Leading British Economics John Kay Visits Gold Mercury for Corporate Culture Banking Project

Leading British Economist, John Kay, a distinguished academic and acclaimed columnist for The Financial Times met with Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, to discuss the global economic challenges affecting the world, specifically the future of banking and financial institutions.

The discussion was part of a series of interviews that Gold Mercury is conducting with leading authorities, representatives of financial institutions, academics and other prominent actors involved in the economic and financial services sector. The interviews are undertaken within the scope of the ‘New Corporate Culture for Banking’ project.

John Kay is an influential economist and his research interests encompass public policy and business strategy. In 2012, Mr Kay chaired the Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making, which reported to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Mr Kay discussed with Mr De Santis the current economic structure and the ideologies which are shaping it, as well as the future of global economic governance. The loss of trust in the financial sector, the failed role of corporate boards and the necessity for a culture for self-regulation were among the topics that were covered in the discussion. Finally, Mr Kay underlined the need to examine the crucial role of intergenerational equity as part of the new thinking required in the convergence of the economic, environmental and social aspects of a society.

“John Kay is a leading figure in economic and social thinking. His ideas question established norms and contribute towards innovative thinking for the challenges which are shaping the global economy, especially banking. Mr Kay has a holistic view of the financial sector, looking beyond narrowly focused solutions and quick fixes. His way of approaching economic challenges offers us invaluable insights for our ‘New Culture for Banking’ project. The role of banking needs to change, moving towards serving societies to produce a sustainable future for future generations,’’

said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

Mr John Kay is a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is a director of several public companies, a writer, lecturer and broadcaster and a weekly contributor to The Financial Times.

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Book Launch of Shaking the Skies: Leading Change in the Global Aviation Business

The development and progression of aviation continues to be an essential global technological development. Aviation has opened up the individual to the world and in doing so, created a global village, connected cultures, families and nations.

Throughout his time at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Giovanni Bisignani challenged governments, powerful leaders and airline conglomerates to revolutionise the commercial aviation industry. In his new, aptly named book, Shaking the Skies, Bisignani details the many challenges he faced as he sought to, upon his appointment as CEO and Director General, improve the profile and economics of the aviation industry. Hired “to lead a revolution,” Bisignani presents a remarkable account of an illustrious career that was based around an ethos of ethical leadership, good governance and business determination.

The strongest message that Bisignani seeks to communicate is change. Initially detailing his rise in the aviation industry that led to his appointment at the IATA in 2002, Bisignani’s wealth of experience, run in with Gaddafi in Libya and requests from Mother Teresa tell a fascinating story of how he was able modernise the aviation industry. The story of his rise and how he came to lead one of the biggest associations in the world is also filled with details and facts that demonstrate a man who cared as much about the industry as he did the customer.

His achievements and changes did not seek to purely benefit the IATA and its associated airlines; rather, he pursued a system of change that improved every aspect of the industry. His changes began with management restructuring and, to name one of many successes, led to him enforcing e-ticketing and subsequently making aviation the first ever industry to “enter the paperless world.”

The uniqueness of Bisignani as a CEO is also illustrated and detailed in a concise factual method. Emotively and professionally affected by September 11, Bisignani, during his time at the IATA, greatly improved the environmental and safety procedures of the aviation industry. His continued effort to make flying safer and environmentally friendlier involves global, ethical and unilateral action and is captured entertainingly through meetings with Al Gore, “crazy” technological ideas and a “shooting” incident in Lagos.

The full extent of Bisignani’s developments and contributions to the aviation industry are summed up through a description of how he hopes his changes will lead to “Vision 2050.” Where, as an industry, aviation businesses and governments will co-operate with economic, environmental and moral procedures in mind to ensure airlines continue to be “a force for good.”

The values and ideals which make up Giovanni’s Vision 2050 was the motivating factor behind Gold Mercury International’s decision to co-publish and host the launch of the book. The principle, vision and managerial system which Giovanni outlines in Shaking the Skies corresponds with Gold Mercury’s own views on Global Governance; namely, constructing a future in which ethics, sustainability and visionary leadership underpin an organisations operations.

A central message of Giovanni’s book is the importance of having an effective managerial system in place. This message correlates with Gold Mercury’s mission of seeking to educate organisations about the significance of having a responsible vision that is environmentally friendly and proficiently managed.

Shaking the Skies: Leading Change in the Global Aviation Business will be launched on the 20th May 2013 at the Royal Aeronautical Society, London.

Visit the Shaking the Skies Twitter page for news and extracts about the book.

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Brand EU Project: Build a Shared EU Brand Identity to Secure a Common European Future

Gold Mercury International is conducting new research on the future of the European Union’s brand and on issues relating to the concept of EU citizen identity formation.

The main aims of the BRAND EU project are: a. to deliver critical insights on the current state of the European Union’s governance and political structures and b. to address the lack of a common European Identity and strong EU Brand.

“Gold Mercury has identified the lack of a clear EU Brand and EU identity as a key problem to achieving the full support of its citizens and for the development of Europe as a whole. One of the key brand problems for citizens to understand Europe and participate actively, is the complexity of the current political structure of the EU. It can be only understood by academics or experts,”

says Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

Gold Mercury aims to challenge the current complexity which is associated with the BRAND EU. Both studies will also include interviews with leading national and international political authorities, representatives of the EU, civil society members, academics and other key actors in the EU and within international affairs.

Understanding the Institutional Structure of the EU

The report on the EU’s institutional structure, entitled ‘The Current State of European Union’s Governance & The Need for Greater Political Integration’ will provide an in-depth analysis of the current levels of political organisation in Europe (i.e. national, European, regional, municipal) and will investigate different conceptualisations of the EU’s structure (i.e. federalism, con-federalism, multi-level governance). The report will also provide policy recommendations based on existing research, responding to main areas of criticism including the democratic deficit and the lack of a common European demos.

At the moment, the EU has 27 member countries and 5 have already been given candidate status. However, there are enormous differences in the political organisation of the member states. The interplay between transnational, national, regional or urban levels of political organisation is no longer efficient for the competitiveness and future of Europe.

In order to challenge the current instability in the European context and its global effects, it is critical to analyse the diversity of the political organisation and levels within the EU. This will provide a clear understanding about the different levels of governance in a country and about the changing notions of national sovereignty, a concept which is of the utmost importance in order to understand the current debates about the EU.

The Critical Role of a European Identity & Demos

At the same time, a collective EU identity is missing and citizens often feel disempowered to participate in EU affairs. As the British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron argued in his recent EU speech, “disillusionment” with the EU was “at an all-time high”. Mr. Cameron also added that “There is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain”.

However, sharing a common European identity or common ‘esprit de corps’ is critical in order to develop a shared sense of the Brand EU and to promote civic engagement. Developing a shared EU identity would not in any sense presuppose to eliminate national identities but rather to complement them and enrich them. Working towards this direction, Gold Mercury’s report on the lack of a common European identity will investigate the role of identity formation in European citizenship and will provide innovative ways of addressing the core issues relating to the lack of a shared Brand EU identity.

Developing a new Vision for the EU

Gold Mercury International argues that the European Union is a critical institution in global governance which is at a critical point in its evolution. It needs to clarify its purpose, role and future vision to its citizens and the international community in order to progress as a future bastion of stability. The recent economic crisis has manifested the instabilities of the current political system in nation states and the EU, including the lack of unified decision-making, underlining the need for critical discussions about the future levels of political, fiscal and economic integration.

However, policy research and reporting on EU affairs has increasingly become too narrow, focusing only on the negatives perceptions associated with EU membership. The British Prime Minister’s EU speech and his plan for an ‘in/out’ referendum illustrate that Euro-Skepticism and the practices of questioning the EU are a growing force in the UK. As Mr. Cameron mentioned, “We insistently ask: how, why, to what end? But all this doesn’t make us somehow un-European.”

At the same time, U.S. President Barack Obama underlined to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, that the United States “Values a strong UK in a strong European Union”, reminding us that other nations value the unity that the EU brings and want the EU to stay united and prosper with Britain at the heart of it. But a united and prosperous Europe needs a common vision.

The Gold Mercury Brand EU project aims to challenge the frequently unbalanced debates on EU and provide a solid platform to build a framework for a common EU vision which can be shared amongst all EU citizens.

“The Brand EU project aims to re-shape the current debates on the role and future of the European Union and its citizens by analysing and comparing different international political and supranational structures. The EU at the moment is a hybrid with both federal and con-federal elements. It is an imperative that we build Europe around simple concepts and a common vision of why we are all united as peoples in order to build a shared identity,”

says Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

The need to clarify the vision of the EU was also raised by the Independent Reflection Group on the Future of Europe, set up by the European Council. The group’s purpose was to identify, analyse and propose solutions to the challenges that the EU will be facing at the horizon 2030. Their report underlined that:

“The EU needs to communicate a common vision of how Europe can secure its future. The choice we face is therefore clear: build on the strengths of the EU and use its collective weight to become an assertive and relevant player in the world, or cultivate fragmentation and contemplate the possibility of absolute decline in a world where rules are defined by those who matter.”


For more information on Gold Mercury International and this story contact Kate Delaney Send Mail

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Former CEO of UK’s Investment Management Association Visits Gold Mercury for New Corporate Culture for Banking Project

Former Chief Executive of the Investment Management Association in the UK, Mr. Richard Saunders met with Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International to discuss the situation of the UK’s banking and financial sector.

The discussion was part of a series of interviews that Gold Mercury is conducting with leading authorities, representatives of financial institutions, academics and other prominent actors involved in the financial services sector, within the scope of the New Corporate Culture for Banking project.

For 11 years Mr. Saunders was the Chief Executive of the Investment Management Association (IMA), the trade association representing the UK’s investment management industry. Mr. Saunders discussed with Mr. De Santis recent developments in the banking industry, such as the proposed ring fencing of retail and investment banks in the UK as well as the role of incentives, ethics and regulation in controlling behaviors and cultures of excess that have emerged in the financial sector. Mr. Saunders recognised the need to implement benign structures to regulate incentives and underlined the significant role of shareholders and corporate governance in shaping bankers remunerations policies. In addition, the need for a global financial authority and the necessity to review banks structure were issues that Mr. Saunders commented on. Lastly, Mr. De Santis and Mr. Saunders talked about the role of the banking sector as a contributor to sustainable societies, while recognising the imperative for banks to realise the extent of the problem.

“Mr. Saunders is an expert in the investment management industry and his expertise offers us invaluable insights for our New Culture for Banking project. In our efforts to understand the core issues related to the emergence of cultures of excess in the financial services sector, talking to key actors coming from different parts of the industry is essential. There is widespread understanding that the financial sector urgently needs fundamental changes in terms of structure and incentives to create a sustainable financial services sector,”

said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

Mr. Saunders has held several governmental positions, including HM Treasury and the British Embassy in Washington and worked for some years in the private sector prior to his appointment at the Investment Management Association. Mr. Saunders is a trustee for St Christopher’s Hospice and an active blogger.

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  • Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
  • Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
  • Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board

Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board

Gold Mercury International continues to expand its International Advisory Board with the addition of Roger Zetter, Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies and a former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. He is an expert on refugee affairs and forced migration, and his extensive knowledge will provide a great asset to the work of Gold Mercury International.

His expertise is particularly valuable in the area of International Law & Humanitarian Affairs where we have identified forced migration as a key global challenge. His dedication to researching issues relating to refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people over the years, mirrors the importance Gold Mercury itself places on developing research to address universal challenges. Throughout his career, Zetter has proven himself as a visionary leader in his field and illustrated the need for international cooperation and intervention. Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International welcomed Roger Zetter’s entrance to the Advisory Board stating:

“Roger Zetter is a global authority on forced migration and refugee affairs. Gold Mercury has followed his career and work over many years. His work in understanding the key issues regarding the status and identity of refugees is key pillar in this area. Roger is breaking new ground in the study of forced migration and its related challenges including human rights, economic impact and fiscal stress, fragile states and environmental displacement.”

Roger Zetter gained degrees from Cambridge and Nottingham Universities, before going on to undertake his DPhil at the University of Sussex. The thesis he completed during this period of study dealt with the complex subject of Refugee Labelling and Access. Throughout his career, Zetter’s research and teaching has focused on key areas including: institutional and policy dimensions of forced migration, the impact of humanitarian assistance on refugees and asylum seekers, shelter and settlement policies and the effect of exile and repatriation on refugees.

Zetter is also an accomplished educational contributor, having written over 30 peer reviewed papers, 20 book chapters and 10 major research reports. During the course of his career, Zetter has acted as a consultant to many international and intergovernmental organisations and governments including the UNHCR, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, IOM, EU, World Bank, UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), IFRC and Oxfam.

In recent years, his work has focused on three areas of study. The first explores the cause and consequences of European deterrence and restrictionism, as well as the life of refugees and asylum seekers and their integration into society. The second deals with the environmental impacts of climate change on population displacement and migration. In 2009, his knowledge in this area led him to be funded by the governments of Norway and Switzerland and also by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to conduct research into ‘Protecting Environmentally Displaced People: Developing the Capacity of Legal and Normative Frameworks.’ His research into this issue continued with funding by the Macarthur Foundation in 2011 to conduct a two year study into ‘Environmentally Displaced People: Rights, Labels and Policies.’ The third theme, with the World Bank, has been to develop tools to measure the macro- and micro- economic impacts of refugees and to promote developmental responses in situations of forced displacement, alongside humanitarian needs.

Recently, Zetter also served as Editor of the 2012 ‘World Disasters Report’ for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRD). Gold Mercury is honoured to also have him serve on our Advisory Board. Roger Zetter shares the vision of Gold Mercury International stating:

“Forced migration is one of the key global challenges of our time. I am honoured to join Gold Mercury, a historic organisation focusing on advancing sustainable global governance that recognises the challenges presented by forced migration and refugees as a crucial global governance issue. I am excited to bring my expertise in this area and by the prospect of working with Gold Mercury International in supporting their mission to clarify global governance issues and advance the concepts of international cooperation and global citizenship as bastions of sustainable development.”

adminEmeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
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  • Founder of New Tunisian Party “Al Mostaqbel” (The Future) Visits Gold Mercury in London
  • Founder of New Tunisian Party “Al Mostaqbel” (The Future) Visits Gold Mercury in London
  • Founder of New Tunisian Party “Al Mostaqbel” (The Future) Visits Gold Mercury in London

Founder of New Tunisian Party “Al Mostaqbel” (The Future) Visits Gold Mercury in London

Former Ambassador of Tunisia in India, Spain and China, Dr Mohamed Sahbi Basly, has met with Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International to discuss the political and social situation in Tunisia and to present his new book 'Au service de la République' (At the service of the Republic).

The book describes the service Dr Basly provided, first as Governor and then as Ambassador of Tunisia around the world. Dr Basly had also previously been Governor of Medenine and Sfax. Following the revolution, Dr Basly founded ‘Al Mostaqbel’ (The Future), a new centre-liberal party that is becoming a democratic force in the new Tunisian political landscape.

Dr Basly has participated in a position of privilege in a critical chapter of Tunisian history. The book covers the new political landscape in Tunisia as well as stories about the former President of the Republic Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for twenty three years. The part of the book featuring the Tunisian Republic covers more than half a century and is divided into two parts: The Bourguiba era 1956-1987 and The Ben Ali era 1987–2010.

“I have known Dr Basly for many years from his days as Ambassador of Tunisia to the Kingdom of Spain. I also travelled with Ambassador Basly to meet President Ben Ali in an official visit to Tunisia in 2004. Ben Ali knew that Dr Basly was an independent man of strong principles whose sole aim was to serve the needs of the Tunisian people beyond any party politics or allegiances. This is what has kept the reputation of Dr Basly intact during and post revolution and allowed him to join Tunisian politics,”

said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

Dr Basly has a Doctorate in Medicine and is specialised in public health and the environment, having completed postgraduate studies in Occupational Health and Safety in Canada and at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He was a lecturer of medicine in Tunis and at the National Institute of Labour and Social Studies. Dr Basly gained experience as an Ambassador in many countries including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Spain and most recently in China. His post to China coincided with the most important events in the country’s recent history, the World Expo and the Beijing Olympics. Dr Basly is also a member of the International Advisory Board of Gold Mercury International.

adminFounder of New Tunisian Party “Al Mostaqbel” (The Future) Visits Gold Mercury in London
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Kerry Kennedy, Gold Mercury Award Laureate, Speaks out about Gun Control in USA

Moral Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, threat, danger, hardship, uncertainty or intimidation in the face of opposition, shame, scandal, continuous discouragement, torture or even death.

Kerry Kennedy, human right activist and Gold Mercury Award Laureate for Humanitarian Affairs knows moral courage well. She is the President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, a global human rights organisation based in Manhattan. She has defended and worked with many human rights activists, the real and most often unsung heroes of our society. She has now joined a cause close to her heart, the advocacy group ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ in Washington, a network of more than 850 executives from cities and towns nationwide calling for heightened gun control. The organisation is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group is calling for tighter gun laws, an issue Kennedy feels strongly about, “It’s almost impossible to describe the pain of losing your father to a senseless murder or the anger and fear of knowing that that murder might have been avoided if only our leaders had acted to stop the violence.”  Her uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed in Dallas when she was only four. Her father, Robert Kennedy, was murdered four years later in the midst of his 1968 presidential run. Following his murder, Kerry Kennedy – the seventh of 11 children- had to grow up without a father. Kennedy and other speakers from the group called on Congress to enact firearm reforms proposed by President Obama, including universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“Kerry Kennedy is one of the most passionate and committed individuals I have met. She is on a constant mission to advocate and defend freedom, human rights and a better society for future generations. Her work to fight for and educate us all on human rights is fundamental in the current unstable world that we live in,”

said Nicolas De Santis President of Gold Mercury International.

Watch Kerry Kennedy on MSNBC’s Politics Nation with Al Sharpton where she pleaded to take swift action to save American lives and introduce universal background checks on guns.


Gold Mercury Award for Humanitarian Affairs and Speak Truth to Power

Kerry Kennedy was recognised with the 2006 Gold Mercury Humanitarian Award for her work as an internationally renowned human rights activist, the Founder of both The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and the ‘Speak Truth to Power – Voices Beyond The Dark Programme.’ Her dedication to defending and raising awareness of human rights over many years continues the legacy of her father, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. She began her work in human rights in 1981 and since this time has led more than 40 delegations to various countries in the search for equal justice. Kennedy established the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in 1987 in order to protect the rights codified under the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Her commitment and work regarding human rights covers diverse issues such as child labour, indigenous land rights, freedom of speech, judicial independence, ethnic violence and women’s rights. Her book ‘Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who are Changing our World’, is a powerful representation of those individuals, from more than forty countries who are seeking to advance human rights. The book features interviews with these human rights defenders and is accompanied by powerful portraits from world renowned photographer Eddie Adams.


Visit The Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights

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Scientist Baroness Susan Greenfield Joins Gold Mercury International Advisory Board

We are delighted to announce the addition of Baroness Susan Greenfield to the Gold Mercury International Advisory Board. As a Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University, Baroness Greenfield leads a multi-disciplinary research team exploring novel brain mechanisms linked to neurodegenerative diseases.

Baroness Greenfield specialises in the field of physiology of the brain and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, pertaining to the areas of Global Health and Global Science and Technology. Her work has reflected Gold Mercury’s principles and vision, through her research developments to address universal challenges, most notably in regards to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, she has worked tirelessly to bring attention to these health challenges and to educate the public on ways in which we can address them.

Throughout her career, Greenfield’s research has centred on the physiology of the brain, studying the impact of technologies on the mind, how the brain generates consciousness and approaches to neurodegenerative diseases. Nicolas De Santis, President and Secretary General of Gold Mercury International noted:

“Understanding how the human brain works is one of the grand challenges of modern science. Baroness Greenfield is a visionary in her field. Not only from the perspective of providing a better understanding of how the brain works and about human consciousness but also about the future of neurodegenerative diseases. Such knowledge is and will be vital for our future society and how it deals and prepares to help the millions of people suffering from brain related disease.”

Baroness Greenfield is also renowned for her written works, having published a number of scientific books covering topics such as: future society, personal identity, neuroscience and neurobiology. Her books include ‘Journey to the Centers of the Mind: Toward a Science of Conciousness’ (1995), ‘The Human Brain: A Guided Tour’ (1998), ‘Brain Story: Unlocking your Inner World of Emotions, Memories and Desires’ (2001). She has also published a neuroscientific theory of consciousness called ‘The Private Life of the Brain’ (2003).

Baroness Greenfield has also developed an interest in studying the impact of modern technologies on development and the way in which a young person feels and thinks. She discussed this topic in her books ‘Tomorrow’s People: How 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way we Think and Feel’ (2003) and ‘ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century’ (2008).

Her latest book ‘2121: A Tale from the Next Century’ is a novel set just over a hundred years from now and describes a dystopia centred around the impact of extreme technologies on how future generations think and feel. The book will be released in July 2013.

During the span of her career, Baroness Greenfield has been honoured with numerous awards and accolades, including 30 honorary degrees from universities around the world. In 1998, she received the Michael Faraday Medal from the Royal Society and in 2000, she was elected to the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians.

In 2001, she was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List, as well as being granted a non-political Life Peerage. In 2003, she was awarded the L’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur by the French Government and was also given the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award. In 2005, she was appointed Chancellor of Herriot Watt University. In 2010 she was awarded the Australian Medical Society Medal, and the following year she was invited to join the Advisory Board of the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences at the Institute for Technology, Deli.

In 2012, Baroness Greenfield became Vice Patron of POWER International and was selected to serve as the Parliamentary Patron of the Westminster Higher Education Forum. She also became a Governor of the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health. She stated:

“Gold Mercury works to improve our understanding of key challenges in global areas including Global Health. It is an honour to join the Gold Mercury International Advisory board and support their global governance work. Advancing Global Health Governance is a key pillar of a sustainable future society.

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Filmmaker, Activist and Philanthropist Sonia Nassery Cole Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board

A recent addition to the expanding Gold Mercury International Advisory Board is Sonia Nassery Cole, Founder of the Afghanistan World Foundation. The International Advisory Board is comprised of individuals who have made a significant contribution to world affairs, business and governance, and Sonia Nassery Cole is no exception.

She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding Afghanistan and strengthens our global areas of culture, peace & security and international law & humanitarian affairs through her work as a filmmaker, activist and philanthropist. She has also demonstrated Gold Mercury’s key principles of visionary leadership and sustainability through her role with the Afghanistan World Foundation and her work as a champion of human rights. As Nicolas De Santis, President and Secretary General of Gold Mercury International noted:

“Sonia Nassery Cole has worked all her life and risked all to defend the freedom and independence of the people of her country. She is determined and committed to continue such hard work through her feature films and her philanthropic work for women and children. She will not rest until Afghanistan is one day a totally free, safe and peaceful nation again. It is an honour to include her among our board members.”

Born in Afghanistan in 1963, Cole fled the Soviet-occupied country at the age of 14 by walking to neighbouring Pakistan. Three years later she had relocated to the United States and began to work with the United Nations. During her teenage years she corresponded with President Reagan in a bid to assist her homeland in breaking free from Soviet occupation. He invited her to visit the White House and she aided his efforts to get Congressional authorisation for stinger missiles to be sent to Afghanistan. She continued to campaign tirelessly for her home country, organising a major fundraising event to publicise the plight of Afghan refugees as part of her role on the Board of The Afghanistan Relief Committee. She worked throughout the 1980’s aiding the Afghan resistance movement, helping to raise critical funds in order to better the lives of countless refugees.

In 2002 she founded the Afghanistan World Foundation, whose mission is to provide support at the grass roots level in order to improve education, economic development and emergency health services, as well as to expand social opportunities for women and improve the conditions for children. Much of their work improving mobile medical services, centres around the issue of land mines in Afghanistan, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

Whilst working with the Afghanistan World Foundation to rebuild schools in 2004, Cole directed her first short film “The Bread Winner”. The film documents a day in the life of a nine year old Afghan boy who sells newspapers on the streets of Kabul in order to support his family. The film also illustrated the broader story of the hardships faced by many Afghans every day. The film premiered at the Milan International Film Festival in 2007 and was subsequently shown at eight other festivals around the world.

In 2009, Cole returned to film making by writing, directing and producing her first feature film, “The Black Tulip”. This film became the first American -backed film produced in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The film centres around a family in Kabul who open a restaurant called The Poet’s Corner, where they encourage freedom of expression from artists and writers. However the Taliban soon become aware the activities in the restaurant and the family begin to be targeted. “The Black Tulip” also depicts the struggles of everyday people in Afghanistan and examines the power of resilience following a tragedy. The film garnered international praise and recognition, becoming the official Afghan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

Today, Cole continues be at the forefront of awareness and relief campaigns through her work as Chairman of the Afghanistan World Foundation. Sonia Nassery Cole will be a valued new member to our Board, sharing the future vision of Gold Mercury International. She stated:

“It is an honour to join such a historic organisation that regards peace and cooperation as the key pillar of future international relations and global sustainability. Gold Mercury’s work to create a new global mind set based on the idea that we are all global citizens sharing universal values is a great step forward towards eradicating the prejudice and mental barriers of the past.”

adminFilmmaker, Activist and Philanthropist Sonia Nassery Cole Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
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