VIP – Europe, the State Department, Iran and the real world

March 16, 2015 admin

Institutional Real Estate, Inc.’s most recent conference — Visions, Insights & Perspectives – Europe, held February in Geneva — was, from all accounts, a tremendous success, with a series of insight-provoking panels and our largest attendance ever.

One of the most fascinating parts of VIP – Europe was the backdrop of world events happening at the very hotel where the conference was held. At the same time as IREI’s conference, the hotel was also hosting delegations from the United States and Iran in the latest round of negotiations on the now well-publicized nuclear proliferation treaty talks. The delegations included Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

These types of political events often seem very far and don’t typically have a direct effect on your day-to-day life — although the desired outcomes certainly do.

So when you arrive at a hotel with security guards armed with heavy machine guns and protective gear without any previous information, one tends to think that this is quite a well-protected hotel. Of course, when you dig a little deeper and ask staff at the concierge and reception desks, as well as the very stern person in the elevator with a “wire” in his ear, about what exactly is going on, and nobody will say anything other than “important things are being discussed,” you begin to wonder even more.

Finally, when you get to your floor with your wheeled suitcase and think you’re heading toward your room and are then stopped by two men who you later find out were part of the Iranian delegation’s security detail, things became much clearer.

As a matter of fact, after explaining that the arrow at the elevator had pointed me toward this end of the hall for my room, the security detail very kindly asked me if I would like to be escorted to where I was supposed to be (in the opposite direction), and they did so with all due politeness.

So if you’re asking, “What on earth does this have to do with IREI’s VIP – Europe conference?” then I can honestly say, “Everything.”

Our world is incredibly complex and also incredibly interconnected. A conference about institutional investment in European real estate can find itself at center stage with some of the world’s most important negotiations regarding world peace and safety, and at that moment one gets a better understanding about how close all of these different elements work in concert with one another.

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Jonathan_Schein-NEWJonathan Schein is senior vice president and managing director of business development at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

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