Coffees with the Secretary-General


Since 2010 some of the world’s foremost thinkers–economists, historians, environmentalists, writers, artists, photographers–have come to the OECD to meet Secretary-General Angel Gurría and chat about the world over a relaxing cup of coffee. 

People like Yanis Varoufakis, Mariana Mazzucato and Thomas Piketty, or indeed photographer Sebastiao Salgado, who challenge conventional wisdom, provoke fresh ways of thinking, and, like the OECD, are passionate about the future.  After coffee, the conversation then opens out into a lively discussion with a packed audience of OECD experts. Launched in November 2010, the Coffees with the Secretary-General are a stimulating and enriching way of inspiring better policies for better lives.

Previous invitees to the Coffees with the Secretary-General

Esther Duflo

 “Good Economics for Harder Times”

Read the full transcript here

Esther Duflo is the recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, awarded jointly with Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer. She is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).

Nick Clegg

“Rewriting the rules of the Internet”

Read the full transcript here

Nick Clegg is the Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook. He joined Facebook in October of 2018 after 20 years in British and European public life. He spent a decade working in the EU, first as a senior adviser in the European Commission, and later as a Member of the European Parliament. In 2005, he was elected to the UK Parliament and in the 2010 UK election, he led his party – the Liberal Democrats – into Government. He served as UK Deputy Prime Minister from 2010 to 2015. 

Kailash Satyarthi

"Globalising Compassion for Children"

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Kailash Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, has been a tireless advocator for children’s rights for over 30 years. He is the founder of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation; the Global Campaign for Education, as well as the Global March Against Child Labor. He is currently spearheading the 100 Million campaign which aims to inspire and mobilise young people to stand up for their own rights and the rights of their peers.

Michaël Jérémiasz

"Banaliser la différence"

Read the full transcript here‌ (in French)

Michaël Jérémiasz, titulaire de quatre médailles de tennis aux Jeux paralympiques, il est le co-fondateur des deux organisations – Handiamo ! et Comme Les Autres – qui contribuent aux changements de regards, de relations et de pratiques entre le « monde du handicap » et le « monde valide », vers plus de justesse, d’inclusion et d’égalité.

Ian Goldin

“Renaissance 2.0: Globalisation, Disruption and Policy”

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Ian Goldin is the author of 21 books including, ‘Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance’. He is the Oxford University Professor of Globalisation and Development, the Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change and the founding Director of the Oxford Martin School

HRH Princess Laurentien

"An interactive dialogue with children: A new perspective on Inclusive Growth"

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HRH Princess Laurentien is the founder of the Reading & Writing Foundation, which focuses on preventing and reducing literacy difficulties in the Netherlands and in Europe. She is also the founder of the Missing Chapter Foundation which facilitates open and equal dialogue between children and decision-makers. 

Lucy Crehan

“Cleverlands: Lessons from Top Performing Education Systems”

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Lucy Crehan is a qualified teacher, an education explorer, and an international education consultant. After completing her studies, she set off on an ethnographic, educational exploration of the world’s ‘top-performing’ education systems. The result of this insightful voyage has been her book – Cleverlands – named one of The Economist’s ‘books of the year’ within a week of its release. 

Mel Young

"Homeless World Cup: How football can change the world"

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The President of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young, is recognised as one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and is a Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum. He was named a Senior Fellow by the Ashoka Foundation in 2014.


Fernando Reimers

“Educating Citizens in Uncertain Times”

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Fernando Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Master’s Program at Harvard University.

Seth M. Siegel

“Can a Desert Nation Help Solve the World’s Water Shortage?”

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Seth M. Siegel is a businessman, activist and the author of Let There Be Water. He visited the OECD on 31 January 2017, giving a talk on solutions for water scarcity.

Javier Goyeneche

‌“Because there is no Planet B”

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Javier Goyeneche is the founder of ECOALF, a fashion brand that turns discarded fishing nets, post-consumer plastic bottles and coffee into clothes. He visited the OECD on 19 October 2016, giving a talk on his sustainable fashion company.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

“Ethics for a Sustainable Globalised Economy”

Read the full transcript here

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Global Forum for Ethics in Business. He visited the OECD on 19 October 2016, giving a talk on ethics and sustainability.

Peter Georgescu

"Capitalists Arise: Defining the Problems and Consequences of Inequality"

Read the full transcript here‌

Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam, Peter Georgescu visited the OECD on 3 May 2016 and gave a talk on inequality. 

Malene Rydahl

"What the Danes Can Teach Us About Happiness and Living Better Lives"

Read the full transcript here

Happiness expert Malene Rydahl visited the OECD on 24 February 2016, giving a talk and sharing insights from her book Heureux comme un danois ("Happy as a Dane"). 

Naomi Klein

"This Changes Everything"

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Canadian author, filmmaker and social activist Naomi Klein visited the OECD on 24 November 2015, giving a talk on why climate change changes everything.

Samantha Cristoforetti

‌"FUTURA: 200 days on the International Space Station"

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European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti visited the OECD on 26 October 2015, sharing her experience at the International Space Station with OECD staff.   

James K. Galbraith

"Inequality in the World Economy"

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An American economist who writes frequently for the popular press on economic topics, James K. Galbraith is currently a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin.

George Soros

"A Conversation with George Soros"

‌Read the full  transcript here

The Hungarian-American investor, business magnate, philanthropist, political activist and author visited the OECD on 8 April 2015. Soros is one of the world's most successful investors.

Boyan Slat

“How the Oceans Can Clean Themselves”

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A young entrepreneur, Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, when he was 19. The Ocean Cleanup's mission is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

Marianna Mazzucato

“The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths”

Read the full transcript here

Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London (UCL), Mariana Mazzucato is the author of The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths.

Thomas Piketty

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century”

Read the full transcript here

A French economist whose work focuses on wealth and income inequality, Thomas Piketty is a professor (directeur d'études) at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and associate chair at the Paris School of Economics. 

Dambisa Moyo

“A New Vision of Emerging Markets and their Policy Challenges.”

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The Zambian-born international economist and author who analyses the macroeconomy and global affairs visited the OECD on 14 October 2013.


Johan Rockström

“The Science Case for a Global Transition to World Development within Planetary Boundaries”

Read the full transcript here   

Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University, Johan Rockström is an internationally recognised scientist for his work on global sustainability issue.

Yanis Varoufakis

“There is no such thing as a Debt Crisis: The Euro Crisis, Asia's Woes and America's Dilemma in a Global Context”

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A Greek economist, academic and politician, Yanis Varoufakis served as the Greek Minister of Finance from January to July 2015. He has since appeared in numerous debates, lectures, and interviews. 

Alan Kirman

"The Crisis in Economic Theory: How we got here and possible ways out"

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Professor emeritus of Economics at the University of Aix-Marseille III and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Alan Kirman is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He was awarded the Humboldt Prize in Germany. 

Sebastião Salgado

"Presentation of project Genesis and Instituto Terra"

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A social documentary photographer, photojournalist and environment advocate, Salgado has travelled in over 120 countries for his photographic projects. He has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2001.

Lord Robert Skidelsky

"The Risks of Austerity in Times of Slowdown"

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A British economic historian, Lord Skidelsky is the author of a major, award-winning, three-volume biography of British economist John Maynard Keynes.

Martin Jacques

"Understanding the Rise of China: How to Make Sense of it from a Western Perspective"

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Best-selling author of "When China Rules the World," Martin Jacques is an academic and a journalist for the Guardian and the New Statesman. He was a co-founder of the think-tank Demos.