Our students in Catz were treated to a visit and special lecture by Diego Gilardino, a geopolitical and geoeconomic analyst with many years of experience advising international clients on the impact of global events on markets and investment opportunities. His talk was titled “The New Global Disorder: Leading in the age of complexity”―our international cohort certainly had their ears pricked up for this one.
Diego has written and spoken extensively on the need for companies and individuals to respond to globalisation by developing cultural self-awareness and intelligence: by this, Diego means the ability to know one’s own culture and biases, and those of other cultures, in order to facilitate smoother and more cooperative communication between states and cultures.
Diego began his talk yesterday by challenging Francis Fukuyama’s notion of “the end of history”: Fukuyama supposed that the end of the Cold War in 1989 signified the universalisation of Western liberal democracy, and therefore the end of mankind’s ideological evolution. As Diego pointed out, we can look to many different examples in today’s world that fly in the face of this theory: China, not a liberal democracy, but an increasingly powerful economy, is just one; another might be the resurgence of authoritarian Russia. Above all, Diego argued, it is worth paying heed to those such as Derrida who point out that liberal democracies are apt to support systems of inequality, exclusion, poverty and oppression. Far from accepting the end of history in liberal democracy, Diego concluded, the international community should adopt a far more comparative and consultative approach, as opposed to shoehorning the world’s diverse states into one model.
After this thought-provoking talk, students enjoyed the many different talents that were unveiled in ORA’s Got Talent. The piano was a particular favourite that evening, along with a voice-and-guitar act and some impressive gymnastics. Students were then fully in the party spirit, which was handy, as the next activity was a birthday party for Noora, one of our students. She was met in the marquee by flowers, balloons, and no fewer than two cakes, and a raft of classmates ready to make this birthday one to remember. Happy 17th Birthday, Noora!