Global Citizen Forum concludes in Monaco with a call for greater cooperation between governments, private sector and individuals to address global migration challenges

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Kofi Annan addressed the refugee crisis in Europe and its root causes

The 3rd annual Global Citizen Forum concluded in Monaco on October 9, 2015. Global Citizens, world leaders, policymakers, philanthropists, celebrities and thought leaders gathered to discuss an array of issues currently facing the world, focusing on the escalating refugee crisis in Europe and the need for a political solution.

In his keynote address, Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations and Founder and Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, said that Europe is facing the greatest movement of refugees since World War II. “The historic refugee crisis Europe is facing today is so hard to solve because it is not a one-off, humanitarian phenomenon. It is, in fact, a by-product and symptom of much deeper political problems that beset regional and global order. It will therefore require concerted action not just in and by Europe, but amongst the regional powers of the Middle East, and the global powers of the Security Council.”

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, addressed the forum with the message that global citizenship lies in the future leaders of the world, the youth, and the great need to address issues such as access to education and teaching tolerance and peace among the world’s children. “To move forward, we need every actor on board, from civil society to the private sector, to connect the dots, to foster the innovation the world needs today. Each of us has a responsibility to others; each of us has a responsibility to the world. This is about human rights and dignity. This is about inclusion and peace. Fundamentally, this is about the kind of societies we want to live in.”

During his address, José Manuel Barroso, former Prime Minister of Portugal and 11th President of the European Commission, looked at the meaning of borders and the role of global governance today. “We have learned that today we are more interdependent than ever. We can be proud of our local, national and regional identity, but also realizing that we are part of mankind. This refugee crisis is a time to show that we are serious about our values, that we can make them work in favor of common interest of mankind. The idea of this global citizen tax is one way. It shows that countries are not just interested in receiving the wealthy, but also sharing that wealth with those most in need.”

One proposed solution that was discussed was the idea for a Global Citizen Tax, endorsed by José Manuel Barroso. The tax would be a simple levy on investor applications for residence or citizenship in EU countries. The proposed tax could mean big changes, potentially delivering revenues of over a billion euros in the next five years. These impact of these funds could be realized through the creation of jobs, aid for the agencies working with refugees or other economic stimulation to the impacted countries.

Three-time Grammy award-winning artist and activist Wyclef Jean delivered a moving speech about his experience as a refugee and becoming a global citizen. Various panel discussions were held including a panel on peace and security that explored current geopolitical challenges and trends in the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and discussion on innovative approaches to addressing the refugee crisis and foreign direct investment’s impact in countries around the world. Leadership expert Robin Sharma spoke of the importance of individual leadership and becoming a “change-maker” in the global citizenship community during his session at the forum.

The forum hosted the Global Citizen Gala on the evening of October 8th. Each year the GCF bestows Global Citizen Award at the Gala dinner and this year’s award was presented to Regina Catrambone, co-founder of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) for the contribution the company founded by herself and her husband has made to bring awareness and aid to refugees. The Gala also featured a special performance by forum speaker, activist and performer, Wyclef Jean.

This year’s event aimed to inspire change, provoke innovation, encourage engagement and empower future generations. Attendees and speakers alike were challenged to think differently about global challenges and new ways to address them. Armand Arton, founder of the Global Citizen Forum, said: “This Forum was founded to focus on global challenges and opportunities related to migration and the concept of global citizenship from the perspective of individuals and governments. The past two days have seen energetic and thought-provoking discussion on a full spectrum of issues relating to global citizenship that have gone a long a way to building and deepening the global community that we aspire to create.”

Please find a short video here about this year’s event:

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