Meridian Forums are a unique and innovative venue for shared learning and experimentation among Meridian 180 members. Thought leaders from partner universities or key experts initiate digital forums and invite member participation to explore critical risks and opportunities for crisis preparedness in key focus areas.
Every contribution posted by members in the forum is translated into Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean. Forum Summaries, which outline the central themes and ideas discussed among members in Meridian Forums, are posted publicly here after the close of each forum.
City Diplomacy (May-July 2018)
The notion of city diplomacy has changed the international law focus from formal legal arrangements between states to include informal cooperation between cities (Helmut Aust), however, an equally important shift is to the cumulative significance of changes in the mundane practices of many actors moving between cities (Fleur Johns). Between border cities, there may be little diplomacy involving the two city councils, but instead, large-scale practical diplomacy that enmeshes individuals, NGOs, broader public sector entities like universities and forms of authority, ranging from a jointly owned tunnel to ad hoc cooperation over sports events. Read more.
In the City Diplomacy online forum, moderators invited members to reflect on the increasing boldness and visibility of cities’ diplomatic engagements. Among the questions posed were whether city diplomacy is really a growing phenomenon, what versions of international relations it might produce, what the implications might be for rural and remote communities, and what the risks for cities themselves might be of the resulting global connection and disconnection. Read more.
The Shadow of North Korean Nuclear Policy and the Realistic Problems of North Korean Elites
December 2017 – February 2018
Meridian 180 held a forum for insights on the North Korean nuclear crisis from the unconventional viewpoint of the North Korean elite by posing this hypothetical: Imagine yourself as a member of Kim Jong-Un’s inner circle, born and raised to rare privilege and rank in North Korea. How would you advise Kim when the wrong word could cost you your life of comfort, if not life itself, but continuing on the present course be just as disastrous? Read more.
Truth and Post-Truth
Meridian 180 members discussed a series of stimulating questions focused on the intersections of authority, media, and the public, and the different roles and questions each stakeholder should be considering. The forum engaged a wide range of experts including legal scholars, journalists, economists, political scientists, and policymakers and resulted in a lively exploration of the role of technology, media, and power in a post-truth era. Read more.
Global Data Governance
Prompted in part by recent scandals in the United States surrounding the hacking and release of email data, Meridian 180 members thought widely about the issues and implications of how to govern data, as well as how data governs individuals and systems. The forum generated a wide exchange of ideas from a diverse group of economists, sociologists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and legal experts from Australia, China, Korea, the United States, and Latin America. Read more.
The Changing Politics of Central Banking
In the 2016 forum, Riles encouraged members to revisit these questions as part of a larger investigation: “how to understand the place of the state in the market and, in particular, the place of the central bank in relation to politics in all the senses of the term.” She asked participants to present what they considered the most compelling intellectual questions and political issues surrounding central banks. Read more.
Nuclear Energy and Climate Change
The Fukushima accident has brought new data and new urgency to the linked debates over the future of nuclear power and the need to decarbonize energy production. Yet so long after the disaster, there remains no clear public consensus on either issue. Despite the burgeoning costs of the Fukushima crisis, many governments (including Japan’s) have committed to constructing new nuclear power plants or extending the life of existing ones. At the same time, many prominent environmentalists have embraced nuclear power as a sensible (or even crucial) part of a low-carbon energy mix. In the forum, Meridian 180 members identified key issues that could benefit from further analysis. Read more.