The world we live in is fragile, warned Felipe VI in the speech he gave this Thursday night at Georgetown in Washington. The monarch was the guest of honor at the gala dinner for the centenary of the Master of International Relations that he studied there 27 years ago.
"If the war in Ukraine teaches us anything, it is that our relations can be easily broken," the king said before the three hundred guests invited to the commemoration at the veteran Jesuit university. From the outset, he indicated of the ongoing conflict, "the sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its illegal and unjustified invasion have undone more than thirty years of slow economic integration."
When the conflict in Ukraine ends, he continued, "diplomatic, economic and cultural exchanges between Russia and the rest of the world, in particular with the EU and the US, will be a fraction of what they were before."
And it is that, in his opinion, "one of the characteristics of current world politics is fragility. Not only the fragility of the global order itself -he specified-, but also of many of its parts".
Before dinner at Georgetown, Felipe VI visited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) together with the First Vice President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, currently in charge of the Fund's Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).
The entity's director, Kristalina Georgieva, praised the king for always transmitting "a positive message in difficult times." Georgieva also praised Vice President Nadia Calviño for her work at the IMFC. The three of them had lunch together.
In his speech at Georgetown, Felipe VI focused on the increasingly rapid changes in the international order and within each of the societies. And he gave an example: "We created more data in the last 24 months than in the last 20,000 years," he said.
The mean king joked that "of course, most of this data was photos of people's cats or kids sharing their latest dance moves, but a lot of it was definitely relevant information!" .
Felipe VI underlined the great benefits but also the challenges brought by the drivers of such changes: "technological innovation and disruption". On the one hand, we all see how technology imposes revolutionary advances in the various fields of science, including health and the different disciplines of biology or robotics, cybernetics and artificial intelligence; advances that he -continued- have made it possible to increase life expectancy, improve access to education or discover how to cure serious illnesses.
But, on the other hand, such progress also entails consequences as challenging as "the narrowing of the public space for debate", alterations in the labor market that unbalance the distribution of wealth, "new threats to security" and a continuous "exposure of toxic or false information".
The king highlighted the "urgent need to build an economic model that seeks to include and elevate everyone." And he opined that "the degree of polarization that we see in the Western world is difficult to explain without understanding the social tensions that exist in many countries."
Felipe VI called on teachers to instill in students "the desire to understand the problems of others and to be empathetic." That will make them "better leaders, but also better intellectuals." Because that way they will see the world through the eyes of others, which could help them "learn, grow, converge or negotiate, avoiding the zero-sum game."
With such leaders and professionals, "human civilization would gain immensely," the monarch said. "It may be utopian, but I think it's worth a try," he concluded.