The Bloomington Community Foundation hosted its Annual Breakfast and Seminar at the Bloomington Civic Plaza with speaker Dr. Todd Lefko. Leaders from the community listened to Dr. Lefko’s presentation on the U.S.’s role as a leader in the world and asked the question, “Is America still the leader of the world?”

Dr. Lefko highlighted the main differences in China and the U.S.’s economic models. China controls investment and leadership in its businesses while U.S. businesses are mainly privately operated with minimal government control. After the U.S.’s recession, beginning in 2008, Dr. Lefko shared how developing countries have lost confidence in the U.S. model. “When the U.S. comes to visit they talk about human rights. When China comes they bring money,” Dr. Lefko paraphrased what state leaders from African countries say.

Terrorism and the U.S.’s difficulty in defending against terrorism were also discussed. Dr. Lefko explained how today’s terrorist threats come from highly organized groups without a state using corporate business models to fund, market and control their terrorist missions.

Dr. Lefko related his global lecture to Bloomington when he began with the story about the dream of the Ghermezian family to build the Mall of America and the late Bob Hoffman, whose legal work helped make the Mall of America a reality.

About Dr. Todd Lefko:  Dr. Lefko has lectured at Universities in Russia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.  He has also taught urban affairs and sociology at the University of Minnesota, and political science, international relations, political philosophy and organizational development at other Minnesota colleges. Dr. Lefko is one of the founders and current treasurer of Global Volunteers and is their representative at the United Nations.  He has been a member of the Twin Cities Met Council, the Regional Transit Board, and the Minnesota Experimental City Authority.

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Todd Lefko