Leading minds offer the gift of hope

Over the past week I was fortunate to be in Paris, listening to some of the stars of global academia giving their insight into the “New World Order”.

Anyone that follows the news knows that there was much to talk about: from the vicious conflicts facing us today, to the political impact that technology will soon have tomorrow.

The last year has shone a light on the problems facing our global systems of governance. The continued wars in Ukraine and the Middle East have had devastating consequences and highlight fundamental challenges across the political, economic, and social structures of our society on a national and international level.

The “New World Order” conference, co-hosted in Paris by Sciences Po and my Institute at Tel Aviv University from 25th-26th January, addressed this alarming reality head on. We brought leading minds together to discuss strategic responses to these global challenges.

The conference focused on four core topics – the Russia-Ukraine war, the Middle East, the world’s political and economic institutions, and the future cyber world – including issues around digital governance and the role of AI in our political systems.

The first two of these examined the heart of the issues, while the others explored where answers may be found. The conference summoned the best minds in the world and the most renowned experts in the fields to provide their insights and explore possible solutions for discussion.

At The Boris Mints Institute, we believe that there are indeed solutions to global problems, and that innovative ideas can propel us to a brighter future. In 2017, this led us to launch the Boris Mints Institute Prize, which annually rewards and recognises outstanding thinkers who are developing global solutions for society’s greatest challenges.

At the conference, we were honoured to award Robert Axelrod, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, with the prestigious 2022 Boris Mints Institute Prize, for his ground-breaking work in applying game theory to conflict resolution.

We believe that there are indeed solutions to global problems, and that innovative ideas can propel us to a brighter future.

In his research, which examined the ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’, Axelrod discovered that cooperative choices and beneficial behaviours, with punishments in place for those that do not adhere to such, is the best way to manage conflicts. He has applied his academic findings to modern conflicts, including working with the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in the former Yugoslavia, sitting down with professionals from all sides. Axelrod has also discussed his ideas with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and published his research in the prestigious publication, Science, as well as Harvard’s own Negotiation Journal.

The value of Axelrod’s research and policy engagement on conflict resolution has previously been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences (USA), with their award for Contributions of Behavioural and Social Science to the Prevention of Nuclear War, and by President Obama, from whom Axelrod received the National Medal of Science.

We began the conference with talk about the threats towards the world order facing us. But we ended the conference recognising that, with the brightest minds and the best implementation, the challenges facing our planet today could be overcome tomorrow. While ignoring such challenges could be devastating for humanity as a whole, solutions are possible.

And that can give us the greatest asset of all. Hope.

  • Dr. Boris Mints is the President and founder of the Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges at Tel-Aviv University.

About the Author
Dr. Boris Mints is a businessman, philanthropist and committed supporter of cultural and social projects. He is currently the Chairman of the Council of Patrons of The Conference of European Rabbis (CER), which is the primary Orthodox rabbinical alliance in Europe. He is also a President and Founder of The Boris Mints Institute, which is based at The Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences in Tel Aviv University, and honorary Professor of Tel Aviv University. In 2016, Dr Boris Mints expanded his family philanthropic contribution by creation of The Mints Family Charitable Foundation. He also established the Museum of Russian Impressionism in Moscow in 2014.