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D-DebtCon 2020 Starts in Pretoria Labor Day Monday 9 AM EDT

posted by Anna Gelpern

DebtCon4 (aka the 4th Interdisciplinary Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference) was all set to meet at the European University Institute tomorrow ... then #2020 tried to one-up snowzilla. But DebtCon does not quit--certainly not when exports crater, inflows turn into outflows, and debt levels go through the roof around the world--DebtCon doubles down, marches on, and smites the plague with a truly humbling show of global cooperation.

When DebtCon4 in Florence had to be postponed to 2021, ten host committees around the world miraculously reconstituted as the first-ever virtual Distributed DebtCon (#DDebtCon), a two-week sovereign debt-a-thon spanning nine countries,* five time zones, and every continent save for Australia and Antarctica. 

*We counted - (1) Argentina, (2) Barbados, (3) China, (4) Italy, (5) Singapore, (6) South Africa, (7) Switzerland, (8) UK, (9) US - plus global and regional host organizations, including III (also co-sponsoring the event), CEPR, and ABFER.

It begins on Monday morning, September 7, with  a keynote by Governor Lesetja Kganyago of the South African Reserve Bank, who also happens to head the body that gives strategic direction to the IMF, and whose past jobs put him in charge of debt management, financial stability, bank regulation, and basically anything and everything that us debt people obsess about. A stellar panel of research presentations will follow, all coordinated by Danny Bradlow and his colleagues at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. 

This opening session alone is almost enough to make me forgive Zoom. ... but there is SO much more. Each three-hour session stays true to the inter-disciplinary, policy-relevant, silo-busting mission of DebtCon, bringing together historians, lawyers, economists, political scientists, researchers and practitioners. With only a few weeks to plan, there was no time to issue a new call for papers. Miraculously, each host group managed to pull together top-notch policy and academic presentations, drawing on shared resources and the work of the EUI team in preparation for the live conference. Full details at the Sovereign Debt Forum/D-DebtCon website here.

First week highlights below (program still changing around the edges), including registration links to each day's event (you have to register separately for *each* day):

Monday, Sep 7 - University of Pretoria (3-6 pm Pretoria, 9-12 EDT)  -  Click here for registration

Opening Remarks: Lesetja Kganyago, Governor, South African Reserve Bank and Chair, International Monetary and Financial Committee

The African Debt Conundrum

Presentations and Panel Discussion Featuring:  Elsie Addo Awadzi,* Daniel Bradlow, Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, Stratos Pahis, Mark Walker

*Georgetown Law Alum!

Tuesday, Sep 8 - European University Institute (3-6 pm Florence, 9-12 EDT) - Click here for registration

Sovereign Debt in the European Union

Keynote: Rolf Strauch, Chief Economist, European Stability Mechanism

Presentations and Panel Discussion Featuring: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Marco Buti, Elena Carletti, Pablo de Ramón-Laca Clausen, Flavia Corneli, Giancarlo Corsetti, Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Ramon Marimon, George Papaconstantinou, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Dominik Thaler

Wednesday, Sep 9 - Universidad Torcuato di Tella (9-12N Buenos Aires, 8-11 am EDT) - Click here for registration

Tradeoffs and Outcomes in Sovereign Debt Restructurings: The Views of Academics and Argentine Policymakers

Presentations and Panel Discussion Featuring:  Eugenia Andreasen, Jochen Andritzky, Tamon Asonuma, Lee C. Buchheit, Gustavo Cañonero, Luis Caputo, Marcos Chamon, Sergio Chodos, Juan J. Cruces, Andrés de la Cruz, Mitu Gulati, Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, Akira Sasahara, Julian Schumacher

Thursday, Sep 10 - The Graduate Institute (4-7 pm Geneva, 10-1 pm EDT) - Click here for registration

Sovereign Debt in Financial History

Presentations and Panel Discussion Featuring: Edwin M. Truman, Elena L. Daly, Ugo Panizza,* Nathan Sussman, Simon Hinrichsen, Catherine Schenk, and Rui Esteves

*Hero of the Galaxy without whom there would be no DebtCon or D-DebtCon

Friday, Sep 11 - INSEAD, CEPR, ABFER, NUS Business School (2:15-4:30 pm Singapore, 2:15-4:30 am EDT - set your alarms!) - Click here for registration

China’s Debt and Asia’s Perspective on Sovereign Debt

Presentations and Panel Discussion Featuring: Gatien Bon, Gong Cheng, Hoe Ee Khor, Antonio Fatas, Zhiguo He, Alicia García-Herrero, Sebastian Horn, Carmen Reinhart, Christoph Trebesch, Beatrice Weder di Mauro


That is just one week, folks. Week 2 features sessions at Georgetown Law IIEL, Barbados FSC, Queen Mary University London, Tsinghua University, and the III.

With huge thanks to my partners-in-coordination--Mitu Gulati, Ugo Panizza and Pierre Schlosser--and our generous supporters, the International Insolvency Institute, Cleary Gottlieb, and the Netherlands Ministry of Finance, who are making it possible to post captioned videos of the programs.


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