Falling Walls 2021: Breaking the Walls of Old-School Trade Diplomacy
7 - 9 November 2021, Berlin
The Falling Walls Science Summit 2021 is going to take place as an in-person event again this year in Berlin, and for the sixth time a GDL member will get the chance to make another wall fall. This year GDL member Volkan Sezgin will get the unique opportunity to present his pitch on "Breaking the Walls of Old-School Trade Diplomacy" at the Grand Finale of the 2021 Falling Walls Lab on 7 November in Berlin.
Each year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall the Falling Walls Lab Finale and the subsequent conference provide an opportunity to bring together brilliant thinkers from a multitude of fields. Promising scientists, entrepreneurs and young professionals from all over the globe present their ideas and breakthroughs – "the next walls to fall" – and the world’s leading minds discuss the contemporary challenges facing humankind and the newest achievements in their respective fields.
Following the COVID-19-related disruption to the global economies which pushed some economies into recession while others were strained by financial difficulties, most developed and emerging market economies strived to protect their economies and domestic markets by applying different types of trade-related restrictions. Marked by the pandemic the future of global trade relations now seems even more complicated than before. Volkan’s pitch aims to uncover new ways to shape old-fashioned, non-digital trade diplomacy, particularly after the pandemic.
According to Volkan, trade diplomacy should now be based more on digital (remote) trade fairs and conferences, and trade agreements, which lie at the heart of trade diplomacy, should focus on inserting digital aspects and seek ways to increase bilateral trade, particularly using digital technologies like blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to level up global trade in general. "Whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic will be over soon, rapid digitalisation requires a reformation of old-fashioned trade diplomacy," says Volkan.
Find out more about other GDL members who participated in the Falling Walls Lab before such as Ivana Petrov who pitched the GDL under the slogan "Breaking the Wall of Exclusive Diplomacy" in 2019 and Tarek Alsaleh who presented his reform idea of the aid sector "Breaking the Wall of Localising Aid" in 2018.
Volkan Sezgin is an economic adviser and senior economic specialist at the US Mission in Turkey. Prior to that, he worked as a senior experts at the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Turkey. In 2014, he was employed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs as a National Expert in Professional Training (NEPT). Before that, he was an energy expert at the state-owned Turkish Energy Company (BOTAS).
Volkan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in science and technology policy studies from the Middle East Technical University. He also holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Manchester and a PhD in economics from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He was a visiting research fellow at the Department of Economics at the University of Cambridge and a Visegrad fellow at the Warsaw-based think tank, the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW).
Ivana is an experienced professional with more than a decade of work in the field of international projects, public administration, and civil society. She was engaged with the Global Diplomacy Lab, both as freelance project manager and an elected advisory council member.
She worked for the Government of the Republic of Serbia as Communications Officer to the Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession of Serbia to the European Union. Prior to that, she was Public Relations and Project Manager at the European Movement in Serbia. She also led the media team of the international conference Belgrade Security Forum.
Ivana is a graduate of the Hertie School of Governance, Executive Master of Public Administration programme in Berlin, the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade with focus on international relations, and the Diplomatic Academy of Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“I give a little here, I give a little there and I keep a little for myself.”
A half-Syrian, half-German entrepreneur, Tarek Alsaleh has won lots of international awards and acclaim. He also changed the law in Syria to set up his own sports projects across the Middle East and beyond. Uniquely, the projects he started are now locally owned, creating new jobs and fostering youth leadership. Tarek’s projects have helped over 100,000 refugees, abused women and children with cancer and put the art form capoeira created by slaves in Brazil on the global humanitarian map.
Tarek has now set his sights on even greater goals – he wants to change the aid system and abolish the middlemen through innovation and tech so that local people receive more of the funding.
Learn more about his work in this blog post.