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The Pathfinder – Harvard University Launch ‘Leadership Dialogue’( Leadership)


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The Pathfinder/Harvard Seminar Series on Leadership Dialogue was launched recently at the American Center, Colombo.  Jeffry Frieden, Professor of Government at Harvard University who specialises in the politics of international monetary and financial relations, was the inaugural speaker. 

A selected audience of private sector representatives, senior officials and the academia participated through video link-ups involving Harvard University, the USIS and Peradeniya University.

The Seminar Series which will be ongoing is planned as an awareness exercise and a forum for networking and relationship building for forward thinking Sri Lankans. It is hoped that it will provide them with an opportunity to interact with eminent Harvard academics.

Focusing on the origins of the crisis Professor Frieden argued that it was caused by global macro-economic imbalances which had accumulated over the course of a decade and more.  He was of the view that the re-balancing, required to come out of the crisis will have severe economic, social and political implications for a number of major nations and will test the capacity of the respective governments.  It also places a premium on smaller countries, like Sri Lanka, adopting a strategic approach into the rapid changes in the global landscape.  While warning of the possibility of a rise of beggar-thy-neighbour responding policies involving increased protectionism and currency wars (competitive devaluation), Professor Frieden was cautiously optimistic that a sufficient level of international cooperation would be mobilised to avoid a major disruption to the global economy.   The Seminar was well received by the participants in Colombo and Peradeniya, and generated an animated discussion reflecting the practical concerns shared by the business community and other practitioners as well as theoretical issues grappling the academia. 


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