The first Hamptons Institute presented by Guild hall in collaboration with the Roosevelt Institute was a huge success because in less then 7 months a concept became a reality. With speakers George Soros, Elizabeth Warren, Van Jones, Bernard Schwartz, Margo Lion, Damian Woetzel, Ken Auletta, Robert Johnson, Michael Greenberger, Jeff Zucker, Eric Fischl, Joan A. Marter, Joe Nocera, Jeff Madrick, Lisa Dennison, Jerry Saltz, and Craig Newmark discussing critical issues that will determine the path ahead, I very much enjoyed seeing the fruits of the labors by the staff at Guild Hall once again blossum into great programing. The idea of The Hamptons Institute was more than a stroke of genius, it was a collection of many canvasses of collected thoughts, insights and wisdoms. Writing about events like this first Hamptons Institute is why I love my job. Listening to George Soros, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Greenberger with moderator Joe Nocera talking about “Restoring the Integrity of the U.S. Financial Markets,” was my highlight. In a very timely talk about what may have caused the overall meltdown of the world’s banks and about the new landmark legislation just completed by the Congress to deal Banking as well as derivatives I found the talk amazingly informative. Mr. Soros of the Soros Fund Management as well as the Open Society Institute was precise in his wording of what he thought. Perhaps most poignant was his thoughts that perhaps Obama made an error in not “discontinuing” the economic policies of George W. Bush right after assuming office, Mr. Soros concluded that by doing so the recession has now become his (Obama’s) recession. Elizabeth Warren razzle dazzled the crowd with Professor of Law, Harvard University wits. Being the national point person on the Consumer Protection Agency she is a leading contender to be its first Director. Judging by her brilliance her communication skills, and her ability to drawn in an audience I believe she is intended for much higher things. Moderator Joe Nucera Business Columnist of the New York Times showed why so many consider him one of the elite in his field. Professor Michael Greenberger, of the University Of Maryland School Of Law demonstrated why he is called on by the government in times of crisis to offer his views and ideas. To demonstrate the give and take a playful exchange between Joe Nocera and Elizabeth Warren went like this, MS. Warren which of your initial reports findings shocked you the most. Her reply, “Joe that’s like asking me to pick the worst of the worst of my high school dates. They were all bad.” The real winner had besides those who attended has to be Mickey Strauss who in my opinion hit a home run when he ran with this idea putting his full effort into making it a big stage event. His vision of equaling if not surpassing the scope of the Aspen Institute in terms of length and weight may only be a few short years away. Intellectual content is a never a tough sell when you can provide the star power the Roosevelt Institute helped bring to the Hamptons Institute. Andrew Rich, President and CEO of the Roosevelt in a pre-Hamptons Institute meeting in the Wasserstein Family Green Room at guild hall explained the concept of a the Roosevelt institute to once again make relevant Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s understanding on how “the nation’s economic welfare and its cultural prosperity are inextricably linked.” Or as Mickey Straus put it being “a unique opportunity to hear and engage in a cross pollination of a variety of ideas from a variety of disciplines.” After the panels had engaged questions from the audience where entertained and Mr. Soros and Elizabeth Warren did not pack off or dodge even the toughest questions, although time constraints what would have happened if the Federal Government did not choose to interfere with the bank crisis and use fed money. What really has happened is that the beautiful renovated venue, Guild Hall has now created another way to serve the community. Mt prediction is someday I will proudly tell people that I attended the first forum of the very first Hamptons Institute in 2010. Mickey Straus in the pre-Institute press conference explained the forums where taped for internet and local television and even u-tube. He hopes that some day it may reach national television, I think it won’t be all that long. I want to thank the generosity of Susan and Steven Jacobson; Mickey and Leila Strauss, Richard Steinberg, Warburg Realty, Alan and Barbara Washkowitz and Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers along with the Lead Sponsor: The Tarr Family along with the Roosevelt Institute in making The Hamptons Institute happen.
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