Weber Shandwick was proud to partner with the 2016 Concordia Summit on September 19 & 20 in New York City. Concordia is nonprofit organization that enables public-private partnerships to create a more prosperous and sustainable future.
Its annual Summit convened heads of state and leaders from across government, business and nonprofits to discuss the power of public-private partnerships in creating global impact. Conversations were focused on timely and important issues facing today’s global society, including cybersecurity and intellectual property, human rights and democracy, migration and emergency response, and women’s empowerment and gender equality, among many others.
Weber Shandwick leaders participated in several panels and strategic dialogues throughout the two-day event.
Restoring Dialogue: Having Faith in Diplomacy
Micho Spring, chair, global corporate practice & president, New England, Weber Shandwick, moderated a discussion on the secret negotiations led by the Catholic Church that resulted in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. Spring was joined on stage by H.E. Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino and Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.
Cardinal Ortega recalled hand-delivering messages between officials from the Vatican and Obama administration, and engaging Cuban officials through behind-the-scenes lobbying. Ambassador DeLaurentis described the surreal hours on the evening before President Obama’s announcement of restored relations, while he hosted an event in Havana and was the only person in the room aware of the news that would break in the morning. Spring, who is Cuban-born, recalled the remarkable impact the announcement had for people whose lives were affected by the diplomatic gridlock on the other side of the negotiations. The conversation highlighted the importance of diplomacy in a world fraught with regional tensions.
The Private Sector’s Role in Achieving the SDG’s
Held in tandem with the United Nations General Assembly, the Concordia Summit provided an opportunity for the private sector to demonstrate the central role it plays in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The session brought together leaders from across sectors and industries in a high-level working group to examine businesses’ role in fulfilling the SDGs. Paul Massey, executive vice president and global lead for Social Impact, Weber Shandwick participated in the robust roundtable discussion.
Changing the Narrative: Positive Discourse on Refugees and Migrants
Concordia also hosted a two-day Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees in partnership with Columbia University’s Global Policy Initiative, the International Organization for Migration and the United States Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with the support of the Open Society Foundations and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Weber Shandwick Chairman Jack Leslie participated in a session focused on developing a more positive narrative around the impact and contributions that refugees and migrants can make for host communities. The roundtable dialogue explored the critical role that businesses and philanthropic institutions play together in shifting public opinion and attitudes on this issue.