On October 22, The Bretton Woods Committee held its Annual International Council Luncheon for Global Financial Leaders at The Stephen Decatur House Museum in conjunction with the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. Key luncheon speakers included: President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, Managing Director of the World Bank Graeme Wheeler and First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF John Lipsky. The luncheon hosted around eighty international leaders and some distinguished U.S. citizens including Paul Volcker and James Wolfensohn.
Council Chair Richard Debs welcomed International Council members and introduced the speakers. Paul Volcker spoke of the increasing challenges facing multilateral institutions. He emphasized the importance and continued relevance of these institutions and the need for stronger U.S. and international support.
John Lipsky reviewed the IMF's Mid-Term Strategy Reform and its principal elements: strengthening multilateral and bilateral surveillance; renovating approaches to crisis prevention; and reforming the income model of the IMF to reflect the changes taking place globally.
Graeme Wheeler reported on the great optimism prevalent within the World Bank and the positive momentum that has taken place under the new leadership of President Robert Zoellick. Wheeler presented the current theme for the World Bank: Inclusive and Sustainable Globalization and discussed the primary challenges in the way of meeting this goal. He noted that there are a billion people excluded from the economic equation, often living in land-locked countries with unstable countries as their neighbors. He said the globalization process is passing these countries by, and this is particularly so in sub-Sahara African countries.
Jean-Claude Trichet spoke of the importance of maintaining strong multilateral institutions and the need for a stronger institutional framework. He disagreed with arguments questioning the relevance of the IMF and argued that the IMF continued to be an important global financial institution. He also emphasized the need for continued American support for these institutions. He concluded underscoring what he sees as the importance of organizations like The Bretton Woods Committee and initiatives such as the International Council in help garnering support for these efforts.