Salzburg Global and The Volcker Alliance Open Session on Restoring the Public’s Trust

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Sep 20, 2013
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global and The Volcker Alliance Open Session on Restoring the Public’s Trust

Participants consider new ways to improve governance and effectiveness of public policy execution. Salzburg Global President Stephen Salyer (l) introduces session chair Paul Volcker

An international gathering of top practitioners and thinkers have arrived at Salzburg Global Seminar to address fundamental challenges for governance.

Salzburg Global and The Volcker Alliance have jointly convened for four days to host the program, ‘Restoring the Public’s Trust: Delivering on Public Policy Goals.

The Volcker Alliance was founded in 2013 by former head of the Federal Reserve, and former economic advisor to President Barack Obama’s administration, Paul Volcker. It was established with the aim to rekindle the intellectual, practical, and academic interest in the implementation of policy.

Upon welcoming the participants at the Schloss Leopoldskron last night, Mr Volcker said: “All of us involved in the birth of the Volcker Alliance appreciate the cooperation with the Salzburg Global Seminar in hosting this special conference.

"I am especially gratified that so many have responded to our call for renewed effort to meet the need for more effective government."

He reaffirmed The Volcker Alliance's mantra, a six-word aphorism of Thomas Edison: "Vision without execution is hallucination".

Mr Volcker said: "We see our role as a catalyst, able to bring to bear new and existing resources, to help generate new analysis and new research with the help of today's technology, and to sponsor cooperative programs - all to facilitate , in Edison's word, 'execution' of public policies.

"To be a bit dramatic, I think of this Conference as a call to arms. It is a rare opportunity to exchange views, to learn from each other in her United States and elsewhere, to assess priorities, to gauge the extent of our common interests, and maybe in some instances to work as partners."

Mr Volcker returns to Salzburg Global for the fourth time, having most recently chaired last August’s session on ‘Financial Regulation: Bridging Global Differences.’

Participants were welcomed by Stephen Salyer, President and CEO of Salzburg Seminar, and Clare Shine, Vice President and Chief Program Officer.

Mr Salyer said concern about a lack of trust in government was widespread, with "no generally accepted theory" for what drives or erodes it.

Participants were taken on a guided tour of the Schloss last night before enjoying a BBQ dinner in the Great Hall.

During the meal, select participants were asked to raise, from their perspective, one critical issue that warranted attention to improve government performance.

As part of the session, the next few days will be spent identifying: the most pressing areas of need; the primary challenges to successful policy execution and trust; the most promising levers of change and priorities for investigation and cooperation.

Chaired by Mr Volcker, the group of 43 specially selected politicians, senior public servants, researchers, academics, corporate and private sector representatives will look at how organizations like The Volcker Alliance can improve the effectiveness of public policy execution.