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The Political Salon

The Political Salon regularly convenes a diverse group of mid-career professionals for evening discussions on a range of current political issues of common concern. Founded in 2003 by Steven E. Sokol to promote dialogue among the next generation of leaders in business, policy, and the media, the Political Salon has been formally hosted by the World Policy Institute since 2010. Attendees are diverse in terms of nationality, profession, and political persuasion.

The Political Salon format is informal; events begin with wine and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a brief presentation by the speaker and then a question and answer period with the moderator and audience. To ensure that everyone present has a chance to actively engage in the discussion, we cap the number of participants.

Political Salon events are by invitation only, and invitations are not transferable. New participants must be nominated by a Salon member.


Participants may attend their first Salon for free. Advance registration and payment are required. Following the first Salon attended, pricing is as follows:

  • Free for WPI Members
  • $20 for those employed in the private sector
  • $10 for non-profit professionals, and those in media, government and academia

The Political Salon depends on ongoing support from participants to cover the costs of refreshments, so we encourage you to enroll in the World Policy Institute Membership Program. The membership enrollment period is now open for the term ending June 30, 2015.

Payments and Registration:

Payments can be made online here:

Political Salon Admissions

(You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card; whether you pay by credit card or PayPal, your receipt will come from PayPal.)

To pay by check, make checks payable to World Policy Institute and send to:
World Policy Institute
108 West 39th Street, Suite 1000
New York, NY 10018

Be sure to write "Political Salon" on the memo line, and include your return address so that we can send you a receipt.

With special thanks to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for supporting the Political Salon.





Political Salons: 2013

MakerBot Foundation’s Richard Tyson and Greg Lindsay of WPI’s Emergent Cities Project explore the implications of the Ubers, knock-off purses, pirated movies, favelas, saving circles, food trucks and gypsy cabs of the world’s ballooning informal economies, now estimated at $10 trillion globally.
Liam Stack, a New York Times journalist based in Cairo from 2005 until 2012, discusses what the future holds for the “new” – or not so new - Egypt, and the role of the international community in that future.
Documentary photographer Pete Pin works in Cambodian diaspora communities across America, focusing his lens on Pol Pot’s legacy across the generations. In recognition of World Refugee Day, 
he explores how artistic expression has empowered a new generation as guardians of their family story.
Juliet Kavishe, Namibia-based architect
Awais Khan, President and CEO of the American Pakistan Foundation
February 2 - Kashmir Musings
Ather Zia, native of Kashmir, published journalist, activist, poet, essayist, former civil servant in Kashmir, with Kalpana Raina, managing partner of 252 Solutions, LLC, and the World Policy Institute Board of Directors
January 15 - Haiti Three Years On
Jacques-Philippe Piverger, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of MpowerD (Micro Power Design, Inc.), founder and Chairman Emeritus of Soleil Global (SG)

Political Salons: 2012

December 11 - The Tip of the Iceberg
Renard Sexton, expert on conflict, natural resources and international affairs with regional expertise on South Asia, Latin America and West and Central Africa

December 4 - Syrian Crisis: Behind the Fight
Lara Setrakian, Co-Founder and Managing Editor of News Deeply

November 15 - The Dictator's Learning Curve
William J. Dobson, Politics and Foreign Affairs Editor for Slate Magazine

October 16 - Diasporas
Bryan Lozano, founding member and current Executive Director of Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro)

September 12 - Burmese Daze
Michelle Fanzo, Project Leader at World Policy Institute

June 26 - The Responsibility to Protect
Jared Genser, Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, founder of Freedom Now

June 7 - Every Nation for Itself
Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group and Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute with Constance Hunter, Deputy Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income, AXA IM

April 24 - Getting To Zero: Finishing the Job the MDGs Started
John W. McArthur, international development economist and Senior Fellow, UN Foundation

April 12 - Europe's Closing Borders
Damaso Reyes, Photographer and Project Leader, World Policy Institute

April 11 - The German Energy Transition: From Nuclear Power to Renewables
Jochen Flasbarth, President of Germany's Federal Environment Agency

March 6 - Unleashing Potential: Addressing Challenges to Global Entrepreneurship
Elmira Bayrasli, Project Leader, World Policy Institute

February 6 - What the US Can Learn From China
Ann Lee, author of What the U.S. Can Learn From China: An Open-Minded Guide to Treating Our Greatest Competitor as Our Greatest Teacher and Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group

January 14 - Wanted Women
Deborah Scroggins, author Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, & the War On Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Aafia Siddiqui, with Patricia DeGennaro, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute.


Political Salons: 2010- 2011

Dec 12 – Zombie Banks
Yalman Onaran, author of Zombie Banks: How Broken Banks and Debtor Nations Are Crippling the Global Economy, with Dan Alamariu, Director, Eurasia Group

Nov 29 – Occupy the World: Economic and Political Implications of Ongoing Protest Movements
Mira Kamdar, Paris-based Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York and an Associate Fellow of Asia Society

Nov 14 - Aerotropolis
Greg Lindsay, co-author ofAerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next, with Michelle Fanzo, Project Leader, World Policy Institute

Nov 8 – Getting out of the Debt Mess
Hans Humes, president of Greylock Capital Management and Michele Wucker, President, World Policy Institute

Oct 11 – DarkMarket and the Cybercrime Epidemic
Misha Glenny, author of DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops, and You, and Kim Taipale, founder, Stilwell Center and Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute

May 19 - Lessons from Africa
John Prendergast, human rights activist, author, and founder of the Enough Project

May 10 - Dangerous Speech in Kenya: Warning and Responses
Susan Benesch, Project Director for WPI’s "Dangerous Speech on the Road to Genocide"

May 5 - Mubarak's Gone, But Not His System
Thanassis Cambanis, professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and the New School's Graduate Program in International Affairs

April 12 - The Tohoku Earthquake: Response and Implications for Japan
Devin Stewart, Senior Director of Corporate, Policy, and Lecture Programs. Japan Society

March 14 - Religion and Politics in Post-Mubarak Egypt
Monique El -Faizy, Author

February 22 - How to Run the World
Parag Khanna, Author and Director of Global Governance Program, New America Foundation

February 9 - Is There a Global Currency War?
Constance Hunter, Senior Economist, Aladdin Capital

February 3 - Kidnapped: Inside Pakistan's Tribal Areas
David Rohde, Author and New York Times correspondent

December 13 - Generation's End- A Personal Memoir of American Power after 9/11
Scott Malcomson, author and New York Times Magazine foreign editor

November 16 - The Global Humanitarianism of the New Rich
David Callahan, author of Fortunes of Change

November 15 - Human Rights in Iran
MEP and longtime human rights activist Barbara Lochbihler and The Century Foundation's Geneive Abdo

November 10 - Teaching and Technology in Siberia
An open discussion with the Russian Open World delegation, comprised of primary and secondary school educators from the Russian Republic of Buryatia

October 18 - Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions
Priscilla Hayner, author

October 12 - Afghanistan: A Post-Election Assessment
Patricia DeGennaro, World Policy Senior Fellow and Afghanistan election observer

September 30 - Iceland's Financial Eruption: What Now?
Heidar Gudjonsson, economist and the managing director of Ursus, an investment company in Zürich, Switzerland, and Chairman of RSE, a think tank in Iceland

September 21 - Belarus: Arts and Political Change in Europe's Last Dictatorship
Natalya Koliada and Nikolai Khalezin, founders and principals of Belarus Free Theatre

July 19 - Not Rocket Science: How to Counter Insurgency in Crisis Regions
David Kilcullen, former Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus, former advisor to General Stanley McChrystal, and author of “The Accidental Guerilla” and “Counterinsurgency”



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