Posts Tagged ‘Economic Crisis’

North American Forum 2009 News Release:

OCTOBER 6, 2009


Leaders from business, government and academia today wrapped up three days of discussions in Ottawa, Canada, aimed at fostering improved relations and increased cooperation among the people and governments of North America.

This year’s meeting of the North American Forum focused on the need for Canada, Mexico and the United States to work together in responding to the global economic crisis and promoting a quick return to strong and sustainable growth. In addition, the Forum included special sessions on two critical issues: one on energy and the environment, and the other on transnational crime, arms smuggling and drug trafficking.

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The World Affairs Council of Northern California has served as the Secretariat for the North American Forum since the inaugural meeting which took place in October 2005 in Sonoma, California.

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Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, released a 20 page letter today pledging that though his foundation’s endowment fell by 20% in 2008, they will increase their spending to $3.8 billion in 2009 – up $0.5 billion from last year – holding true to the speech he gave in Washington last month.  (See our December 4th post) In the letter, Gates assesses the successes and challenges of their recent work, and discusses the role for foundations in the current economic climate. Read the full letter here, or an article on its significance in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a valued partner of our Global Philanthropy Forum, and we applaud their commitment to the foundation’s mission in the midst of these troubled times.

Update:  In a column this week, NY Times journalist Nic Kirstof posted a video of his interview with Bill Gates about aid to developing countries in the current economic climate.  Kristof comes away saying, “… if Mr. Gates manages to accomplish as much in the world of vaccines, health and food production as he thinks he can, then the consequences will be staggering. Squared.”

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On Monday, at Obama’s urging, President Bush called for Congress to release the second half of the $700 billion financial system bailout.  A NY Times article this morning quotes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that while the bailout and Obama’s stimulus plan will certainly help, much more is needed.  “Fiscal actions are unlikely to promote a lasting recovery unless they are accompanied by strong measures to further stabilize and strengthen the financial system,” he said at the London School of Economics yesterday.  Beyond lowering the benchmark interest rate, he argues that the Federal Reserve must use many of the other tools at its disposal, including lowering mortgage rates, providing asset guarantees, and more capital injections.

In a talk here at the Council on Wednesday, Adam Posen, Deputy Director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, addressed this same issue.  He spoke with great insight on Obama’s stimulus plan, boiling down complicated details into a very digestible format.  He emphasizes the need for any economic recovery plan to focus heavily on public works and funding at the state and city level, not on big businesses that will only use it to pay down their debts.

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