, Gallup; Her Excellency Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the U.S.; and His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S.
The Summit, which was Co-Chaired by Jay L. Johnson and Sydney McNiff Johnson and generously supported by Presenting Sponsor General Dynamics, enjoyed a sold-out audience of more than 250 leaders of major multi-national corporations, as well as members of the diplomatic corps, including His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia; His Excellency Dr. Hans Peter Manz, Ambassador of Austria; His Excellency Alieu Momodou Ngum, Ambassador of The Gambia; and His Excellency Mario E. Jaramillo, Ambassador of Panama. As stated by Jay L. Johnson – “By convening this cross-section of international and domestic policy-makers, corporate and diplomatic leaders, along with members of the media, this Summit offers us a few hours of substantive dialogue, exchange, and networking centered on the topic of global leadership.”
At the center of the dialogue between the leaders was the “Global States of Mind: New Metrics for World Leaders” Report, which was released at the Summit and captures the key findings of the Gallup World Poll. The Gallup World Poll (the only global study of its kind) measures the views of citizens from 160 countries on key quality of life issues, including law and order; food and shelter; institutions and infrastructure; and good jobs.
According to Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO of Gallup, “This is a crucial new report because one of Gallup’s biggest discoveries is that there is no leadership as dangerous as leadership that doesn’t understand the will of its nation’s citizens. Because when world leaders have their premises and assumptions wrong – as in Tunisia, Egypt, and others yet to be revealed – and leaders lead with wrong assumptions, the worse they make their country and the world.”
In three dynamic panel discussions, the participants discussed the importance leaders must place on understanding their constituencies, including their wellbeing and prosperity. They also discussed the increased emphasis on collaboration between businesses and governments in achieving these goals, as well as meeting general community and societal development needs. According to Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO of FedEx, “FedEx today is very central to the way the world works. We take a lot of pride in delivering medical devices such as the defibrillator or helping to keep the big retailers functioning. Our services have profound implications for the world economy and get us a ringside seat at virtually everything.”
The Global Leadership Summit was also the stage for the launch of the Meridian Global Leadership Institute and the Meridian Global Leadership Development Program. These unique training courses were designed to provide private and public sector leaders with the tools they need to be successful in the areas of corporate engagement, expansion, competition and business in overseas markets. According to Ambassador Stuart W. Holliday, President and CEO of the Meridian International Center – “In a world that is increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing, the strategic and operational challenges for businesses and organizations are formidable – and the opportunities are unprecedented. Navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the global economy requires the ability to manage diverse constituencies, engage stakeholders, think inclusively, form alliances, bridge differences, shape perceptions, harvest ideas, move quickly, adapt resiliently…It requires a new commitment to achieving global leadership – throughout the entire organization.”
This Summit was part of the ongoing Meridian-Gallup Global Leadership Summit series. Each spring, the Summit looks at international opinion of US leadership, based on Gallup’s World Poll. The Fall Summit focuses on perceptions of internal leadership in over 100 countries.
Friday’s successful leadership dialogue was followed by Meridian’s Annual Ball and accompanying Ambassador-hosted dinners. Celebrating its 44th year, the Ball was presided over by Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama, Congressional Co-Chairs Irene Hirano Inouye and Kristi Rogers, Honorary Sponsor Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States, Ball Chairs Jay L. Johnson and Sydney McNiff Johnson, and White-Meyer Co-Chairs Loran and Robert Aiken and Ashley and Matt Bronczek. In addition to Presenting Sponsor General Dynamics, the Ball and Summit were also made possible by Lead Sponsors FedEx Express and Turkish Airlines, and Benefactors Chevron and Gallup. For a full list of sponsors, please visit our website.
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Meridian International Center promotes global leadership through the exchange of ideas, people, and culture. Meridian’s mission is to create innovative exchange, education, cultural, and policy programs that advance three goals: 1) Strengthen U.S. engagement with the world through the power of exchange; 2) Prepare public and private sector leaders for a complex global future; 3) Provide a neutral forum for international collaboration across sectors.
For more information, please visit: www.meridian.org/events/the-meridian-ball-and-global-leadership-summit
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