Launched in 2008 by Thierry de Montbrial, the President and Founder of the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), the World Policy Conference (WPC) is the first effort to foster systematic reflection on organizing global governance tailored to 21st century realities, bringing together the highest-level decision-makers, experts and opinion leaders.
The World Policy Conference (WPC) was founded on three complementary ideas:
- the nature of globalisation
The World Policy Conference falls within a context where globalisation and interconnections between countries have never been stronger, whether it is on a political, economic or environmental level. During its first edition in 2008, the conference has addressed the subprime crisis, which had just broken out in the United States and has spared no continents since then.
- International relations are still centered on relations between states
Despite phenomena of globalisation, the world is still organized around political entities, States. They are characterized by a territory, a population and a government. They also share common culture, values, institutions, and have delimited borders.
- The construction of the new international system – or rather of its governance – is not just a matter for states
In order to ensure good global governance, states must reform and cooperate. However, they cannot be the only ones to work to that end. NGOs and think tanks, including the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), have to take part in this process as well. Each member should be able to express his point of view and influence the choices made via a proper decision-making process. Finally, global institutions (UN), as well as regional (African Union, Arab League) and specialized institutions (IMF, World Bank, International Energy Agency, World Health Organization) have to adjust to the new global order and find adequate solutions.
The three meeting formats – namely, the plenary sessions, workshops and lunch or dinner debates – are based on the concept of constructive public-private interaction at the highest level. During plenary sessions, each speaker has an exclusive and equal right to the floor, regardless of his home country’s status on the world stage.
Each participant is individually chosen on the basis of a range of criteria, such as regional, functional and media-related factors. The number of participants at each conference remains limited to ensure that meetings are as productive as possible. On this basis and in a warm and welcoming setting, all the conditions are met for participants to speak their mind freely, thereby creating a very high-level yet informal meeting-place.
As the conference proceedings are intended to fuel public debate, they are largely “on the record” and widely disseminated.
A report is published after each WPC conference. This report contains the most noteworthy excerpts from the presentations and the profiles of all the participants, as well as a description of all the WPC’s partners. Each conference’s highlights are illustrated with a large number of images. Thousands of copies of this bilingual (French-English) publication are distributed worldwide every year. The report can also be downloaded in PDF format from the WPC website.
The WPC website provides access not only to all past conferences but also to the latest information on the forthcoming conference.
• WPC TV: WPC TV provides access to interviews with and statements by the participants in the conference.
• Conference proceedings: The proceedings of each conference are published online, with all presentations entirely available in video and text formats.
The WPC can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pearltrees and Pinterest. Moreover, the whole intellectual content of the event is saved in video format and is available on YouTube.
Each year, the World Policy Conference gathers political, economic and social leaders: Heads of States and governments, ministers, members of parliaments, ambassadors, CEOs, experts, journalists and NGOs’ members.
Among distinguished guests, one can quote:
- Masood Ahmed (Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department)
- Martti Ahtisaari (Former President of the Republic of Finland)
- Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah (then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar)
- Sheikh Abdullah bin Naser bin Khalifa Al-Thani (Prime Minister of the State of Qatar)
- H.R.H. Prince Turki Al-Faisal (President of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies)
- Yukiya Amano (Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Youssef Amrani (royal cabinet, Morocco)
- Yutaka Aso (President of Aso Group)
- Jean-Marc Ayrault (Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France)
- Robert Badinter (Former Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, France)
- Bertrand Badré (then Director-General and Chief Financial Officer of the World Bank Group)
- Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations)
- Ehud Barak (Former Prime Minister of Israel)
- Sébastien Bazin (Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels)
- Marek Belka (President of the National Bank of Poland)
- Charles-Edouard Bouée (CEO, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants)
- Christian Bréchot (President of the Pasteur Institute)
- Didier Burkhalter (Federal Councilor, Chief of the federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE), Switzerland)
- Korn Chatikavanij (Former Minister of Finances of Thailand)
- Chey Tae-Won (Chairman, SK Group, Republic of Korea)
- Nelson Cunningham (President, McLarty Associates)
- José Angel Cordova Villalobos ( then Minister of Health, Mexico)
- Ahmet Davutoglu (Former Prime Minister of Turkey)
- Kemal Dervis (Vice-President of the Brookings Institution, Head of the Global Economy Department)
- Bozidar Djelic (Managing Director, in charge of Central and Eastern Europe, Lazard)
- Saeb Erekat (Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Palestine)
- Heinz Fischer (President of the Republic of Austria)
- Fu Ying (then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Popular Republic of China)
- Cheikh Tidiane Gadio (President of IPS, Former Foreign Minister of Senegal)
- Robert Gates (Former United States Secretary of Defense)
- Elisabeth Guigou (President of the French Commission of Foreign Affairs, French National Assembly)
- Abdullah Gül (then President of the Republic of Turkey)
- Angel Gurría (Secretary-General of the OECD)
- Richard Haass (President of Council on Foreign Relations (CFR))
- Han Seung-soo (Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea)
- Riad Hijab (Former Prime Minister, Syria)
- Maria van der Hoeven (then Executive Director of the International Energy Agency)
- Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (then Secretary-General of NATO)
- Mo Ibrahim (Founder and President, Mo Ibrahim Foundation)
- Toomas Hendrik Ilves (President of the Republic of Estonia)
- Mugur Isarescu (Governor of the National Bank of Romania)
- Vuk Jeremic (President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD))
- John Kerr (Member of the House of Lords)
- Mari Kiviniemi (OECD Deputy Secretary-General)
- Haïm Korsia (Chief Rabbi of France)
- Haruhiko Kuroda (Governor of the Central Bank of Japan)
- Bruno Lafont (Co-Chairman, LafargeHolcim)
- Pascal Lamy (Former Director-General of the WTO)
- John Lipsky (Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS))
- Pauline Marois (then Premier of Quebec)
- Dmitri Medvedev (then President of the Russian Federation)
- H.S.H. Prince Albert II (Prince of the Principality of Monaco)
- Mario Monti (former President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic)
- Miguel Angel Moratinos (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain)
- Amr Moussa (then Secretary-General of the League of Arab States)
- Joseph Nye (Professor at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
- Raila Amolo Odinga (then Prime Minister of Kenya)
- Arkebe Oqubay (Minister and Prime Minister Advisor of Ethiopia)
- Patrick Pouyanné (CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Total)
- Alassane Ouattara (President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire)
- Park Geun-Hye (President of the Republic of Korea)
- Guillaume Pepy (Chairman of SNCF's Executive Board and Chairman and CEO of SNCF Mobilités)
- Didier Reynders (Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Belgium)
- Mary Robinson (Former President of the Republic of Ireland)
- Norbert Röttgen (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Bundestag, Germany)
- Kevin Rudd (President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York City, Australia’s 26th Prime Minister)
- Jin Roy Ryu (CEO of Poongsan Group)
- Nicolas Sarkozy (then President of the French Republic)
- Boris Tadic (then President of the Republic of Serbia)
- Nobuo Tanaka (former Executive Director the International Energy Agency)
- Mostafa Terrab (CEO, OCP)
- Jean-Claude Trichet (Former President of the ECB)
- Hubert Védrine (Former French Minister of Foreign Affairs)
- Wang Jisi (President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University)
- Lionel Zinsou (Former Prime Minister of Benin)
The World Policy Conference usually takes place at the end of the year.
Below, a chart summing up the different WPC editions