In Monterrey, Mexico, Great Minds Are Going to Clash

Foreign Policy and Letras Libres are staging a very special series of debates with some of the world’s most interesting thinkers about some of the most controversial issues of our time.

Debates conducted by Moiss Nam and Enrique Krauze
Monterrey, Mexico

Debates conducted by Moiss Nam and Enrique Krauze
Monterrey, Mexico

For a list of speaker biographies, click here.

Is China Heading for a Crash?
Albert Keidel vs. Minxin Pei
Sept. 27, 2007

See Video

Are Islam and Democracy Compatible?
Husain Haqqani vs. Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Oct. 11, 2007

See Video

Is Capitalism Good for the Poor?
Ignacio Ramonet vs. Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Oct. 17, 2007

See Video

Is Globalization Good for Humanity?
Peter Singer vs. Martin Wolf
Oct. 29, 2007

See Video

Is the United States a Dangerous Empire?
David Rieff vs. Leon Wieseltier
Nov. 1, 2007

Is Hugo Chvez Good for Latin America?
Marcos Aguinis vs. Tariq Ali
Nov. 6, 2007

The Evolution of Literature
A conversation with
Mario Vargas Llosa
and Enrique Krauze
Oct. 18, 2007

See Video

What Are the Possibilities
and Risks of the Worlds
Economy in the 21st Century?
A conversation with
Lawrence Summers and
Moiss Nam
Oct. 25, 2007

See Video

Speaker Bios

Named one of the most influential thinkers of our time by Time magazine, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken defender of womens rights in Islamic societies. Born in Somalia, she escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. Ms. Hirisi Ali was an interpreter and adviser for the Office of InterCultural Communication in Leiden from 1995 to 2001 as well as a researcher for the Wiardi Beckam Foundation in 2001 and 2002. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. As a resident fellow for the American Enterprise Institute, Ms. Hirsi Ali will be researching the relationship between the West and Islam; womens rights in Islam; violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments; and Islam in Europe. Ms. Hirsi Ali earned a master’s degree in political science from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Husain Haqqani is the director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University. He is also a journalist, a diplomat, and advisor to three Pakistani prime ministers. He came to the United States in 2002 as a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and as an adjunct professor in the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Ambassador Haqqani acquired traditional Islamic learning as well as a modern education in International Relations. His journalism career started with work as East Asian correspondent for Arabia — The Islamic World Review during the turbulent years following the Iranian revolution. During this period he wrote extensively on Muslims in China and East Asia as well as Islamic political movements. Later, as Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, he covered the war in Afghanistan and acquired a deep understanding of militant Islamist jihadi groups. He also has a distinguished career in government. He served as an advisor to Pakistani Prime Ministers Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Nawaz Sharif, and Benazir Bhutto. From 1992 to 1993 he was Pakistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Ignacio Ramonet specializes in geopolitics, economics, and cultural history. He has been the editor of the magazine Le Monde Diplomatique since 1999. He is a professor of communications at the Universidad Denis Diderot in Paris and one of the founders of ATTAC International. ATTAC was founded in France in 1998 and since then it has grown into an organization of about 65,000 members. He contributed in the organization of the Social World Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is also an advisor to the United Nations on geopolitics and international strategy. He is currently teaching classes in the Sorbonne of Paris.

Alvaro Vargas Llosa is a senior fellow and director of The Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute, a nationally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, and the author of the book Liberty for Latin America, which won the Sir Anthony Fisher International Memorial Award for its contribution to the cause of freedom in 2005. He was recently appointed Young Global Leader 2007 by the World Economic Forum in Davos. Vargas Llosa is a native of Peru and received his B.S.C. in international history. He has been a member of Board of the Miami Herald Publishing Company and op-ed page editor and columnist at the Miami Herald, and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the BBC World Service, Time magazine, Granta magazine, El Pas, the International Herald Tribune, and other media outlets, including Foreign Policy. In addition, Vargas Llosa has been a commentator at Univision TV, news director at RCN radio, London correspondent for Spains ABC daily newspaper, commentator at Radio Nacional de Espaa in Madrid, host of the weekly TV program Planeta 3 that aired for five years, and a regular columnist for over half a dozen Latin American newspapers. In addition to Liberty for Latin America, he is the author of the books The Madness of Things Peruvian, Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot (which he co-authored with Carlos Alberto Montaner and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza), The Myth of Che Guevara, El regreso del idiota, El Exilio Indomable, Cuando Hablaba Dormido, El Diablo en Campaa, En el Reino del Espanto, Tiempos de Resistencia, and La Contenta Barbarie. He has lectured widely on world economic and political issues across the United States, Europe, and Latin America.

Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1936. He graduated with a degree in literature from the Universidad de San Marcos de Lima and received his doctorate from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He has lived in Paris, London, and Barcelona. Although he had a written a play in 1952 in Piura and published a book of short stories in 1959, Los jefes, that received the Leopoldo Alas Prize, he did not receive notability as a writer until the publication of his novel The Time of the Hero. The novel received the Premio Biblioteca Breve (1962) and the Premio de la Crtica (1963) and was translated into more than 30 languages. In 1966, he published his second novel, The Green House, which also earned the Premio de la Crtica and the International Romulus Gallegos Prize. He then published The Cubs, Conversation in The Catedral, Garca Mrquez: Story of a God-Killer, Captain Pantoja and the Special Services, The perpetual orgy: Flaubert and Madame Bovary, Aunt Julia and the scriptwriter, the theatrical pieces The Young Lady from Tacna, Kathie and the Hippopotamus, La Chunga, El loco de los balcones and Ojos bonitos, cuadros feos and the novels The War of the End of the World, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, the murder mystery Who killed Palomindo Molero?, In Praise of the Stepmother, Death in the Andes (winner of the Premio de la Planeta in 1993), A Fish in the Water, The Notebooks of Don Rigobertos, The Feast of the Goat and The Way to Paradise, and the article series Diario de Irak e Israel/Palestina: Paz o guerra santa. His essays have been collected in a three volume series Against the Wind and the Tide and those of literary critique are gathered in A Writers Reality. Also, he has published the literary essays Carta de batalla por Tirant lo Blanc and The Temptation of the Impossible. Since 2004, Galaxy Gutenberg/Crculo de Lectores have been publishing all of Vargas Llosas works. This year the same publishing house produced his theatrical project Odiseo and Penlope, inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey. The Bad Girl is his most recent novel. Vargas Llosa has received some of the most important civic and literary awards, such as the Prince of Asturias Prize (1986), Cervantes Prize (1994) and the Jerusalem Prize (1995). Since 1994 he has been a member of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Lawrence H. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. He served as the 27th president of Harvard University from July 2001 until June 2006. From 1999 to 2001 he served as the United States secretary of the Treasury following his earlier service as deputy under secretary of the Treasury and as chief economist of the World Bank. Prior to his service in Washington, Summers was a professor of economics at Harvard and MIT. His research contributions were recognized when he received the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40 and when he was the first social scientist to receive the National Science Foundations Alan T. Waterman Award for outstanding scientific achievement. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Lawrence Summers received his B.S. from MIT and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. Among his other activities, Lawrence Summers writes a monthly column for the Financial Times, co-edits the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, and serves as a managing director of D.E.Shaw, a major alternative investment firm. He also serves on a number of not-for-profit and for-profit boards, including the editorial board of Foreign Policy.

Editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine, Moiss Nam heads one of the worlds leading publications on international politics and economics, and winner of the 2003 and 2007 National Magazine Award for general excellence. Foreign Policy circulates in 161 countries and is simultaneously published in eleven different languages. Dr. Nam has written extensively on international politics and economy. His opinion columns appear in the Financial Times, El Pais, Newsweek, TIME, Corriere della Sera, Le Monde, Berliner Zeitung, and many other internationally recognized newspapers and magazines. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy, a bestseller selected by the Washington Post as one of the best non-fiction books of 2005. Illicit has been published in 14 languages and is the subject of a two-hour TV special being produced by National Geographic Film and Television for worldwide broadcasting. Dr. Nam is a member of the World Economic Forums International Media Council, which is composed of the 100 most influential media figures in the world. He is the Chairman of the Group of Fifty, a select network of CEOs of Latin Americas largest corporations and also a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy and Population Action International. Dr. Nam previously served as an executive director at the World Bank and directed policy studies on economic reforms at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also served as Venezuelas minister of trade and industry in the early 1990s. Prior to his ministerial position, he was a professor and dean at IESA, a business school and research center in Caracas. Dr. Nam holds M.S.C. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Peter Singer was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1946, and educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. He has taught at the University of Oxford, La Trobe University, and Monash University, and has held several other visiting appointments. Since 1999 he has been Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. From 2005 on, he has also held the part-time position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. Peter Singer first became well known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation. His other books include: Democracy and Disobedience; Practical Ethics; The Expanding Circle; Marx; Hegel; Animal Factories (with Jim Mason); The Reproduction Revolution (with Deane Wells), Should the Baby Live? (with Helga Kuhse), How Are We to Live?, Rethinking Life and Death, Ethics into Action, A Darwinian Left, One World, Pushing Time Away, The President of Good and Evil, How Ethical is Australia? (with Tom Gregg) and The Way We Eat (with Jim Mason). He also co-authored The Greens with Bob Brown, founder of the Australian Greens. Books he has edited or co edited include Test Tube Babies; In Defence of Animals; Applied Ethics; Animal Rights and Human Obligations; Embryo Experimentation; A Companion to Ethics; The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity, Ethics, A Companion to Bioethics, Bioethics: An Anthology, The Moral of the Story and In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave and Stem Cell Research: The Ethical Issues. His works have appeared in more than 20 languages. He is the author of the major article on Ethics in the current edition of the Encylopaedia Britannica. Two collections of his writings have been published: Writings on an Ethical Life, which he edited, and Unsanctifying Human Life, edited by Helga Kuhse. Peter Singer was the founding President of the International Association of Bioethics, and with Helga Kuhse, founding co-editor of the journal Bioethics. Outside academic life, he is the co-founder and president of The Great Ape Project, an international effort to obtain basic rights for chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. He is also president of Animal Rights International.

Martin Wolf is associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, London. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 for services to financial journalism. Mr Wolf is an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University, an honorary fellow of the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy (Oxonia), and a special professor at the University of Nottingham. He has been a forum fellow at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos since 1999 and a member of its International Media Council since 2006. He was made a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Nottingham University in July 2006. He was made a Doctor of Science (Economics) of London University, honoris causa, by the London School of Economics in December, 2006. Mr Wolf was joint winner of the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism for 1989 and 1997. He won the RTZ David Watt memorial prize for 1994, granted annually to a writer judged to have made an outstanding contribution in the English language towards the clarification of national, international and political issues and the promotion of their greater understanding. He won the Accenture Decade of Excellence at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards of 2003. He won the Newspaper Feature of the Year Award at the Workworld Media Awards in 2003. On December 1, 2005, he was given First Magazines Special Advocacy Award at its annual Award for Responsible Capitalism event. His most recent publication is Why Globalization Works (Yale University Press, 2004).

Leon Wieseltier has been the literary editor of The New Republic since 1983. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1952. After three years as a graduate student in Jewish history at Harvard University, he was a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard from 1979 to 1982. He also attended Columbia University and Oxford University. Mr. Wieseltier has published many fiction and non-fiction books. His book Kaddish was a finalist in the National Book Award in the year 2000. Against Identity is a collection of thoughts about the modern notion of identity. Mr. Wieseltier also introduced and edited a volume of the written works of Lionel Trilling called The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent. Also, he wrote an introduction to Ann Weiss’s book The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a collection of personal photographs.

Marcos Aguinis, born in Cordoba, Argentina in 1935, is an author with an ample international training in medicine, psychoanalysis, the arts, literature, and history. He published his first book in 1963, and since then he has written eight novels, 10 essay collections, four short-story collections, and two biographies, which have generated enthusiasm and controversy. All of his recent books have become bestsellers. He has written articles on a wide variety of topics for Latin American, U.S., and European newspapers and magazines. When democracy was reinstated in Argentina in December 1983, he was designated vice secretary and, eventually, secretary of culture; in this capacity, he sponsored the renowned cultural renaissance that flourished in the country at the time. Aguinis created the National Program for Democratization of Culture (PRONDEC), sponsored by UNESCO and the United Nations. His life’s work was recognized with a nomination for the UNESCO Education for Peace Award. In the field of human rights, he risked his life by courageously addressing controversial issues. During the last dictatorship, the government restricted circulation of his books, but some of them were successfully smuggled. Aguinis has been awarded the Planeta Award (Spain), an Honorable Commendation from the Association of Argentine Authors (Sociedad Argentina de Escritores), the Reforma Universitaria Award (La Plata University), the Fernando Jeno Award (Mxico), the Distinguished Cultural Award (Academy of Arts and Communication Sciences, Argentina), the National Sociology Award, the Lobo de Mar Award, the Swami Pranavananda Award, the Annual Silver Plaque of the EFE Agency, awarded for his contribution to the consolidation of the Iberoamerican language and culture; in France, he was given the title of Knight of Letters and Arts. Marcos Aguinis received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of San Luis, Argentina and Tel Aviv University, Israel. In 1995, the Argentine Association of Authors awarded him the Great Honorable Award for his life’s work.

Tariq Ali was born in Lahore in 1943. He was educated in Pakistan and later at Oxford University, where he studied politics, philosophy, and economics and was the first Pakistani to be elected president of the Oxford Union. He is the author, most recently, of Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope, a study of recent developments in Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia–a country he first visited in 1967–and has travelled widely in Latin America over the past decades. Tariq Ali has written over a dozen books on history, politics, and biography, which have been translated into many languages. In 1990 he began to write fiction and is currently working on a series of novels known as the Islam Quintet. The first, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, an account of the decline of Muslim civilisation in Spain, was awarded the Archbishop San Clemente del Instituto Rosalia de Castro Prize for the Best Foreign Language Fiction published in Spain in 1994. It was followed by The Book of Saladin, The Stone Woman, and A Sultan in Palermo. From 1984-98, he was the executive producer on two distinguished television series for Channel Four—Bandung File and Rear Window. The latter was an award-winning cultural series which pioneered films such as Islam in Spain: The Final Solution. His television company Bandung Productions was well established as a producer of quality documentaries and drama till he closed it down in 1998 because, as he told The Times, much of British television had become a dumbed-down brothel. Tariq Ali has also written screenplays as well as plays for stage and television. Clash of Fundamentalisms, his first full-length non-fiction book for 14 years, was published in April 2002 and has already been translated into all the major European languages. Bush in Babylon followed in 2003. As a leading intellectual from the Muslim world, his analysis–critical of both religious fundamentalism and US policies–has been much in demand since 9/11 and he is a frequent lecturer in universities and other locations in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

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