To become a self-conscious "global thinking circuit," the virtual territory of the Internet needs a map that charts the currents and connects the dots of the worldwide conversation. Who are the most influential voices, and how do their ideas spread?
This week, The WorldPost joined with the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Zurich to produce such a map, the 2015 Global Thought Leaders Index, which, for the first time, analyzes not only the dominant English-language infosphere, but also the other top language areas of Spanish and Chinese, as well as German. One notable result, as I report in my summary of the project, is that The WorldPost, as the global portal of the Huffington Post, has emerged in the two years since we launched as a top platform for the cross-pollination of ideas beyond borders.
An intense bout of xenophobic bombast erupted across the West this week in the wake of the San Bernadino and Paris terror attacks, roiling the American election campaign as Donald Trump called for banning "foreign Muslims" from entering the U.S. and advancing the prospects of Marine Le Pen's National Front in the French regional elections. Howard Fineman writes that a weakened two-party system in the U.S. is enabling, rather than thwarting, extreme voices. Scholar Akbar Ahmed ponders whether a Kristallnacht-type episode could happen to Muslims in America if Trump's Islamophobic rhetoric continues. Foreign Affairs Reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed writes a personal account of his return to the U.S. less than a day after Trump's call to keep Muslims out. Sociologist Amitai Etzioni calls for "domestic disarmament" in the U.S. by making gun manufacturers liable for those harmed by the weapons they produce and sell.
Writing from Italy, Lucia Annunziata traces how the so-called Islamic State has succeeded in pushing France to the right after its attacks in Paris. Writing from Paris, Anne Sinclair decries, "a vote of fear. Fear of the world, fear of displacement, fear of others" reflected in this week's elections. Also writing from Paris, Bernard-Henri Lévy calls on those who united in solidarity in the days after the recent attacks to rally as well against reactionary intolerance of the National Front. "What a pity," he writes, "if, after standing so courageously against an outside enemy, France were to yield to an inner enemy that dreams, in its way, of bringing the nation to its knees."
From the other end of the crisis, Doha Hassan describes her personal experience of having been forced to flee the war in Syria and making her way in Germany in exile. Reporting from Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones explores how Syrian refugee children are coping with the psychological trauma of war. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former member of Iran's National Security Council, outlines the three main obstacles to obtaining peace in Syria: What to do with Assad, how to fight the terror groups and how to sever their links to the West's allies such as Saudi Arabia. Martin Malin of Harvard's Belfer Center examines the International Atomic Energy Agency's recent report on Iran's nuclear program and concludes that "the justification for extra vigilance and continuing concern about Iran's nuclear intentions should be clear to all."
Good news abounds this week on climate change. "For the first time, the world has reached a tipping point towards sustainable development," writes famed Stockholm University climate scientist Johan Rockström, as the Paris summit draws to a close. Much of the progress on battling climate change is being made by subnational entities with or without a global agreement. Former Sierra Club head Carl Pope writes that "While oil and coal interests can tie down national governments and prevent them from decarbonizing quickly, cities want to get on with the job -- and they are." Indeed, Karin Wanngård, the mayor of Stockholm, reports that her city is on track to become "fossil fuel free." Bill Bradley reports on California Governor Jerry Brown's outsize role at the Paris summit as he signs up scores of other regions and provinces from around the planet to join the world's eighth-largest economy in a plan to source 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Dan Rather talks to former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz who says that climate deniers among this year's crop of Republican presidential candidates will get "mugged by reality" and, as Rather extrapolates, "end up looking very foolish in the judgment of history."
Drawing on Denmark's experience with wind turbine energy generation, Jan Hylleberg quips that "the answer [to climate change] is (blowing) in the wind." Oras Tynkkynen of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra says Bill Gates is wrong that present technologies cannot reach the scale necessary to supplant fossil fuels..
Not everyone sees progress. Naomi Klein scores the willingness of climate negotiators to cross the red line of stopping warming at 2 degree centigrade while shortchanging aid to poor nations. WorldPost Associate Editor Peter Mellgard reports from the Marshall Islands about that country's fear of returning to the sea if climate talks fail to halt further warming. Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo writes an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lauding him for launching the Solar Alliance to develop renewable energy for the developing world, but also calling on him to "stand with the vulnerable" and clinch a climate deal at the global level that doesn't place a greater burden on those seeking to rise out of poverty. Eric Olander and Corbus van Staden report on how China's President Xi Jinping delivered billions in aid and deals at the recent China-Africa summit held in Johannesburg. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan profiles the life of an "undocumented" family in Beijing, rural migrants under the "hukou" system that -- until recently announced reforms -- have not had access to urban services such as education.
Nobel-awarded economist Joe Stiglitz cites a study on inequality by this year's new laureate, Angus Deaton, which suggests the U.S. could soon be the world's first "former" middle class society. A seminal study by the Pew Foundation released this week bolstered that analysis. Drawing on her new book, "Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family," Anne-Marie Slaughter advises mothers "don't drop out, defer," to "invest in others" as well as yourself, balancing caregiving with part-time work and projects while the kids grow up.
Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez celebrates the "end of Chavismo" in Venezuela this week in an election where the opposition took the majority in the National Assembly after 17 years. "With the tool of the polls in their hands," Sanchez writes, "Venezuelans have pushed change in a peaceful way, without stepping into the trap of violence or engaging in an armed revolution." In an insightful meditation from Mexico City, philosopher Sandra Cai Chen ponders why Mexicans are so comfortable with death. "As a nation we hold nothing dear," she writes, "not even life."
World Reporter Charlotte Alfred takes us inside a forgotten hotspot of the international drugs trade in Kenya. For this week's "Forgotten Fact," she examines how the war in Yemen is impacting that country's medical system. This photo essay from an exhibit at Somerset House in London offers artists' takes on what it looks like to "step inside the Internet." These were the most talked about topics on Facebook during 2015. Fusion this week reports that the head of one of China's leading biotech firms says human cloning is already possible. What's Working editor Joseph Erbentraut and reporter Lila Shapiro talk to experts who say genetically-edited foods could curb world hunger and pesticide use. Our Singularity series offers a video of a robot solving Rubik's Cube in 2.39 seconds.
WHO WE ARE
EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost's editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost's Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media Editor.
CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.
EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Dawn Nakagawa.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.
The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.
Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the "whole mind" way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.
ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council -- as well as regular contributors -- to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.
From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.
The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.
We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.