Parag Khanna: I am Parag Khanna, Senior Research Fellow at The New America Foundation.
I was born in India and I grew up partially there, partially in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which were kind of Diaspora West Asians on the way to the West prior to being the kind of global cosmopolitan capitals of Arab civilization that they are today. And then made it over here [USA] when I was about seven years old.
So it shaped me a lot because I was a traveler before I knew that that was a lifestyle choice and it's certainly one that I have kept up.
So I consider myself a traveler first and foremost ,and that certainly still, those are the parts of the world of the Middle East, South Asia that I still love to spend as much time as I can.
My dad work for Tata Exports, which is still one of the largest Indian firms. At the time he was representing them selling a number of their kinds of hardware sorts of things in the Middle East.
I did start the Council on Foreign Relations, which is one of those tick the box kind of tracks or places that you go when you wanted to be a policy wank. And coming out of Georgetown of the school foreign service, that was a logical thing to do. But that, too, is a bit too American for me.
I learned a lot there and it is the great place to work and to be exposed to great ideas and brilliant people, but I moved from there to Geneva to the World Economic Forum. I did that because it is a very globally minded, globally oriented place. There is issues, approaches, regions, Africa or corporate responsibility, major issues today, that aren’t tackled well by the government and by the traditional foreign policy, machinery of America that are treated there because it is sitting in the center of the world, and it is not biased towards to one government or one system or the other. Sort of this new kind of diplomacy that I wanted to be a part of. So I moved over there into that and then I came back to Brookings as a fellow and then I started writing this book.
Recorded on: March 3, 2008