The future of world shipping

The next guest speaker of the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations ( comes Tuesday, Jan. 12, for when we have scheduled Eric Brenner, a high official of Hapag-Lloyd, the huge international shipping company, to talk about the effects of the widening of the Panama Canal and other changes in world shipping – including, presumably, the happy economic effects on the ports of Quonset, Providence, New Haven, Bridgeport, Boston and Portland.

Perhaps he’ll also talk about how a proposed North American-European trade community might boost the volume of shipping.

For Tuesday, Feb. 16, we have scheduled Greg Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay is an internationally known urbanist who speaks often about globalization, innovation and the future of cities. Here’s a sampling of his work:

He is a contributing writer for Fast Company, author of the forthcoming book Engineering Serendipity, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. He is also a senior fellow of the New Cities Foundation — where he leads the Connected Mobility Initiative — a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, and a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute.

On Tuesday March 15, we’ll haveMorris Rossabi, one of the world’s greatest experts on Central Asia. He’s a professor at Columbia University

Among his many other honors and posts, he became chairman of the Arts and Culture Board of the Open Society Institute.

We have asked him to focus on Mongolia, whose ability to become a real democracy stuck between the great expansionist police states of China and Russia, has long fascinated me.

In mid-April, celebrated author, TV documentary maker and former foreign correspondent Hedrick Smith will join us; he’ll talk about Russia, and the current state of America, too. We’ll nail down the exact date soon. Thanks to PCFR member Llewellyn King for suggesting this.

Tod Sedgwick, former U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, will join us in May 18 to talk about the future of Central Europe. He’s another friend of Mr. King.

On Tuesday, June 7, Michael Soussan, former UN whistleblower; acclaimed author; widely published journalist; NYU writing professor, and women's rights advocate, will speak. His satirical memoir about global corruption,  Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course In International Diplomacy (Nation Books / Perseus) is being adapted  for a feature film, starring Ben Kingsley and Josh Hutcherson.

Mr. Soussan  will speak about the subject of his next book TRUTH TO POWER: how great minds changed the world. A brief history of thought leadership.

We may also have an expert from Bhutan, mostly because that tiny country includes happiness  in its measurement of national prosperity, andan official of the Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. All is not grim on the planet.

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