SIPA’s inaugural BRICLab Conference was held on December 2 at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library, co-sponsored by Forum das Americas and HSBC.
The co-directors of the BRICLab, Christian Deseglise and Marcos Troyjo, introduced the new initiative, which aims to focus on the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - and their impact on the global scene.
“November 30 was the 10-year anniversary of the BRIC concept,” said Deseglise. “The BRICs are very different countries. It is very difficult to compare them… The concept of BRIC is hard to define, but the intuition that they are in a league of their own and have the potential to impact the world is still there. The next 50 years will be shaped by what BRIC countries want for themselves and their elite; what BRIC countries want for and from the world.”
The first session of the conference was moderated by James Crombie, editor of Bloomberg Brief, and include the Vice President of Brazil Michel Temer.
“We need this BRICLab,” said Temer. “Are we going to head to a legal, institutional and juridical nature of BRIC like in Europe? To break customs, borders. I do believe that defining what BRIC is, is fundamental. We need to take into account these countries… I hope we can in this discussion come to a conclusion that begins to suggest the nature of BRIC.
The second panel discussion was moderated by CNN International anchor Luis Velez, and included remarks from Stefan Wagstyl, emerging markets editor at the Financial Times. During the Q-and-A, Wagstyl addressed to possibility of the BRICs working together as a unit, but said conflict is inevitable.
“China is the biggest opponent of a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council,” he said. “The BRICs couldn’t agree on a candidate for IMF director and lost an opportunity to demonstrate their influence.”
The final session of the conference focused on the changing power and business dynamics brought on by the rise of the “B” in BRIC - Brazil. It featured remarks by Sergio Cabral Filho, Governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
We just elected the first woman president, and I see a brilliant future for Brazil. All regions of Brazil are undergoing development. There is not doubt that the BRICLab will have a lot to debate and study.”
SIPA Dean John H. Coatsworth delivered the closing remarks. In an editorial featured in a Special Edition of VOTO magazine about the BRICLab, Dean Coatsworth wrote:
The BRICLab will promote SIPA and Columbia University as a destination for current and future BRIC leaders to discuss topics important to their nations’ development… The BRICLab will inititally offer a 14-week graduate course and guest speakers, programs through SIPA’s Picker Center for Executive Education, and an annual conference for policymakers, business and academic leaders, and students.
Michelle Chahine, December 5, 2011