Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Club of Rome: looking back

It's now official. I've just received a letter from the Club of Rome's interim president, Ashok Khosla, and Secretary-General Uwe Möller, formalizing my associate membership in the organization. I join the six current Brazilian members of the organization: Prof. Heitor Gurgulinode Souza, Prof. Paulo Alcantara Gomes, Dr. José Aristodemo Pinotti, Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Prof. Eda Barbosa, and Ms. Edna Roland.

Perhaps it's time to take a little look back, and thank those for whom I am so grateful, and a look forward, and think about how I can contribute. As Thomas Schelling might put it, this strategic commitment will most probably make it more likely that I will, in the face of strong adversity (i.e., procrastination), be able to comply. But before some plans for the future, some words of thanks. And, as a student of Hofstadter, I couldn't make it in other way than by throwing in some memories.

I guess the whole thing could be traced back to some months after the tragic events in New York and Washington, under the Japanese Government's 2002 Global Youth Exchange program in Tokyo, discussing international security and the threat of terrorism. I remember getting immersed in the literature of international relations, the history of Israel, the nature of the Middle East conflict, a great deal of Thomas Schelling, and also, of course, the enormously difficult question for a legal definition of terrorism (was the attempt to kill Adolf Hitler by bombing that office a terrorist attack? If not, why not?). Two years afterwards, I'd be joining tt30, the young think tank of the Club of Rome, for a meeting in Jordan, followed, a month later, to an invitation to Helsinki, for the 2004 Assembly General. Some guys over there--more specifically, Tobias, Joerg, and Ildiko, got me on a corner and asked: next year we're going to Brazil; can you pull it off? To which I must have sounded quite like Forrest Gump: "Ahmm... Ok!"

As I got back to Brazil, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso agreed to meet me for a discussion on the potential event. He'd back it and join us, but it was still up to us to organize and, of course, obtain sponsors. Prof. Gurgulino, which had been planning to launch a Brazilian Chapter of the Club, put the pedal to the metal in the whole effort.

I'd like to thank our sponsors and supporters: Embratel, FGV, Fiesp, Computer Associates, Souza Cruz, GOL Airlines, UNIBANCO, Radisson, Dannemann, Siemsen, Bigler, & Ipanema Moreira, IESB, Conjuntura Econômica, CEBRI, the government of the state of Rio de Janeiro and the secretary of culture, and UNESCO.

I'd like to thank Sebastian, all my tt30 friends--whom I'll not even attempt to list them all here, & the people at FIESP: Fabio Cervone, Directors Carlos Cavalcanti and Thomas Zanotto, Amanda Pinto, and President Paulo Skaf.

In an even inner, more involved circle, I have always had enormous support from Profs. Bianor and Deborah at FGV. Others that were there from day one, for the good and for the bad days, were Tobias Lengsfeld, Carla Winter Afonso, and CoR Secretary-General Uwe Möller.

Yet, in the end, three incredible people made it happen. I'll be forever indebted to these three people. Three people that made all the difference in the world during the days of storm. The first one is Claudia Santiago de Abreu, who pulled it all off. She knows all secrets, and holds the keys to all doors, and that's not by god-given powers; it's all by her unbounded merit. Yet, she operates on stealth mode, and I don't think I have a single picture next to her.

Joerg Geier was my European counterpart in arranging all the details, and had to handle organization of the tt30 internal meeting schedule almost all by himself. At one point, I remember sorting my emails by recipient, then by sender, to count hundreds and hundreds of messages between us over the course of some few months. In a typical day, we'd probably exchange some half a dozen messages. In a bad day, 25 messages and skype and phone calls could top it off.

Prof. Gurgulino was, and is, the driving force behind Brazilian presence in the Club. Embedded here is the image that to me, marks the year 2005: with Prof. Gurgulino, somewhere, planning, counting costs, studying possibilities, deciding on the large and small, over long term strategies, and all kinds of minutiae.

Before I lay down some thoughts on what I'd like to offer the Club of Rome; all I can say is that, up to this day; what an incredible privilege it has been.


Anonymous said...

As someone who has just become aware of the mind-reading technologies of many Catholic, Masons, KOM, basically any agent of Rome, including my inlaws, I am appalled at the indecency and violation of basic human rights. People who except this ability have been seriously misled. Who told you it was a good thing to read an unsuspecting persons mind? Why do you think you have the right? Because some old man in Rome who pretend like he his Christ, when he is really an agent of Satan? You should all be ashamed of yourself, and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt God doesn't approve, and you have seriously been misled. If fact, you make up the infected laity spoken of in II Peter. Which he says is a sign of the end of the professing church. Thank Goodness!

Alexandre Linhares said...

Your holiness, this is the freaking craziest comment this blog has ever received. May Allah be with you! Whatever...