International dignitaries arrive in Pgh for G20

Pictured above is Phipps Conservatory which will be closed this Thursday. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome the visiting world leaders and attend a dinner at the Conservatory. (credit: Young Jae Park/Photo Staff) Pictured above is Phipps Conservatory which will be closed this Thursday. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome the visiting world leaders and attend a dinner at the Conservatory. (credit: Young Jae Park/Photo Staff)

This week, Carnegie Mellon is in the midst of an international meeting of the minds as the world’s leading economic experts arrive in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh will soon host the G20 Economic Summit, a meeting of leaders from 20 of the world’s emerging and industrialized countries to discuss the need for change and cooperation in the global economy. In the wake of the most recent recession, the conference is expected to touch on a number of important issues, including sources for global growth, the role of financial regulation and trade, educating the modern workforce, and renewing globalization.

The conference will officially begin on Thursday and end on Friday. Carnegie Mellon will host an event prior to the opening: a day-long conference on Wednesday, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Atlantic Council.

“The heightened awareness within the campus community concerning what is going on in the world is as significant to me as the heightened awareness in the world about what is going on at Carnegie Mellon,” said Lee Branstetter, an associate professor of economics and public policy for the Heinz College and the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon.

The Carnegie Mellon conference, “Renewing Globalization and Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis World,” will include speakers Daniel Rooney, the U.S. ambassador to Ireland; Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University; Shaha Ali Riza and Mansoor Dailami, from the World Bank; and many others representing such groups as the Federal Reserve, BNY Mellon, and the U.S. Treasury.

Branstetter, one of the event’s speakers, brought up some of the topics he expects to be widely discussed at Carnegie Mellon as well as throughout the summit. These topics include economic policy reform, open trade, the U.S. decision to raise Chinese tire imports, the need for international economic organizations such as the IMF and World Bank to better represent developing countries, and approaches to climate change policy.

Robert Atkinson, adjunct professor of marketing in the Tepper School of Business and another event speaker, wrote in official literature for the event about the need for economic policy to create a new globalization “that shifts the core economic policies of nations from mercantilist, export-led strategies to innovation-based, domestic-growth strategies.”

Branstetter spoke about his feelings on the feasibility of implementing of such policies.

“There will be great reluctance to swiftly and substantially change the regulatory framework at a time when public emotions are running high but the financial system remains fragile,” he said. “A more likely outcome is that the major economies will continue [to] push for an overhaul and strengthening of the basic regulatory framework under which international banks are required to operate.”

Discussions of the G20 have already covered a wide range of topics, including education as a key component to this new globalization. This will be one of the main topics of the Carnegie Mellon conference.

“Countries that can successfully replicate the U.S. research university enterprise will secure for themselves a strong position for the future, for they will be the source of the next wave of economic expansion in the world,” wrote Pradeep Khosla, dean of the Carnegie Institute of Technology and another of the event’s speakers, in the report published for the event.

Decisions made at the Pittsburgh Summit will be discussed at future G20 and international meetings, such as in the case of global warming made by Branstetter.

“At the end of 2009, in Copenhagen, there will be a major international summit on climate change designed to produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which required all signatory states to accept and implement significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “If we ever hope to achieve anything meaningful in Copenhagen, then we need a more productive discussion between developing and developed countries about a possible compromise on climate change.”

No matter what comes out of the conference, it has been a big deal for the city of Pittsburgh. The city has spent $34 million in preparation, according to the Post-Gazette, and has been singled out in a White House press report as being chosen for its “commitment to employing new and green technology to further economic recovery and development.”

According to Branstetter, the conference itself is an achievement.

“I think that institutionalizing this regular high-level exchange between developed and developing countries is more important than the substance that gets issued at the end of each summit,” he said.

A full schedule of events held throughout Pittsburgh can be found at Events will take place throughout the week in preparation for the official summit opening on Thursday.