Themes are topics that – though not challenges as such – are areas in which global (or regional) cooperation takes place and which has global consequences. For instance, an organisation like the EU is a fascinating topic. The reason is that it is a new – or relatively new – way of organising international cooperation between nations.
Another example is the Scandinavian type welfare state. Controversial in some circles, it has, however, shown its value in several countries for decades. Indeed, it seems this model manages to strike a reasonable balance between capitalism and – dare I say it – socialism, at least in some incarnation.
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, are good examples of how countries can have fairly generous welfare benefits, but at the same time have globally competitive businesses.