The Albright Institute 2017: “Globalization: Promises, Challenges and a Path Forward”

January 19, 2017

As part of its 2017 program “Globalization: Promises, Challenges and a Path Forward,” the Albright Institute welcomed Atifete Jahjaga, the first female president of the Republic of Kosovo (2011-2016), as its Mary Jane Durnford Lewis ’59 Distinguished Visiting Professor. Jahjaga joined former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59 on January 18 for a dinner dialogue with Albright fellows and other guests entitled “The Paradox of Nationalism and Globalization: Finding a New Way Forward.”

The Albright Institute is designed to inspire a new generation of global leaders. Each year, the institute selects as fellows approximately 40 students from many areas of study across the liberal arts. The 2017 class includes 24 juniors and 16 seniors, representing 27 majors and 15 countries. These fellows work in interdisciplinary groups to address significant global challenges, spending weeks of collaborative research and preparation before presenting their ideas to the distinguished professor at the end of the program.

Jahjaga is working with eight groups of five students who selected policy topics related to three Sustainable Development Goals: ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages; reducing inequality within and among countries; and promoting just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. 

The 2017 program began on January 3 with a keynote address from Dame Amelia Fawcett ’78. Fawcett is deputy chairman of the board at Investment AB Kinnevik, chairman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board, and a non-executive director of State Street Corporation, and sits on the Albright Ambassadors Council. Her talk, entitled “The World Atilt on its Axis: Implications for Leadership”, covered issues of populism, Brexit, the U.S. presidential election, and challenges posed to democracy, as well as the role of media and technology in today’s political environment.

During the two weeks that followed, fellows engaged in discussions with more than 40 renowned experts in their fields. Guests included George Papaconstantinou, former minister of finance of Greece; Deborah Amos, NPR News international correspondent; Manal Omar, associate vice president, Middle East and Africa Center of the U.S. Institute of Peace; Bob Kitchen, director, emergency preparedness and response unit of the International Rescue Committee; and Craig Silverman, media editor at BuzzFeed News.

Ioana Petrescu ’03, a former finance minister for Romania, was one of many alumnae to address the fellows; others represented organizations and businesses including Partners In Health, Mozilla, Uber, NOW AFRICA, Accion, Anchor Point Fund, and Ecolab. Guest lecturers from Brown, Harvard, Emerson College, and MIT joined Wellesley Provost Andrew Shennan and professors from disciplines across the College for panels and lectures.

Videos of many 2017 sessions are available for viewing at the Albright Institute website, and as podcasts via iTunes. The Albright Institute also invites guests to mark their calendars for February 26, when the institute will present its 2017 Public Dialogue, “From Exodus to Action: Claiming our Common Humanity in the Refugee Crisis.”