Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time—from the bloodless end of the Cold War to the collapse of post–Cold War relations with Putin’s Russia, from post–9/11 tumult in the Middle East to the secret nuclear talks with Iran.
In The Back Channel, Burns recounts, with novelistic detail and incisive analysis, some of the seminal moments of his career. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified cables and memos, he gives readers a rare inside look at American diplomacy in action. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qaddafi’s bizarre camp in the Libyan desert and his warnings of the “Perfect Storm” that would be unleashed by the Iraq War will reshape our understanding of history—and inform the policy debates of the future. Burns sketches the contours of effective American leadership in a world that resembles neither the zero-sum Cold War contest of his early years as a diplomat nor the “unipolar moment” of American primacy that followed.
Ultimately, The Back Channel is an eloquent, deeply informed, and timely story of a life spent in service of American interests abroad. It is also a powerful reminder, in a time of great turmoil, of the enduring importance of diplomacy.
When the very first conference delegates convened twenty years ago, it was unclear if their efforts— investing in fledging businesses across unchartered territories—even constituted an asset class. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Global Private Equity Conference, hosted by IFC in association with EMPEA, we continue to reflect on some of the same questions that were discussed at the first gathering, but one is indisputable—emerging markets private equity is indeed an asset class.
Against this backdrop, we felt it was an opportune time to take stock of the industry from the perspective of those on the frontlines. We have asked 21 leading practitioners to expound on the latest trends and developments across the industry as well as within their particular markets and sectors of expertise. These thought leadership contributions, which tie to the theme of this year’s conference, Shaping the Investment Frontier: Inspiring Innovation & Impact, showcase the ways in which private equity investors have led development across the emerging markets while simultaneously generating returns.
Gavin Serkin’s Frontier: Exploring the Top Ten Emerging Markets of Tomorrow (2015) helps investors successfully navigate markets that are yet to “emerge,” with expert advice on spotting opportunities and minimising risks. With first-hand insights into frontier markets as we travel with big-name fund managers from Mark Mobius to Morgan Stanley, this practical guide ranks countries, stocks and bonds on a five- to ten-year horizon to steer investors toward the most promising destinations.
Roger Leeds’s Private Equity Investing in Emerging Markets (2015) illustrates how private equity is a tool uniquely suited to strengthening the value and performance of businesses in emerging market countries. Leeds recommends specific actions by key stakeholders that would strengthen the future of private equity in such markets.
Greenspan’s latest book The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting (2013) rethinks our forecasting conceptual grid, questioning previously fundamental models concerning risk management and economic prediction. Greenspan is the author of five books, including The Age of Turbulence.
Sharma’s international bestseller Breakout Nation: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles (2012) offers a captivating picture of the shifting balance of global economic power within emerging nations.
Vali Nasr’s 2013 book The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat reveals how the specter of terrorism and the new administration’s fear of political backlash crippled diplomatic efforts to boost America’s foundering credibility while ignoring the true economic threats: China and Russia.
Booth’s recent book Emerging Markets in an Upside Down World: Challenging Perceptions in Asset Allocation and Investment (2014) uses emerging markets to critique traditional finance theory and investment policy.
George Magnus’ book Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy looks at the the world economy in the wake of the most destructive financial crisis since the 1930s, and asks if the consensus view about the shift in global power to emerging markets, particularly as it concerns China, is as robust as it thinks it is.
Rickards latest book The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System (2014) predicts that another large-scale economic collapse is rapidly approaching — and explains why this time, nothing less than the institution of money itself is at risk.
Yifu, a prolific writer, has recently authored Against the Consensus: Reflections on the Great Recession (2013). The book argues that conventional theories provide inadequate solutions to explaining the most recent economic crisis, suggesting that the crisis and the global imbalances both originated with the excess liquidity created by US financial deregulation and loose monetary policy.
Mallaby’s 2010 book More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite tells the inside story of hedge funds, from their origins in the 1960s to their role in the financial crises of 2007 to 2009.