Informal diplomacy can bring results, Cowan explains at Central European University in Budapest

CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan gave a talk at Central European University in Budapest on May 21 to discuss the famous “shirt-sleeves” summit at Sunnylands between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, highlighting the diplomatic power of such informal meetings.

Photo by CEU/Daniel Vegel.

“Although the meeting between Obama and Jinping was not official, they did come to an important environmental agreement to phase out harmful hydrofluorocarbons (greenhouse gases),” reports CEU.

“There’s something about the importance of this kind of informal meeting and maybe we don’t do enough of it,” said Cowan. “It’s the ‘gift of time’ – to have the time and space to do things differently.”

Photo by CEU/Daniel Vegel.

Discussing the history of Sunnylands as “the Camp David of the West,” Cowan said that the “Annenbergs wanted this to be a place where high-level people could come to enjoy themselves but, also, to actually getting things done.”



Cowan shows the new brochure “Sunnylands: A Place to Change the World” to CEU President and Rector John Shattuck. Photo by CEU/Daniel Vegel.

Read CEU’s coverage of Cowan’s talk here.