Concordia Summit Releases Key Findings from Inaugural Counter-Extremism Conference

Participants state greater public-private coordination can help improve conditions in extremism-prone countries; Propose modifications to Patriot Act and similar global legislation; See global business as vehicle to enhance government reputations

The Concordia Summit announced today three key findings from its inaugural counter-extremism conference held on September 20th which gathered heads of state, business leaders, government officials and counter-terrorism experts to find solutions focusing on public-private partnerships.

Co-founders Nicholas Logothetis and Matthew Swift said, “The overarching aim of these partnerships is to invest in the long-term sustainability of “at-risk‟ communities. This will inevitably lead to a decline in extremist behavior due to the availability of attractive alternatives and improved conditions as a result of the public and private sectors working more closely together with a common mission.”

1) Institute public-private partnerships to alleviate the social and economic conditions in atrisk countries that give rise to extremist thought and behavior
 Support from the private sector is vital in creating alternatives for youths that are at risk of being driven to extremist behavior due to the conditions surrounding them.  Foreign investment and coordination with governments bring critical jobs.  Businesses should work with governments to design a subsidy programme, similar to U.S. subsidies for farmers, incentivizing farmers in foreign countries who grow illegal substances to instead turn to crops that benefit the community as well as produce income.  Businesses should establish a meaningful presence in communities to educate and support local leaders in their efforts to transform at-risk areas.

2) Modifications are needed to the Patriot Act and similar programmes to improve efficiency and effectiveness
A. Governments should institute a “trusted business” programme akin to the global “trusted traveler” programme to allow honest and respected businesses to operate without being hindered by cumbersome regulations. a. This would result in significant savings in financial and labor resources for governments. Governments should have strengthened capabilities to track, freeze and seize assets of suspected terrorists and drug dealers/distributors. B. With improved control over the resources of suspected terrorists, counter-terrorism teams will more effectively hinder their ability to operate. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3) Global brands could play a significant role in improving the image of governments among those that live in “at-risk” communities
 Conduct a study on how youths abroad view the United States and other countries through the lens of leading consumer brands, which play a powerful role in the perception of nations.  Numerous educational opportunities exist for global corporations to leverage the power of their brands for the good of communities around the world.

Speaking at the Concordia Summit, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said, “Concordia is such an important thing now because the one thing we‟ve learned is government can never do it alone. This threat involves all of us, all people love freedom, and unless we act together we‟re never going to win this struggle.”

9/11 Commission Chairman Gov. Thomas Kean said, “Why Concordia is a good idea, and why we should support its mission is that in my experience as a politician, if you want to fight successfully against terrorism, against extremism, against intolerance, against all tragic phenomenon, we need two elements. We need solidarity, and we need consequence in our fight and our efforts.”

“Concordia – this is for sure a beautiful and challenging name looking at the turbulent times of ours. A beautiful name and an essential initiative. Because the war that extremism has launched against us all is far from being over”, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said.

Key Summit participants included:
1. Former U.S. President George W. Bush
2. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvilli
3. Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
4. Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski
5. Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank
6. 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas Kean
7. Ambassador John Negroponte
8. Ambassador Paula Dobriansky
9. Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor to the President

Several business leaders from the U.S. and Europe participated in the day‟s programme which included a simulation where business leaders and heads of state worked to address a global crisis. Concordia will hold its next global Summit in the Fall of 2012. Details will be announced in the coming months.

Photo credit: Shealah Craighead

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