International Policy Center Director, Jan Svejnar, discusses global economic crisis with Europe-based University of Michigan alumni

February 25, 2009
On February 25, sixty alumni from the University of Michigan and other American universities gathered in Paris to network and to learn about European and United States leadership in this time of economic crisis from Jan Svejnar, Director of the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Svejnar, the Everett E. Berg Professor of Business Administration, and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Michigan, laid out the causes of the current crisis, its implications for the financial and political systems of both the U.S. and the European Union, and a set of recommended policy outcomes for both powers. After his lecture, Svejnar praised the educational networking event, citing it as an example of the unifying approach he recommends: "Crises such as this one can lead to reactive, destructive economic policymaking and the isolation of countries from one another. Bringing together so many people from many different countries around their common experiences gives us the opportunity to 'see the forest in spite of the trees' as we educate ourselves about the challenges we face, allowing us to make more informed decisions about our global economy."

For their part, the members of the U-M alumni network residing in Europe who attended are already working to leverage their time in Paris into future events across the continent. Frank Verveld, MBA '77, from Amsterdam and a liberal candidate for the upcoming June elections for the European Parliment, was inspired by the connections he saw established: "Being so far from Michigan now, it was a great opportunity to spend time with others who carry a part of Ann Arbor with them in their lives in Europe. All of us were so excited about doing this again that we're already brainstorming similar future events in Amsterdam, London and again, in Paris."

The event was hosted by the American University Club in France. The AUC fosters relationships among American alumni associations to create collegial opportunities for networking and social interactions. Aurelien Cottet, AUC's President, said of the Paris event, "It was a wonderful opportunity to sponsor Professor Svejnar. Our members really enjoyed learning from him and are eager to do something similar again."