FORTUNE International Editor Robert Friedman Discusses FORTUNE Global Forum 2007

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Friedman answers Q&A about premier summit for chief executives taking place in New Delhi, 29-31 October 2007.

FORTUNE International Editor Robert Friedman participated in a Q&A about the world's premier summit for chief executives, The FORTUNE Global Forum 2007, which will bring together more than 300 global participants in New Delhi, 29-31 October 2007.

Highlights include:

Q. What is the FORTUNE Global Forum and why is it the premier summit for chief executives in the business world? What differentiates the Forum from other executive-level events and conferences?

Friedman: The FORTUNE Global Forum is unique because it is for CEOs and chairmen only; because its program is developed by FORTUNE's editors; and because it provides a truly global platform for exchanging ideas among dealmakers, entrepreneurs, academics, and executives. It is a traveling road show that stops in a different country every 18 months to continue to the conversation about global business.

Q. The FORTUNE Global Forum was inaugurated in 1995 and has been previously hosted in Singapore, Barcelona, Bangkok, Budapest, Shanghai, Paris, Hong Kong, Washington D.C., and Beijing. Why was India, and New Delhi in particular, selected as the site for this year's Forum?

Friedman: India was an obvious choice not only because many Indian companies are beginning to compete on the global stage but also because India's economy is finally opening up enough to attract multinational companies into the country to market products, engage in R&D, and take advantage of India's high-tech manufacturing sector.

Q. The theme of the 2007 Forum is "Mastering the Global Economy." Why was this theme selected?

Friedman: It serves the needs of both Indian companies learning how to compete globally and multinational companies learning how to do business in India. And what could be a better topic for all the "masters of the universe" who will be in attendance?

Q. In one Forum session, New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman will interview U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson about U.S. perspectives on the global economy. Can you provide any insight on why these thought leaders were paired? Also, what questions would you most want to hear answered by Secretary Paulson?

Friedman: It was a great accomplishment to get Hank Paulson to come to India on what will be his first visit as U.S. Treasury Secretary. As a former Goldman Sachs CEO and now the top economic official in Washington, Paulson brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the global economy.

As the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times and author of the best-selling book The World is Flat, Tom Friedman brings with him a broad knowledge of India's role in the outsourcing revolution that has helped reshape the global economy. Who will flatten whom in this encounter? Should make for a most intelligent conversation--and is likely to be one of the highlights of the conference.

Q. Many of India's top leaders will be attending the Forum, including Honorable Minister for Commerce and Industry, Kamal Nath. Can you explain how these leaders will be integrated into the Forum program and what value their participation will provide to the chief executives in attendance?

Friedman: Finance Minister Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, Planning Commission Chairman Montek Ahluwalia, and other Indian officials will be spending considerable time at the conference in private meetings and mingling with delegates. This is one of the special things that the Global Forum offers to its guests: intimate contact with the decision-makers in the host country. And, speaking of hosts, Minister Nath will be hosting one of a dozen private home dinners at his residence in Dehli for a small group of FORTUNE Global Forum delegates.

Q. What sessions most interest you at the 2007 Forum?

Friedman: I'm looking forward to hearing many of the great speakers we have lined up, from Michael Dell and John Chambers to Nandan Nilekani. And, of course, to my own panels.

Q. Two FORTUNE Editors will be blogging live from the Forum: FORTUNE Asia Editor Clay Chandler on his Chasing the Dragon blog and South Asia Contributor John Elliott on his Riding the Elephant blog. For those who can't attend the Forum in person, are the blogs the best way for them to follow the action?

Friedman: Not only are Clay Chandler and John Elliott blogging, but all of the FORTUNE writers and editors attending the Forum in New Delhi--16 in all--will be contributing to the official Global Forum blog at In addition, you can view video from select business sessions at So, yes, if you can't be there, this is the best way to pretend you were.

Q. Lastly, what do you think will be the most valuable takeaways for participants after attending the 2007 program?

Friedman: I hope folks get out of the hotel and explore New Delhi. It's a memorable city. But even if they don't, they'll definitely get a taste of India. It's a chaotic, democratic, sometimes frustrating jumble of people and ideas--just like our program. It's a nation of contrasts and contradictions poised for economic takeoff. Who said elephants can't fly?

For more information and to register for The FORTUNE Global Forum, please visit:


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