Philanthropy and Multilateralism: Are Legitimacy and Performance Possible in a Chaotic Age? | Community Foundations

Philanthropy and Multilateralism: Are Legitimacy and Performance Possible in a Chaotic Age?

Foundation: Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations


Mark Malloch-Brown, former deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and current head of George Soros' Open Society Foundation, delivered the commencement address at the World Bank's annual meeting in Washington, DC, Wednesday, and he had a lot to say about the institution he used to work for.

Malloch-Brown said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund "were conceived in the Gold Room of the Mount Washington Hotel as the armies of the Allied states represented there swept across Europe and Asia towards the borders of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan."

"It was American and British policymakers who held the pen at their creation," he said.

"Both the Bretton Woods architecture and the modern Western philanthropic tradition have their roots in the immediate post-war years; as establishment, insider institutions of a more deferential era.

Theirs was a liberalism guided principally by 'wise men,' to use the term applied to that revolving door of East Coast power brokers who moved easily between US-administrations," Malloch-Brown said.

"I have spent much of my career in such institutions," he said, but "by that, of course, I do not mean liberal in the partisan sense, but with a small-L: institutions seeking to advance progress,

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