Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland

The Millennium Development Goals: Social Justice and Promotion of Equality

September 12, 2005 03:30 PM


by Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz: Well, it's a real pleasure to have all of you here and to welcome
President Halonen. Thank you very much for taking the time from your busy
schedule. Let me just say a few words about the President. One thing I probably
should comment in contrast to the United States where we have obviously a very
divided polity, her approval ratings have been between 94 and 97 percent,
something that every politician would envy. And I think it comes because she
has a remarkable ability to bring consensus and a sense of the topic that she is
going to talk about, social justice. I got to know her well on--we served on a

She was the chairman of the commission, World Commission on the Social
Dimensions on Globalization. And it was a commission that the I.L.O., the
International Labor Organization put together. And International Labor
Organization is an unusual organization because it brings together labor,
business, government, N.G.O.'s, academics. It's a very embrace, a very
inclusive and to get this very diverse group of people with very different views on
globalization to reach a consensus about the impact, where we ought to be
going, what were the consequences of globalization and what ought to be done
was a remarkable achievement. It was a commission that from both the north
and the south and her leadership was invaluable in forging that consensus, which
I think has had an important effect in reshaping the globalization debate.

Since then Finland has been actively promoting something called the Helsinki
Process to continue this kind of dialogue, this kind of discussion, to bring about,
to reach a greater common understanding of the key issues facing the global
community. One of those key issues involves development, the millennium
development goals and the role of those millennium development goals in
promoting social justice and the promotion of equity. And that is the topic on
which she has chosen to talk this afternoon. Thank you.

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