World Chambers Federation

Former US Secretary of State Albright addresses congress with calls for leadership

  • 4 July 2007

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today called on the 1,600 delegates from 118 countries gathered at the ICC World Chambers Federation's 5th World Chambers Congress, to translate the promise of globalization into the reality of a better life for people around the world.

In a keynote address during a plenary session on managing global risks, Ms Albright said: “There is a sense that the world agenda has been hijacked and that the rule of law is being subverted by those who believe in no rules at all. There is increasing anxiety on topics we are discussing today, such as war, terrorism, diseases, climate change and natural disasters – as highlighted by many recent events. We need leaders who will manage the realities of the risks – whether in businesses or in government – to minimize the dangers and maximize the opportunities.”

Ms Albright is currently Mortara Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a principal of Albright Capital Management.

A panel of distinguished speakers discussed new ways for business and government to work more closely to better manage sudden and long-term global challenges.

The panelists included Guillermo de la Dehesa, Non-Executive Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs Europe and Chairman, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Spain; John King, Executive Director, Business Humanitarian Forum, Geneva; Nils Furunes, Group Corporate Economist, DnB NOR Bank, Norway; Yong Poh Kon, President, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and Ms Albright.

They presented successful initiatives by business in tandem with local or international efforts and discussed what government policies are needed to ensure local communities get adequate support during times of crisis.

To help prevent future financial crisis, Mr King said there has to be more interaction between international financial institutions.

Ms Albright called for greater interaction between governments and business in formal settings.

Local chambers and business groups have played a pivotal role in helping to manage some of these challenges, such as resuscitating businesses and rebuilding communities after disasters. For example, after the Asian tsunami in 2004 killed 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless, a number of local and non-local chambers provided funding, partners for reconstruction and loans for rebuilding and launched projects to support fishing, tourism, and other hard-hit sectors.

The 5th World Chambers Congress is co-hosted by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and the ICC’s World Chambers Federation.

The congress attendance reached record numbers this year, doubling attendance since the last congress in Durban in 2005. Congress participants are attending from all over the globe, from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, as well as from a wide range of developing and developed economies including Brazil, China, Finland, India, Iran, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.