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Could a Guiding Star Motivate Collective Action on Global Challenges?

Global challenges are those issues, problems, or threats that impact a large portion of humankind and require action by multiple actors: for example, avoiding the use of nuclear weapons, mitigating climate change, and preventing mass violence and atrocities. The Stanley Foundation's mission is to advance multilateral action toward solutions to these challenges, and we often ask ourselves what can be done to catalyze that action in the current global context. 

At the 50th Global Issues Conference, held April 3–5 in Tarrytown, New York, the Stanley Foundation brought together a diverse group of innovators and thinkers working on some of the world’s greatest global challenges for a hard look at the potential of collective action and what forms it could take in the next decade. Journalists, engineers, activists, inventors, academics, and humanitarians identified both usual and unexpected opportunities for collective action and agreed that a unified global vision respectful and inclusive of all human situations could serve as a guiding star. The conference builds on a similar discussion the foundation organized last fall. Going forward, we will continue to explore the topic and incorporate key takeaways into our work.

Green Banks Can Help Bridge the Climate Finance Gap

Among the biggest hurdles to limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C —and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change—is sufficient financing. Green banks may be one solution. In line with the need to raise ambition for 2020 Paris Agreement commitments, the Stanley Foundation co-organized the Green Bank Design Summit held March 18–19 in Paris. More than 130 participants from finance ministries, national development banks, donor countries, private financial institutions, and expert organizations studied how they could form green banks in developing and developed countries, with the expectation that at least a dozen will be created in the next few years.

Go More In Depth on Green Banks

Did you know that Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Great Britain, as well as Connecticut and New York, have set up green banks in the past few years? In a new article in Courier, Bangladeshi journalist Sohara Mehroze Shachi examines how green banks operate and what lies ahead for the sector. Find out more.

The Social and Economic Implications of Climate Action

What factors need to be considered to ensure climate policy is considerate of its connections to other sectors? How will policymakers mitigate unintended socioeconomic impacts of climate action? Civil society organizers, social justice advocates, and climate experts offer their perspectives and suggestions in a readout from the 59th annual Strategy for Peace Conference.

Journalists Have a Vital Role as Southeast Asia Looks to Decarbonize

Business, economics, and finance journalists in Southeast Asia will play a key role in informing the public and stakeholders as the region looks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, transition to clean energy, and uphold commitments to limit global temperature rise. The Stanley Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation are teaming up to equip these journalists with tools to improve their coverage on Southeast Asia’s transition to clean energy. Explore this opportunity.

An invitation-only workshop June 12–14 in Bangkok, Thailand, will address journalists’ gaps in understanding, access to information, and development of skills to produce unbiased, accurate, and high-quality reporting.

Missiles and Misinformation: Remembering the False Alert in Hawaii

One year ago, a false alert popped up on thousands of cell phone screens: “Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This Is Not a Drill.” After 36 minutes of perplexity and panic, news that the alert was false was broadcast on local TV.

What lessons drawn from the Hawaii incident have been implemented since? How do those lessons compare to what we learned before the digital age? Alex Wellerstein, a historian of nuclear issues, addresses these questions in a new article in Courier.

Inclusion of More Women Leads to Better Policy

It’s not uncommon to see few women at international nuclear policy events or talking about the issue on television or quoted in articles. A recent report found that “the sub-field of nuclear posture and deterrence policy, and on the military side, the people who actually handle the weapons,” are seen as insulated, male dominated, and unwelcoming. But the Stanley Foundation and its partners are addressing the systemic challenge through a new initiative, Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy. Read about the origins of the problem, and what is being done to fix it, in Courier.

“What Works” in Building Resilience to Violent Conflict Worldwide?

The Stanley Foundation and the University of San Diego Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ) are launching Impact:Peace, an initiative that aims to reverse the 30-year high in violent conflict the world is currently experiencing. Impact:Peace will create more-effective peacebuilding by collecting and researching successful cases of violence prevention and determining how those examples can be applied to bolster global efforts to strengthen resilience to mass violence and atrocities. 

This new initiative will kick off May 20–22 at Kroc IPJ in San Diego and is the product of several years of listening to and learning from the needs of the peacebuilding and atrocity prevention communities. Join the conversation.

The Venezuelan Crisis Is In Focus in Cúcuta, Colombia

As the Venezuelan crisis escalates, what solutions can civil society, government, and regional actors offer to address the crisis and prevent further violence? Experts from across Latin America came together April 24–26 in the border town of Cúcuta, Colombia, to focus on the humanitarian emergency, migration, and displacement of Venezuelans to nonbordering countries; opportunities and challenges for coordination between civil society and multilateral groups; and the role of extraregional powers such as China and Russia. The workshop, organized by the Stanley Foundation and the think tank CRIES, included field visits with the Jesuit Refugee Service Colombia to observe bridge crossings between Colombia and Venezuela, settlements of forced migrants, and the situation at a local hospital. A policy memo in Spanish and English is forthcoming. Follow us on Twitter for updates.

How Can the Private Sector Contribute to More Resilient, Peaceful Societies?

The private sector—especially small and medium-sized enterprises—suffers staggering losses when violent conflicts arise. While the business community has at times inadvertently or intentionally contributed to violence and internal upheaval, research has demonstrated the positive actions businesses can take to contribute to violence prevention and resilience.

During the 59th annual Strategy for Peace Conference, experts with backgrounds in peacebuilding, the private sector, and academia grappled with two primary questions: How does the peacebuilding community engage the private sector in this work? And once the private sector is engaged, how can the peacebuilding community effectively guide its actions? Read their recommendations.

CASSIE MATHIAS recently became director of finance and treasurer at the Stanley Foundation. She has over twenty years of experience in accounting and finance through positions in public accounting, manufacturing, and municipal utilities. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in business administration at the University of Iowa and is a lifelong Iowan.

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About The Stanley Foundation

The Stanley Foundation advances multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. The foundation's work is built on a belief that greater international cooperation will improve global governance and enhance global citizenship. The organization values its Midwestern roots and family heritage as well as its role as a nonpartisan, private operating foundation. The Stanley Foundation does not make grants. Online at

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