FORUM 2000: BRIDGING GLOBAL GAPS was the theme of Vaclav Havel's annual chin-wag for global types which is ending today. The guest list is largely eye-glazing in nature (to me). Lots of higher ups from organizations that go by long acronyms and which all sound the same when de-acronymed. And enough former dignitaries that I'm surprised I didn't hear lots of sirens around town the past three days. Bravely keeping my wandering attention focused, I ventured on to have a look around the conference website.

Albright, Madeleine was here - remember when Jan Kavan slipped her the tongue during that post Nato signing kiss? Shiver.

A certain bright and energetic looking Ms. Debi Barker was also in attendance. She is
Executive director of International Forum On Globalization (IFG), an alliance formed to stimulate new thinking, joint activity, and public education in response to economic globalization. Ms. Barker previously worked for Foundation for Deep Ecology.

All good. It's just that there are a million of nearly identical such outfits, all competing like piranha for grants. Shouldn't they all get together? They'd get more done.

Most interesting of all to me is the former director of the LSE, Lord Desai of St Clement Danes. He's about a third of the way down the list and is the one who resembles an Indian Don King. I used to catch glimpses of him when I was there a way back when.

Frederik Willem de Klerk gave the keynote - hasn't he done that before? Are he and Havel significant buddies in some way?

Adam Michnik - of course - was there. He is definitely a significant hang out buddy of Havel's.

H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan had to cancel due to illness. He has his own website, I discovered. The main menu includes the item "Activities" under which the two sub-menu items are "Activities" and "More activities".

And a host of others were there. I feel bad because when I try to pay attention to events like this and learn something, I often get distracted by the thought of how hard, simply, all of these questions they are discussing really are even to define, much less influence in a talking shop forum. How, I wonder, do people like this keep up their morale? I may make a little fun, but I do admire their commitment. Better than working for Halliburton.

Of course, they get to swan around to all expenses paid events in places like Prague. Can't be all bad. And in a future post, I will tell you about some of the things I learned while working as a gofer many years ago at the IMF in Washington. The perks enjoyed by full time staff - which at that place is something like getting tenure - were astounding. People used to say that the only way you leave your job at the IMF or World Bank is flat on your back.

Steve | 19:08 |