2015 Global Thought Lecture & World Leaders Forum

The Honorable Kevin Rudd

The Rise of China and its Impact on the Global Order

September 17, 2015 · 11:15AM-12:15PM
Rotunda, Low Memorial Library

  • Kevin RuddHon. Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010, 2013), Foreign Minister of Australia (2010-2012)
  • Welcome: Dr. Vishakha N. Desai, Special Advisor for Global Affairs to President Lee C. Bollinger, Senior Research Scholar at SIPA, and Member of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University
  • Respondent: Steven Cohen, Executive Director of The Earth Institute, Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs, Columbia University

This World Leaders Forum and Global Thought Lecture featured an address by The Honorable Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute; Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Australia, titled The Rise of China and its Impact on the Global Order. The discussion was followed by a question and answer session with the audience.

Special Workshop for Undergraduate Students

The Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought presented a workshop with Dr. Vishakha N. Desai on Wednesday, September 16, at 5:00 pm. The workshop was only open to students of Columbia College, School of General Studies, Barnard College & SEAS. Click on the “UCGT” tab above for more information.

Special thanks extended to University Programs and Events and the Office of the President of Columbia University.


 Photo Gallery

The Honorable Kevin Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010- 2012). He led Australia’s response during the Global Financial Crisis, reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all member states. Australia was the only major developed economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd helped found the G20 to drive the global response to the crisis, and which in 2009 helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into depression.

As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Rudd was active in global and regional foreign policy leadership. He was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit to include both the US and Russia in 2010, and initiated the concept of transforming the EAS into a wider Asia Pacific Community. On climate change, Mr. Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a 20% mandatory renewable energy target for Australia. He represented Australia at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit which produced the Copenhagen Accord, for the first time committing states to not allow temperature increases beyond two degrees. He was appointed a member of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability and is a co-author of the of the report "Resilient People, Resilient Planet" for the 2012 Rio+20 Conference.  Mr. Rudd drove Australia’s successful bid for its non-permanent seat on the United Nation’s Security Council for 2012-14. His government also saw the near doubling of Australia's foreign aid budget to approximately $5 Billion, making Australia then one of the top ten aid donors in the world. He also appointed Australia's first ever Ambassador for Women and Girls to support the critical role of women in development and reduce physical and sexual violence against women.

Domestically, Mr. Rudd delivered Australia's formal national apology to Indigenous Australians. In education, his government introduced Australia's first ever nation-wide school curriculum, undertook the biggest-ever capital investment program in Australian schools with the building of thousands of new state of the art libraries across the country, as well as introducing the first-ever mandatory national assessment system of literacy and numeracy standards. In health, Mr. Rudd in 2010 negotiated with the Australian states a National Health and Hospitals Reform Agreement, the biggest reform and investment in the health system since the introduction of medicare 30 years before. His government established a national network of leading-edge cancer-care centers across Australia, before introducing the world's first ever plain-packaging regime for all tobacco products. To improve the rate of organ and tissue donation, he established Australia's first National Organ and Tissue Transplant Authority. In 2010, his government introduced Australia's first ever paid parental leave scheme and implemented the biggest increase in, and reform of, the age pension, since federation. He also founded the National Broadband Network to deliver high-speed broadband for every household, business, school, hospital and GP in the country.

Mr. Rudd joined the Asia Society Policy Institute as its inaugural President in January 2015. ASPI is a "think-do tank" dedicated to using second track diplomacy to assist governments and businesses in resolving policy challenges within Asia, and between Asia and the West. He is also Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism where he is leading a review of the UN system over the 2015-16 period. Mr. Rudd is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School where in 2014 he completed a major policy paper on "Alternative Futures for US-China Relations." He is a  Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House in London, a Distinguished Statesman with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Paulson Institute in Chicago. Mr. Rudd is a member of  the Comprehensive Test Ban Organization's Group of Eminent Persons. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and serves as a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and co-Chairs the World Economic Forum’s China Council.

Mr. Rudd in his private capacity has established the Australian National Apology Foundation to continue to promote reconciliation and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.  He has also established the Asia Pacific Community Foundation to promote the cause of regional economic, security and environmental collaboration across the region.


Vishakha N. Desai is Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. From 2004 through 2012, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships between Asia and the U.S. Under her leadership the society expanded the scope and scale of its activities with the opening of new offices in India and Korea, a new center of U.S.-China Relations, internationally recognized education programs, and inauguration of two new architecturally distinguished facilities in Hong Kong and Houston.

In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. An internationally renowned scholar of Asian art, she has published and lectured extensively on the intersection of traditional and contemporary arts and policy in diverse countries of Asia. Dr. Desai is an Advisory Trustee of the Brookings Institution, and a Trustee of the Bertelsmann Foundation, AFS Intercultural Programs. She serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Auroville Foundation, India, as well as on the Corporate Board of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India’s largest global corporations.

Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan, in addition to honorary degrees from Williams College, MA 2014, Centre College, 2008; Pace University, 2008; The College of Staten Island, NY 2006; and Susquehanna University, PA, 1996.


Steven Cohen is the Executive Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is also Director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Director of the Masters of Science in Sustainability Management at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education, and the Director of the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management. From 2002 to 2006, he directed education programs at the Earth Institute. From 1998 to 2001, Cohen was Vice Dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. From 1985 to 1998, he was the Director of Columbia's Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration. From 1987-1998, Cohen was Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum at SIPA.

He is a graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn (1970), Franklin College of Indiana (1974) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (M.A., 1977; Ph.D., 1979). In 1976-77, Cohen was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Environmental Policy; in 1978-79, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Public and Environmental Policy and Implementation.

Dr. Cohen served as a policy analyst in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1977 through 1978 and 1980-81, and as consultant to the agency from 1981 through 1991, from 1994 to 1996 and from 2005 to 2010. From 1979-1980 he was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at West Virginia University and from1981-1987 he was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. From 1990-94, Cohen served on the Board of the Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs; he has also served on the Executive Committee and Committee on Accreditation and Peer Review of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. From 2001 to 2004, he served on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of Homes for the Homeless, and the Board of Directors of Willdan Energy Solutions.

Cohen is the author of Understanding Environmental Policy (2nd Edition) (2014), Sustainability Management (2011),Understanding Environmental Policy (2006) and The Effective Public Manager (1988), as well the co-author of Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy (2015), The Responsible Contract Manager (2008), Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation (2005), The Effective Public Manager 3rd and 4th editions(2002, 2008), Tools for Innovators: Creative Strategies for Managing Public Sector Organizations (1998), The New Effective Public Manager (1995), Total Quality Management in Government (1993), Environmental Regulation Through Strategic Planning (1991), and numerous articles on public management innovation, public ethics, sustainability management, politics and environmental management. He also writes a blog for The Huffington Post.

Dr. Cohen has taught courses in public management, policy analysis, environmental policy, management innovation, and sustainability management. In 1982 Cohen developed, and until 2001, directed Columbia's Workshops in Applied Public Management and Applied Policy Analysis; bringing practical professional education into the center of Columbia's Public Administration curriculum. He has conducted professional training seminars in total quality management, strategic planning, project management and management innovation.

Cohen was born in Orange, New Jersey, raised in Brooklyn, New York and now resides in New York City. He and his wife, Donna Fishman, have two wonderful daughters, Gabriella and Ariel.

Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought Workshop

"A Workshop with Dr. Vishakha N. Desai"

UCGT WLF Kevin Rudd Workshop Vishakha N. DesaiSeptember 16, 2015 · 5PM-6PM

Kent Hall Room 403, EALAC Lounge

The Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought presented a workshop with Dr. Vishakha N. Desai, Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University, Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs, and Member of the Committee on Global Thought.

Registration was required and has closed.

Read more about the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought.