Global Horizons: The Oxford Analytica Conference 2011

I had the privilege of listening to Nobel Laureate Kofi Annan at Global Horizons: The Oxford Analytica Conference 2011 dinner at Blenheim Palace. Equally thought provoking was the speech by Dr. David R Young, Chairman Oxford Analytica which is a global analysis and advisory firm drawing on a worldwide network of experts to advise its clients on their strategy and performance.
The former Secretary General of the UN put things in perspective when he said that the world had globalised, but the countries were still not looking beyond their borders. He emphasised that dealing with issues like global warming, environmental protection, and terrorism needed collaboration among countries that unfortunately were driven by pure self interest. He shared his reflections about meeting people like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi where he felt he had to overcome his own misgivings and make an effort to bring them to the table for discussion and dialogue with the hope, however, faint, of conflict resolution. But in a lighter vein, he said that after six weeks in office, someone alleged that he had been ineffective even after six weeks while God had created the world in only six days. Kofi’s response was that God had the advantage of working alone while he had 192 countries.
Dr. David Young started by posing this – when does the wisdom of the crowd become the folly of the mob? He went on to remind us that pursuit of truth begins with the correct understanding of human nature. He quoted Nietzsche saying that the world could never ever be rid of evil since good and evil reside together in every human heart and the best we could do was to contain it there.

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