World leaders share their insights in campus talks

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Ivo Josipović (Photo by Dana Astmann)

Three international leaders spoke at Yale on Sept. 22 on topics ranging from music and politics to diversity to Europe in the new world order. The events, which were unrelated, took place on campus throughout the day and are the latest in a series of noted presenters this fall, including U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and playwright Tom Stoppard.

In a talk presented by the School of Music at Sudler Hall, Ivo Josipović, president of Croatia, connected “Music and Politics.” Elected president in 2010, Josipović, studied both music and law and holds a degree in composition from the Zagreb Academy of Music, where he taught harmony in addition to teaching law at the University of Zagreb. For several years, he was the director of Music Biennale Zagreb, one of the largest contemporary music festivals, and served as secretary-general of the Croatian Composers’ Society.

In his remarks, Josipović noted that when he became president he made a conscious decision to use music as an important tool for diplomacy. Josipović drew parallels between statesmen and musicians, stating that both are creative activities, both must have a high level of concentration, and both require and cultivate patience and persistence. He also discussed the role of music in war, commenting that since the time of early humans music has been used both to rally people for war and to protest against it.

Josipović played numerous musical examples, including Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” symphony, Beethoven’s 1812 Overture, John Adams’ “The Death of Klinghoffer,” and Melissa Dunphy’s “Gonzales Cantata.”

Playing a clip from the song “Imagine” by the John Lennon, Josipović spoke about the power of musicians in their society and their role in politics. “Pop musicians are very important. I quite appreciate John Lennon’s approach. He’s dreaming of a better society.”

Speaking about Croatia as a modern society, the president observed that it was the government’s role to ensure that every citizen feel involved, adding, “Every nation should develop [its] culture and the richness of society.”

About a mile away at Marquand Chapel, Gjorge Ivanov, president of the Republic of Macedonia, addressed a full audience on “The Macedonian Model of Coexistence: Tradition of Respect for Diversity.” In his talk, sponsored by the Divinity School, Ivanov explained his nation’s model of co-existence, founded on integrating rather than assimilating people of diverse religious and ethnic identities.

Gjorge Ivanov (Photo courtesy Divinity School)

“There is no tolerance if there is no ‘other,’” he said, speaking through a translator. “Toleration is possible only when there is a balance between belonging and distancing.”

Ivanov is a leading expert in the field of civil society. One of the co-founders of the first Macedonian political science journal “Political Thought,” he is also founder of the first political science association in independent Macedonia. He was active in designing the reform policy of the political party VMRO-DPMNE, the party that supported his presidential nomination in 2009, and was re-elected to a five-year term of office in 2014.

During his remarks, Ivanov stated that he hoped the Macedonian model could serve as a blueprint for future conflict resolution, adding, “We don’t want to be a mirror that reflects the past, we want to be a light that illuminates.”

Later in the afternoon, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission of the European Union, spoke about “Europe in the New World Order” at the School of Management’s Zhang Auditorium. In a conversation with David Cameron, professor of political science, and director of the Yale Program in European Union Studies at The MacMillan Center, Barroso addressed a full house that included nearly 300 students and faculty.

José Manuel Barroso (Photo by Philip Arendt)

“The main question of our time is whether or not we succeed in adapting to a changing, complex, and challenging global environment, and how,” he said.

Appointed prime minister of Portugal in 2002, Barroso was first elected by the European Parliament to the post of president of the European Commission in 2004. Five years later he was re-elected for a second term. Barroso has also served in several international missions, including as head of the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and adviser to the United Nations in projects for Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Barroso’s talk at the School of Management was sponsored by the Yale Program in European Union Studies, European Studies Council, and the Yale School of Management.

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