President and CEO,
International Economic Forum of the Americas
This edition of the Conference of Montreal was part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA). It all began in 1994, at a time when globalization was entering a new era symbolized by the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the advent of the European Union after the Maastricht Treaty, and the implementation of many other free trade agreements throughout the world.
Some 25 years later, globalization has experienced several shocks that have led to a major reassessment of its benefits. This edition of the Conference of Montreal was a great opportunity to thoroughly reflect on the most pressing current issues and debate how globalization should be adjusted accordingly. In a global economy that experiences tremendous changes, adapting to the many modern-day challenges that face our world is essential.
The general theme of this 25th Conference was Embracing Change. With this theme, we wanted to shape discussions in a pragmatic, positive and dynamic way. Globalization must be adapted in order to become more fair and inclusive and focus on renewed solidarity. The urgent challenges of the 21st century – particularly the fight against climate change – leave us little choice.
This year we hosted more than 4,300 participants and 250 speakers. The many corporate leaders and foreign delegations that we will have the pleasure of welcoming will allow us to better grasp the various outlooks on the global economy in all major regions of the globe. It is hard to find the right words to thank all our partners and speakers who have contributed to making the IEFA and the Conference of Montreal one of the most important independent international economic forums in the world these past 25 years.
I look forward to welcoming you to the 3rd edition of the Conference of Paris, on November 13-14, 2019; the 10th edition of the World Strategic Forum in Miami, on April 6-7, 2020; the 26th edition of the Conference of Montreal, on June 8-11, 2020 and the 14th edition of the Toronto Global Forum, on October 26 – 28, 2020.