The Euromaidan Movement; Ukraine, Crimea and Russia – Nicolas De Santis Interviewed at CNBC

Nicolas De Santis – President of London based Gold Mercury International, the Corporate Vision Strategy Think Tank, was interviewed by Angela Antetomaso of CNBC Italy about the political, historical and strategic background to the current crisis in Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula.

The crisis in Ukraine began when the Ukranian government suspended their plans to sign a Free-Trade Agreement with the European Union, in favour of closer economic ties with Russia; despite public support for closer integration with the EU. This increased widespread public perception of corruption within the Ukrainian government, and the government’s subsequent violent dispersal of what were initially peaceful protests paved the way to the escalation of the crisis, known as the Euromaidan. When Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych fled from Ukraine for fear of his life, and was subsequently replaced by an interim, pro-European government, Russian forces occupied the Crimean peninsula and parts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, with Russian Presidnt Vladimir Putin claiming to be defending Russian interests, and the Russian population in Crimea, the majority of whom are Russian speakers. This clash of global superpowers and interests has been likened by some to be reminiscent of a Cold War struggle.

“Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is really about strategic interests, and in some ways, an assertion of power. The Euromaidan has threatened the power which the Russians had over Ukraine using economic and resource might, and so they feel they have been forced to respond to the threat of the new pro-European power with military might. Though it is not entirely bluster, the Russian military action and takeover of Crimea is more a display of power and a threat than a precursor to any armed conflict. It is not in anyone’s interests for that to happen, a fact which Putin knows very well.”  Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury, on Russia’s motives for recent action in Crimea.

De Santis provides an analysis and explains the situation as a geo-political ‘Chess Game’ getting out of control. De Santis explains the rising of the Euromaidan movement, fighting to join the European Union, the quest for Russia to have Ukraine join its own Customs Union (Eurasian Economic Union) and keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence (and out of NATO). These tensions led to the fall of the existing government in Ukraine and the Crisis in the Crimea (of Russian majority), a naval base port of critical strategic importance to Russia. De Santis also explains the importance of Ukraine for Russia as its conduit of gas to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Gas Pipeline. Ukraine also depends on Russia for over 50% of its gas. Recent gas-price wars between Russia and Ukraine also were part of tensions between the two nations, which have been gradually escalating as the crisis progressed; but have now diffused slightly.

De Santis also gives details on how the history of the Unity of Italy (Il Risorgimento) is directly connected to the Crimean War of 1853 where the forces of the Kingdom of Sardinia of Vittorio Emanuele II and Cavour allied with the French forces to fight the Russian Army in the Crimean Peninsula. Italy later requested French assistance in Italy in the fight against the Austrians to gain control of Lombardy in the quest for Italian Unity. De Santis argues that ultimately, the crisis in Ukraine, Crimea and Russia will diffuse without conflict, as it is not in any of the nations’ interests to engage in war with one another. It is ultimately a political jousting of wills; an assertion of control and a restatement of interests.

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Nicolas De Santis Featured in UK’s Leading Investment Publication – Shares Magazine

Nicolas De Santis, the President of Gold Mercury International, has written a strategy piece for the “Mr Market” segment of Shares Magazine.

Read or download the article here.

In his piece, Nicolas De Santis; who advises governments and corporations on long-term strategic visioning, business model innovation and sustainable strategies, wrote about the necessity for long term strategic vision in policy making and business and the need to think about the future in a systematic way. The article shows the true meaning of “lacking vision,” and the importance of visionary leadership to anticipate future change, and includes clear examples of companies that were industry leaders, but then lost their ability to envision the future.

Shares Magazine is the leading weekly publication for the private investors that require regularly updated intelligence on Stocks, Commodities, Bonds, Funds, Forex, CFDs, ETFs, and much more. Since 1999 Shares has remained the private investor’s most trusted provider of financial education, news & information; written by a broad range of highly respected journalists and grass-root industry experts.

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Nicolas De Santis Presents “Future of Education” Tech Report

Gold Mercury International, the Corporate Vision® Strategy Think Tank, have issued a report on the impact of technology on education, and how the shifting paradigms of technology; both emerging and current, are drastically altering the landscape of modern education.

Download the report here

The report, titled: “The Future of E-Ducation: The Impact of Technology and Analytics on the Education Industry,” examines the new global dynamics of education and the dramatic changes which are disrupting the educational sector; showing that the transformation has really only just begun. The Gold Mercury report explains what the future is likely to look like for teachers and students, and examines what the implications might be for institutions and companies currently involved in the industry. The report also determines that there will be massive improvement in the lives of students, teachers and parents. The traditional institutions that have shaped this industry historically will be left behind if they do not allow their organisations to adapt. The study has identified where the key education meta-trends are, and also where they may potentially lead, and it is crucial for us to understand them in order to adequately adapt.

Some key findings of the report include:

  • All levels of education are being dramatically affected by modern technology, with the traditional higher education business models being disrupted the most, due to their high fees and their need to improve future global workforce’s job-seeking abilities.
  • The pricing models and delivery of educational services are radically changing, as the actors and value-chain of education are totally transformed by new, innovative players and changing models of certification.
  • Access to education for the poor is rapidly increasing thanks to mobile technology and free Massive Open Online Course platforms, helping to advance the United Nations’ millennium development goal of universal education by 2015.
  • Three important, broad tech meta-trends are affecting education’s future at all levels: 1. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), 2. Mobile Learning and Multi-Faceted Technology and 3. Learning Analytics.

“This report shows that technology will disrupt education in a way never seen before in other industries. The tech tsunami is coming towards the shores of education and it will disrupt all education business models and the meaning and purpose of education, from curriculums to certification, to how and why people are hired in the future,” says Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury.

For this EdTech study, Gold Mercury partnered with Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK): the not-for profit organisation bringing the leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and thought leaders to the UK, to ignite local entrepreneurship. SVC2UK recently hosted the Future of Education Summit; partnered with Cambridge University Press, to discuss and debate the future of learning in the context of new technologies. Sherry Coutu, SVC2UK Chairwoman has this to say on the importance of the report:

“Gold Mercury and SVC2UK believe that this Ed-tech study shows the truly dramatic changes happening at all levels of the education value chain, and business models in countries around the world. Technology has started its transformation of the lives of those in and dedicated to education, but the transformation has only just begun; we are going to see real disruptive changes”.

The report also includes a special section on “How technology is disrupting education forever and helping the poor” by Dr David McNally, Director of Digital Systems for Macmillan Science and Education. Macmillan are driving the introduction of new and innovative digital education models, that have the potential to disrupt traditional textbook publishing businesses; but with much greater scalability and global reach.

Education – The last great transformation

The education sector has, in reality; for decades (or even possibly centuries), been the last great bastion of industry tradition and fixity. The lonely island of the educational sector has remained static, amidst a violent sea of modern change and technological transformation; a raging torrent which has long since swept away and revolutionised all other sectors. In many ways, education is the last great industry to fall to this change, and be brought into the 21st Century by technology. As part of the findings of the report, Gold Mercury have identified three broad meta-trends from which the majority of the substantial changes to the shape of education are emerging. Understanding the importance and potential for these three types of disruptive technology is absolutely crucial if we are to continue to bring education out from the stone-age.

The three most important meta-trends and categories of EdTech

The report analyses the degree to which education is being made into a universally accessible, innovative, personalized, and adaptive experience, and finds that the these changes will be pivotal for achieving the United Nations’ goal of universal education by 2015. The report breaks down new types of technology into three broad categories, and then examines how they are influencing the shape of modern education; the meta-trends being:  1) “Open Sources and the Internet”, 2) “mobile and multi-faceted technology”, and 3) “virtual learning environments/learning analytics”.

1) Open Sources and the Internet

Two technological areas of particular importance to education, which the report examines in detail, are that of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the Web 2.0 Platform. MOOCs and Web 2.0 are Open Source technologies which have been born from the Internet, and the drastic changes the Internet has brought about in how people communicate and process information. These two technologies defy the traditional barriers of education, and allow the overall structure of education to decentralise and universalise.

The report highlights that the previously rigid, top-down structure of education is now giving way to a more adaptable, fully customisable, individualised system; primarily due to the ubiquity of modern technological devices. The standardisation of the Internet, Web 2.0, mobile devices, computers and virtual realities, as part of our everyday lives, will help to facilitate and reinforce this fundamental shift by means of normalisation; utilising the fact that modern students are already “digital natives”.

2) Mobile and Multi-Faceted Technology

While Open Sources and the Internet revolutionise the structure of education itself, mobile and multi-faceted technology revolutionises the way society can provide education to students. Mobile devices provide more accessible, individualised portals through which information and knowledge is accessed, shattering the rigidity of traditional education. What could previously only be accessed in the classroom is now available in the palm of your hand, wherever you go.

3) Virtual Learning Environments and Learning Analytics

With this mobile technology and its increasing prevalence around the globe, students can then use this technology to merge their virtual lives with their physical ones; by completing assignments and educational games online, or by receiving feedback online through virtual learning environments. Learning and teaching can now both occur in these online environments, due to the presence of analytics.

At the centre of modern education – true innovation

The evidence which Gold Mercury has collected about the state of the EdTech industry, draws the exciting conclusion that the revolution’s catalyst is indeed true innovation, as opposed to business interests or hollow rhetoric. The extensive collection of case studies referenced in the report paint an exciting picture; the majority of the important and widely-influencing technologies in recent educational history have come from small startup businesses who are then funded by major companies, who see their potential. Examples of this, referenced in the report, include Veduca, Minerva University, Raspberry Pi, Kahoot!, Khan Academy, etc. Education is a field which is encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurship and innovation, and one which carries an enormous multiplicity of social and economic benefits. Not only are businesses and start-ups finding great success in genuinely innovating the sector, but their output is more than just economic; they strengthen human capital and condition significantly, by ensuring accessible, involving, and personalized education for all. This creates the entrepreneurs and innovators of the future, driving sustainability and growth worldwide.

Advancing the goal of global educational development

The revolution in E-Ducation is important for humanity in so many different global areas, and is undeniably crucial for sustainability, growth, and perhaps most importantly – improving overall human condition. It is paramount that we do all we can to understand and help drive this change and move forwards; to ensure a better future for ourselves and future generations. Now that the revolution has finally been catalysed, we must continue to drive it forward.

Gold Mercury have dedicated the Ed-Tech report to Malala Yousafzai, whose message of universal education we support wholeheartedly. She has become a symbol for the right to universal education, and the rights of women to study around the world.

Press Release Ends

For further information, please contact:

Chon Kemp, Corporate Affairs Manager – Gold Mercury International


Telephone: +442071933708 / Mobile: +447932988874

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Veduca MOOC Founders Interviewed by Nicolas De Santis About Future of Education

Corporate Vision® Talks – Visionary Leadership and Business Model Innovation

Veduca – “Knowledge should be within the reach of anyone who is willing to learn”

Veduca is a highly successful Brazilian education video platform startup, which is aiming to democratize access to top quality higher education around the world, and improve peoples’ lives in a sustainable way by providing high quality educational video content, for free. Veduca created the first online MBA (Masters’ of Business Administration) degree in the world; an online certification which is actually issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, thus giving it significant value. By translating and subtitling materials, lectures, and videos from top universities around the world such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale, and arranging them into free courses, Veduca aims to remove two of the largest barriers to educational accessibility in Brazil; cost and language, and so far it is one of the most promising and fast growing Ed-Tech start-ups in Latin America, with over 200 million video views, 150,000 registered users, and more than 5,600 classes from 20 top universities around the world.

“We launched in partnership with USP (University of Sao Paulo) which is the biggest and best university in Latin America, and with that, we were able to start realising our vision on the future of e-ducation, which is all about certification…we launched the world’s first online open MBA in the world, our MBA on engineering and innovation…materializing our vision of democratizing top quality education in Brazil.”  Carlos Souza, CEO and Founder of Veduca, talks about his vision for the future of education

Corporate Vision Talks – Gold Mercury’s Series

“Corporate Vision® Talks” is Gold Mercury’s series to discuss business model innovation, visionary leadership and global challenges. During the interview they discussed the revolution in the educational paradigm which is being spurred by recent technological advancements and the relative ubiquity of technology in our modern everyday lives;  and examined how this is helping to democratize access to top-quality higher education, and creating a new system with unprecedented levels of individualization, accessibility, and flexibility. They assess the business models which are present in education, and then explore the ways in which innovative changes in EdTech are disrupting these traditional models, which in many cases have remained relatively unchanged for centuries.

The Future of E-ducation: The Impact of Technology and Analytics on the Education Industry

The interview builds on themes explored in our Ed-Tech Report: “THE FUTURE OF E-DUCATION: THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY AND ANALYTICS ON THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY”. The study examines the way in which modern technology is bringing remarkable innovation into the educational sector; a field which has historically remained fairly fixed and traditional for centuries. The report analyses the degree to which education is being made into a universally accessible, innovative, personalized, and adaptive experience, and finds that the these changes will be pivotal for achieving the United Nations’ goal of universal education by 2015. The paper breaks down new types of technology into three broad categories, and then examines how they are influencing the shape of modern education; the categories being: “Open Sources and the Internet”, “mobile and multi-faceted technology”, and “virtual learning environments/learning analytics”. These categories are broken down further and examined closely, and the heart of the paper consists of many detailed case studies which provide examples of companies and technologies leading the way in their respective fields.

“This report shows that technology will disrupt education in a way never seen before in other industries. The tech tsunami is coming towards the shores of education and it will disrupt all education business models and the meaning and purpose of education, from curriculums to certification, to how and why people are hired in the future.” Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, discussing the changes in the education sector.

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Swedish Television Airs Interview with Nicolas De Santis on the Future of the European Union

Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public national television channel, has aired its latest main cultural programme called “Kobra,” which features an interview with Nicolas De Santis, Gold Mercury President.

The interview covers Nicolas De Santis’s creation of the European Superhero, Captain Euro, for the launch of the EURO currency in 2002, and discusses the future of the European Union brand.

Watch the trailer for Kobra’s Captain Euro segment!

“Captain Euro started as a social research experiment to test the feelings, emotions and perceptions of the EU in Europeans and the world. When we launched it, the reaction was fantastic, because people either loved Captain Euro, or they hated Captain Euro. This is what we wanted – we wanted people to finally emotionally react to Europe.” – Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, speaking about the public response to Captain Euro.

Nicolas De Santis is an expert in European Union identity issues and branding and has advised the European Parliament and the European Commission on this subject, as well as on the launch of the Euro currency. Nicolas De Santis created Captain Euro in the 1990s to promote Europe and the launch of the Euro to its citizens and the world. The programme examines some of the reasons for Captain Euro’s creation, and why he has proven so enduring and divisive.

Breaking up Europe? Scottish Independence and UK’s EU referendum
In a globalised world of superpowers, where the nation state is becoming less relevant, and international cooperation more critical, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday unveiled a white paper on Scottish independence. The paper did not truly answer fundamental questions for an independent Scotland’s future, such as its currency (how it can keep the pound sterling), or how it will deal with needing to reapply to join the EU after separating from the UK, when the UK can veto its membership, and when it does not meet the criteria for membership as an independent state.

With similar separatist movements happening in Europe, the plan for how an independent Scotland can be competitive and relevant in a globalised world economy was not clear. Similarly, the UK has proposed a referendum, questioning its own future in the EU. The referendum raises similar questions about the UK’s future political and economic role, if it were to be outside of the EU. Recently the White House, in an official statement, made it clear that the UK being at the heart of Europe is in the interest of the world. Large corporations investing in the UK also stated that if it were to leave the Union, they would have to reconsider their investments.

“The European Union has a serious identity problem. Instead of going forward, we seem to be going back towards the fragmentation and nationalism of the past, wasting the efforts of entire generations of Europeans. Our energies should not be directed towards repeating our unfortunate past, but rather towards building the future of a solid, competitive Europe which can function in the new world economy. We at Gold Mercury aim to help develop a clear vision for the future of the EU, and make it easy to understand for the people who will participate in, and shape its future”. –Nicolas De Santis on the current European situation.

The BRAND EU Center for European Identity

As the EU identity crisis continues, Gold Mercury will be launching the BRAND EU Center, which will cover issues relating to the concept of EU citizen identity formation. The main aims of the BRAND EU Center are to deliver critical insights on the current state of the European Union’s governance and political structure, as well as address the lack of a common European identity and a strong EU brand. Characters such as Captain Euro, are the first tentative steps towards trying to find a suitable common ground to forge a European brand. Gold Mercury’s BRAND EU Center aims to challenge the current complexity, which is associated with the European Union, so that citizens can start to feel closer to Europe.

“Gold Mercury has identified the lack of a clear EU brand and EU identity as a key barrier to achieving the full support of its citizens and for the development of Europe as a whole. One of the key brand problems for citizens in understanding Europe and participating actively, is the complexity of the current political structure of the EU. Still today, it can be only understood by academics or experts,”  – Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, explaining the need for an EU Identity Initiative, the BRAND EU Center

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Italy’s Need for Future Vision – Nicolas De Santis Interviewed by CNBC

ClassCNBC, the Italian News Division of CNBC, has interviewed Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, on the role that the Italian Presidency of the European Union, starting on 1st July 2014, should play to advance Italy and the EU.

CNBC Anchor Angela Antetomaso interview De Santis, where he proposed that the Italian EU Presidency could be used to develop a strategic vision of the country and relaunch a new ‘futuristic Italian Rinascimento’. Nicolas De Santis, who advises governments and corporations on long-term strategic visioning, business model innovation and sustainable strategies, mentioned in the interview that a strong Europe must be made of strong nations who collaborate to achieve common goals and whose destiny is interlinked. During the interview the importance of fiscal federalism in Europe and the future banking union were discussed.

“The time has come for Italians to choose a new road forward. It is time for a new ‘Italian rinascimento’. Italy needs a strategic national vision that clarifies Italy’s role in the 21st Century, within the EU and the world, that creates a new revived shared national identity and ethic. The future vision must be ambitious but achievable and can be based on the creative and entrepreneurial potential of the “Italianità” (Italian talent and excellence) in the world. The new national vision and ethic would then help direct the energy and decision making of the nation, citizens and politicians”. Nicolas De Santis, in interview with Angela Antetomaeso of CNBC

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Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Meets Nicolas De Santis About Re-Inventing Banking Culture Project

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, former Chairman and CEO of NM Rothschild and Sons, the international investment bank, met with Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International to express his views on the global banking and financial sector and the many different factors which he believes led to the crisis, including ethical, technological and historical reasons.

Sir Evelyn’s comments will contribute to Gold Mercury’s report ‘Re-inventing the Banking Profession for the 21st Century’. The discussion with Sir Evelyn is part of a series of interviews that Gold Mercury is conducting with leading authorities, representatives of financial institutions, academics and other prominent actors involved in the financial services sector, within the scope of Gold Mercury’s ‘New Corporate Culture for Banking’ project.

“Sir Evelyn is one of the great city veterans. His experience in the financial and investment banking world brings very valuable insights to our project. He believes that banking reform is required to fix the profound lapses in banking standards and to allow the banking sector to play the crucial role of supporting the real economy, whilst restoring trust,” said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards recently issued its final report – ‘Changing Banking for Good’. It outlines the radical reform required to improve standards across the banking industry. Sir Evelyn recently published an article on the important role that banking must play in order to re-establish public confidence in the industry. The article called ‘Banking Must Pursue the Holy Grail of Confidence’ clearly expresses that the City of London’s most important traded commodity is confidence. If that is lost, there remains little to do business with and without confidence it would be impossible to engineer a recovery or reform the financial system. “The biggest penalty of all today is that as a result of the crisis, commercial banks, to maintain their capital resources, are not lending to small and medium sized businesses. This needs to change rapidly if we want to see the economy improve and confidence with the public restored,” stated Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild is currently Chairman of E.L. Rothschild Ltd, a private investment company. He was previously Chairman and CEO of NM Rothschild and Sons Ltd, the international investment bank. Sir Evelyn also served as Chairman of The Economist Group, where the family is a large minority holder. Sir Evelyn is also a Director of IMG Worldwide and a Governor of the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Previous corporate directorships include: Director of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, and Director of IBM United Kingdom Holdings Ltd. Sir Evelyn has maintained a lifelong commitment to philanthropy. He is Chairman of the ERANDA Foundation, a family foundation that he formed in 1967 to support charities working in the fields of medical research, health and welfare, education and the arts.

Sir Evelyn believes in inclusive capitalism to give a wider range of opportunities for people to participate in the economy. “When clearing banks merged with investment banks, it was the bigger factor of change in the banking industry. We had two very different cultures that had to work together, but in most cases one culture took over the other. There are many examples on how the banking industry has gone wrong. But now I think banks cannot just go back to basics. To re-instate confidence, banks need to play a new role in building community and social value, including being a part of private and public partnerships that create low cost housing or building new and needed infrastructure,” said Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

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Professor Dawn Chatty, Director of Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University Meets Nicolas De Santis

Professor Dawn Chatty, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, and Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration, visited Gold Mercury to meet with President Nicolas De Santis.

During the meeting they discussed parts of Gold Mercury’s upcoming sustainable research agenda and projects on the future of megacities and R2P (the Responsibility to Protect). They also discussed the upcoming Gold Mercury conference in Tunisia which looks at the future of its democracy and its new constitution, and the Arab Spring as a whole. A large part of the world’s displaced people are in Arab countries with forced migration affecting the entire region.

Professor Chatty’s work in forced Migration at the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre includes forced settlement of mobile indigenous peoples (i.e. nomads, pastoralists, shifting agriculturalists and hunting-gatherers) as an outcome of global environmental governance.

The Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) was founded in 1982 and is part of the Oxford Department of International Development. The Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) aims to build knowledge and understanding of the causes and effects of forced migration in order to help improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Professor Dawn Chatty is a social anthropologist whose ethnographic interests lie in the Middle East. Her research interests include a number of forced migration and development issues. Professor Chatty is both an academic anthropologist and a practitioner, having carefully developed her career in universities in the United States, Lebanon, Syria and Oman, as well as with a number of development agencies such as the UNDP, UNICEF, FAO and IFAD.

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