Dr. Ian Bremmer Speaks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs at the Chicago Club

Stephen Condren

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Last night, September 13, 2006, Dr. Ian Bremmer was invited by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to speak on current political/economic issue at the Chicago Club. The event was an immediate “sold out” and for good reason. Dr. Bremmer has just completed his new book The “J” Curve, a new way to understand why nations rise and fall, and brought it to the Council for discussion.

Dr. Bremmer was most graciously introduced by Leah Zell Wanger, Board of Treasurers of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and President of the LZW Group LLC. In the many years that I have been attending Chicago Council events this one is a landmark. Dr. Bremmer has a radical approach to observing, analyzing, and assessing current geo-political/economic events. His approaches are articulated in his stunning new book which is a must read for anyone interested in the state of current political/economic events globally.

There are many ways in which one can approach Dr. Bremmer’s discourse, however, the best approach is to say that it was both imaginative and cogent. The moment Dr. Bremmer stood before the gather he had us spell bound. With encyclopedic breadth and vision Dr. Bremmer went through country after country sighting with incredible detail their state of current economic and political positions. Further, Dr. Bremmer was able to accomplish this fete in a manner that was accommodating to his audience.

As time drew to a close the audience only grew hungrier for more of what he had to offer. Numerous times individuals called out “we have two hours, please go on”. When Dr. Bremmer took questions he was able to answer them in solid precise detail replete with incredible details. What made his responses so astonishing is that he spoke directly to the question unrehearsed. The gathering was a very special event long to be remembered by those of us who were fortunate to attend.

Below is a clipping for the inside covers of Dr. Bremmer’s book:

What Freakonomics does for understanding the economy, The J Curve does for better understanding how nations behave. The J curve is a visual too that allows us to see at a glance why some crucial countries are in crisis and unstable while others are prosperous and politically solid. In this imaginative, playful, and practical guide, Ian Bremmer, an expert on the politics of international business, turns conventional wisdom on its head. He reveals how the United States can begin more successfully to act in its own interests.

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, the world’s largest political risk consultancy. He has written for the Financial Times, the Harvard Businss Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and has authored or edited five books. His a columnist for Slate, a contributing editor at The National Interest, and a political commentator on CNN, Fox News, and CNBC. He lives I New York City and teaches at Columbia University.

I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in Hyde Park Township, near the University of Chicago. As I child I was always drawing and painting. My father owned an art supply company, Favor Ruhl & Watson, where I was able to get all that I needed to progress in my work.

I have always enjoyed portraiture and landscape painting. In High School (Naperville Central High School) I took Drafting from Mr. Pierce. I quickly grasped the principles of perspective and drafting and hence made a career with both Fine Art and Architectural Renderings.

In the mid 1970's I joined the US Navy and was stationed on board the USS Midway, CV-41. The Midway was home ported in Yokosuka, Japan (A suburb of Tokyo). While in service I traveled all over Asia including such countries as Korea, China, Philippines, Singapore, Pakistan, Hong Kong, and Japan. While in Japan I learned Japanese. I speak German and Spanish as well.


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